The South Surrey mother convicted of second degree murder in the 2014 smothering death of her eight year-old daughter has had her sentencing appeal dismissed.
Thursday morning (May 12), counsel for Lisa Batstone heard a judgment written by BC Court of Appeal Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein that upheld the sentence – life without eligibility for parole for 15 years – imposed in 2019 by trial judge Justice Catherine Murray.
“It is a fit sentence,” the judgment, read by court of appeal panel colleague Justice David Harris, concluded. “The appeal is dismissed.”
Batstone’s counsel team, headed by lawyer Eric Gottardi, had argued for the sentence to be reduced to eligibility for parole after 10 years.
They claimed that Murray had not given sufficient consideration to the role mental disorders and intoxication had played in Batstone’s actions, and that the sentencing was also invalid due to errors of fact Murray had made about the plastic bag used to suffocate Batstone’s daughter Teagan and the length of time it had taken.
Stromberg-Stein’s judgment, however, upheld Murray’s sentencing decision.
It found that errors of fact and “misapprehensions” that Murray had about how the crime might have been committed had not affected the verdict that Batstone’s killing of her daughter was deliberate, or the subsequent sentencing.
The judgment found that Murray had given due consideration to mental disorders Batstone was experiencing that were raised by defence experts during the trial, and had, correctly, focused on “determining her mental state at the time of the act.”
It also supported Murray’s finding that Batstone’s actions before and after the crime were “purposeful and goal-directed” – including leaving a letter and notes prior to unsuccessful attempts to commit suicide that blamed her ex-husband and others for what she had done.
Police discovered Batstone with the body of her daughter on Dec. 10, 2014, in the back of a car that was stuck in a ditch in a cul-de-sac off Crescent Road.
Batstone, who had previously attempted suicide, claimed that she had intended to end her life and had killed her daughter to save her the pain of psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of her ex-husband.
A bid to overturn her conviction failed last fall, when appeal-court judges found that the trial judge had not erred in her conclusion that Batstone had intended to kill her daughter.