Father given 16 year sentence for killing infant son

Prince Albert Court of King's Bench. – Herald file photo

Kaij Brass expressed remorse for his actions, and later broke down in tears after being sentenced to 16 years in prison for killing his 13-month-old son Tanner in February 2022.

Judge Gary Meschishnick handed down the decision on Monday following a joint submission by the crown and defence. Meschishnick delivered the verdict in a mostly empty court room, with only Brass’ mother and grandmother present.

“I’m genuinely sorry for what happened,” Brass told the court before sentencing. “I want to accept responsibility.”

Brass later broke down in tears after the verdict before speaking with his mother and grandmother.

Defence lawyer Zachary Carter said Brass did not intend to kill Tanner, but takes responsibility for his actions.

“I don’t think any sentence a court can compose is going to come near to the anguish he’s going through as a result of what happened,” Carter said afterwards. “He’s taken responsibility for it, but he’s going to have to live with that for the rest of his life.”

Brass received a 16-year sentence for manslaughter, with credit for time served. He will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least half of that sentence.

Crown Prosecutor Rob Parker said that’s an unusually long sentence for a manslaughter charge, but both the crown and defence thought it was appropriate.

“Based on my legal research, this would be the highest sentence for manslaughter that’s been imposed—that I was able to find—in this particular province,” Parker said afterwards. “From the crown’s perspective, it needed to be that way to address the seriousness of the offence, the vulnerability of the victim, and the aggravating nature of what had taken place there.”

Council for Tanner’s mother, Kyla Frenchman, appeared by phone. Frenchman did not appear in court, and did not provide a victim impact statement during sentencing.

Brass plead guilty to manslaughter charges following a pre-trial hearing in January.

During the joint submission, Parker credited Brass for being open and honest with police about what happened. However, Parker also noted that 13-month-old Tanner was a vulnerable infant who was abused by the person he trusted to keep him safe: his own father.

According to the statement of facts read out prior to sentencing, Tanner became upset after Kaij kicked Frenchman out of their house on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. Kaij told police he tried to calm Tanner down, but soon became frustrated and “snapped.”

Kaij started spanking Tanner, and eventually slapped the child seven to eight times out of frustration.

Kaij told police he saw Tanner bleeding from the mouth, but went to sleep instead of calling 9-1-1. He told police Tanner was coughing up blood, but thought the he would be okay. When Kaij woke up, he realized Tanner was in serious danger, called 9-1-1, and told the operator he had killed his son.

A post-mortem exam conducted by Dr. Shaun Ladham showed Tanner died of blunt force trauma to the head, and lung damage likely caused by his body shutting down while unconscious.

Parker told the court that Tanner relied on his father for love and protection, but received “the exact opposite.” Parker also emphasized that Kaij did not hit Tanner once or twice, but multiple times.

Prior to sentencing, the court heard that Kaij grew up in difficult circumstances without an adult role model in his life. The court heard that Kaij did not know his father as a youth, but began establishing a relationship with him as he got older.

The court heard that Kaij moved around quite a bit with his family before being kicked out of the house at age 16 by his mother’s boyfriend. As an adult, he worked off and on in the service industry, but struggled with alcohol abuse.

Prior to this act, Kaij did not have a criminal record.

Prior to sentencing, Carter emphasized that Kaij was willing to own his actions.

“He did not intend to cause his son’s death, but he takes complete responsibility,” Carter said.