Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Seven-Year Prison Term Upheld for Mother Hiding Daughter in China

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Seven-Year Prison Term Upheld for Mother Hiding Daughter in China

Article excerpt

7 years upheld for mom hiding child in China


TORONTO - A woman who refused to bring her daughter back to Canada from China despite repeated court orders to do so lost her bid on Monday to overturn her conviction and seven-year prison sentence for child abduction.

In rejecting the challenge, Ontario's top court ruled that Chun Mei Li was properly convicted and sentenced after a jury trial last year.

"The trial judge found that the harm caused by Ms. Li's actions, when combined with her very high degree of moral blameworthiness, warranted a sentence that was more severe than in comparable cases," the Appeal Court said. "This was not an error."

The girl, identified only as M., was the daughter of Li and her common-law spouse Seyed Rezadoust. In December of 2010, when M. was seven years old, Li took her to China without telling the father, the Appeal Court said. She came back without the girl.

When Rezadoust reported the situation to police, Li responded by making several criminal allegations against her ex, resulting in charges against him. She also refused court orders to bring the child back to Canada.

When Rezadoust applied to have her found in contempt, she made further criminal allegations, leading to yet more charges against him -- all of which would eventually be stayed. Li was found in contempt and jailed, while custody of M. was awarded to the father.

In December 2013, she agreed to bring M. back to Toronto but did not do so. She also lied about who was looking after the girl. She was jailed again for contempt, and charged with child abduction.

At her arraignment in 2015, she refused to answer questions, branded the proceedings as illegal, and accused Rezadoust of being a terrorist. The trial on the abduction charge began in January last year.

"The trial proved to be very challenging," the Appeal Court said. …

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