An Edmonton mother serving time in an Alberta prison for involuntary manslaughter in the death of her daughter is appealing her conviction.

A lawyer for Lauren Lafleche says in an appeal notice that there was insufficient evidence to show that an assault occurred that killed five-year-old Shalaina Arcand.

Lafleche was found guilty of murder and sentenced to seven years in prison after a trial.

The court heard Lafleche say in a witness statement that her daughter may have fallen from a bed or been injured while playing in a park a few days before she died.

An autopsy determined that the girl died in October 2015 from blunt trauma to the head.

READ MORE: Edmonton mother murder trial hears 5-year-old girl suffered head trauma and bruises

Lafleche, 30, was acquitted of three other charges: murder in the second degree, failure to provide necessities for life and assault with a weapon, which included a belt and spatula.

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Shalaina died a few days after Lafleche called 911 to report that one of her three children was breathing but not waking up.

Pathologist Mitchell Weinberg testified that Shalaina arrived at the hospital with widespread bleeding in her brain. He described them as recent injuries.

The appeal notice says the case was based on circumstantial evidence.

“In their testimony, the Crown medical experts were presented with some possible explanations for the injuries sustained by the victim,” argues attorney Peter Royal in the notice.

“After discarding these explanations and discovering that no other plausible explanations had been provided, several of these experts were of the opinion that the injuries must have been inflicted.

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“This is a reversal of the burden of proof.”

The statement also argues that the sentence is inappropriate because it was compared to previous cases involving parents or guardians who abused their children for days and weeks.

“There was no evidence of any type of mistreatment of the victim,” the appeal notice reads. “In fact, the evidence at trial suggested that the defendant had provided a supportive environment for her young children.”

At the trial, it was heard that Lafleche had no criminal record and that there were numerous considerations from Gladue, adverse issues that affect indigenous people and that have contributed to their being in court.

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“Despite this, he received a sentence comparable to that of those who commit acts of involuntary manslaughter against children who are both violent and precipitated by abuse over a prolonged period,” the notice says.

If a new trial were ordered, Lafleche would not want the case to be heard by a judge and jury, his attorney said.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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