Alberta's top court has doubled the sentence of a Calgary mother who abused her four youngest children in what a judge described as "a 10-year reign of terror."
The woman is identified in court documents as MAC in order to protect the identity of her children.
She was convicted last year of four counts of assault and three counts of assault by choking.
Following a trial, during which, the woman denied all abuse, she was handed a two-year sentence by Justice Heather Lamoureux of Alberta's provincial court.
12-month-old child abused
But in a decision handed down by the Alberta Court of Appeal this week, the panel of three judges ruled that jail term was "demonstrably unfit."
"This was a 10-year reign of terror," wrote the appeal court in its 13-page decision.
"The two-year sentence was not proportionate to the gravity of the offences and the moral blameworthiness of the respondent."
The assaults took place on the children who were as young as 12 months when the abuse began.
Children fled home to Tim Hortons
The situation came to light on Nov. 1, 2019.
On that day MAC was "extremely angry," according to the court's decision.
She grabbed her 11-year-old child by the neck and slammed him into a wall and into a piece of glass furniture, according to court records. He later testified it was hard to breathe.
A younger sibling hid under the bed. When the assault was over two of the older children ran from the home, looking for a phone.
They called their father, who then called police.
Relationship 'irreparably extinguished'
Officers found the children at a nearby Tim Hortons.
When they testified at the trial, the four children disclosed that they'd been punched, hit with kitchen items and choked. The mother also used a belt on the oldest child, court heard.
A pediatrician who was qualified as an expert in abuse testified that she observed lesions on the oldest boy, who was 12 years old in 2019, which were consistent with child abuse.
A report prepared ahead of sentencing found MAC did not take responsibility for the assaults.
In her decision, Lamoureux wrote that the psychological harm suffered by the children was "severe and permanent" and that the parent-child relationship had been "irreparably extinguished."
After the assaults came to light, the father gained custody of the children and an emergency protection order was issued that prevented MAC from having any contact with them.