An Ontario farmer who had been found guilty of criminal negligence in the accidental death of his four-year-old son has been given a suspended sentence with three years probation.

Justice Julia Morneau of the Ontario Court of Justice sentenced Emanuel Bauman in a precedent-setting case.

Bauman from Grey Highlands was charged last August with criminal negligence causing death after his son died after falling out of a skid steer bucket. He was found guilty of the charge in May of this year.

The Crown had recommended a sentence of two years less a day, three years probation and a driving prohibition of 10 years. Bauman’s lawyer had argued for a suspended sentence with two or three years probation, along with the condition of speaking to others in the community about farm safety.

On August 30th of 2018, Bauman was building a laneway on his property. Using a skid steer, he pulled a trailer full of wood chips, with the chips landing in the laneway as he moved. His two children, 7-year-old Luke, and 4-year-old Steven were standing in the skid steer’s bucket.

Something diverted Bauman’s attention, causing him to look back. At that point, Steven fell out of the bucket. Bauman found the child on the ground with his head trapped under the bucket.

Steven then died from head injuries and his father was charged. Although he pleaded not guilty, Bauman accepted moral responsibility for the accident.

It's believed to be the only case in Canada where a child's accidental death on a farm led to a criminal charge.

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