The family of a Cold Lake toddler has waited three years for justice.
On Wednesday, they learned they will have to wait at least another month.
Last November, a St. Paul jury found Sherman Whitford guilty of manslaughter in the death of 16-month-old Veronica Poitras.
Whitford was originally charged with second-degree murder.
He was not the toddler's biological father but was romantically involved her mother at the time.
Jaylene Houle left Veronica in Whitford's care while she left the home they shared to buy groceries. When she returned, she found Veronica lying unresponsive on the bed.
The child never regained consciousness. Houle took her to hospital, and the toddler was soon airlifted to the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton, where she died two days later. She had three skull fractures, extensive bruising and swelling on both sides of her head, rib fractures and bruises on her abdomen.
"He was the only person with the baby," Justice Stephen Hillier said Wednesday at the sentencing hearing. "The jury concluded the Crown had proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he had at least inflicted the fatal head injuries."
The judge noted that Veronica had been vaccinated before she was injured and was tired and cranky. He suggested it was possible Whitford was unable to control his temper while dealing with an inconsolable child.
"We really don't know how these injuries happened," Crown prosecutor Jeff Rudiak said. "What we do know is that when they did happen, they were very, very severe."
Rudiak said the crime was close to murder. He suggested a sentence in the range of eight to 12 years.
Whitford's lawyer suggested what happened was closer to an accident.
"This was just a momentary lapse by Mr. Whitford that led to the injuries on the baby," Tim Dunlap told the judge. "It was just a complete and utter momentary loss of control."
He suggested a sentence in the range of 42 to 66 months, to be followed by probation that would include anger management and parenting counselling.
'You basically just wasted ... everyone's time'
Whitford, 38, had been free for a year, but his bail was revoked after he assaulted Veronica's mother and violated a no-contact order twice.
According to a presentence report, Whitford has not been a model inmate at the Edmonton Remand Centre.
"He continues to be non-compliant with custody rules and has become verbally aggressive toward staff, often using profanities," the report said. "Whitford felt he is different from others that are currently in custody and subsequently should not be in custody."
Whitford has been in custody for just over 18 months, and some of that time has been spent in administrative segregation. His lawyer wants his client to receive credit for that time on a three-to-one basis.
The Crown argued the typical one-and-a-half times credit should apply.
Hillier was visibly upset that neither lawyer had provided the necessary documentation to support their requests.
"You basically just wasted an hour and 40 minutes of everyone's time," he told the lawyers.
The case was put over until Sept. 14 to allow the lawyers to reach an agreement, or to set a date for an additional hearing.
The victim's paternal grandmother watched the proceedings through video conference. Victoria Poitras has launched an online support group called Justice For Baby Veronica. She posted a video on the site to express her disappointment.
"There's no justice today everybody," Poitras said. "Court has been adjourned because — may as well say it — people didn't do their jobs."
In a telephone interview later, Poitras told CBC News she was "flabbergasted" when the case was put off.
"They didn't submit anything," she said. "The judge asked them to months ago, and we've been waiting. So they dropped the ball. That's how I see it."