Serenity's supporters call for justice, reinstatement of charge at Edmonton rally

Family and friends of a four-year-old girl who died in 2014 gathered at the Alberta Legislature Saturday, calling for something they've asked for repeatedly: justice.

A handful of protestors chanted "justice for Serenity," who died after suffering injuries while in kinship care.

Her death led to the creation of a panel looking into the province's child-intervention system.

The rally comes after an Alberta prosecutor stayed a criminal charge against Serenity's guardians on Tuesday.

The man and woman who were the child's legal guardians had been charged with failure to provide the necessaries of life. They had been ordered to stand trial, due to begin this fall.

Crown prosecutor Brandy Shaw said the decision came after a review of the evidence at the preliminary inquiry and the determination that there was not a reasonable likelihood of conviction.

Serenity's mother, who cannot be identified, attended the rally and said she's pushing to have the charge reinstated. CBC is not identifying her to protect the identities of Serenity's two siblings, who were also under the care of the kinship guardians.

"It's been a long process, from court hearing to court hearing every few years, and them telling me that they are going to … get justice for my children," she said. "It just like, played out as nothing, got swept under the rug."

Jordan Mesiatowsky/Radio-Canada

The Crown has one year to potentially reinstate the charge.

Joshua Asp, the lawyer for the man accused, said Tuesday he believes the charge was stayed because his client and the co-accused are innocent.

Heather Workman, a friend of Serenity's family, said the case highlights a systemic flaw.

"There's a responsibility for all of the systems to work in a healthy manner to protect children," Workman said. "Something within the system failed to do so."

Jordan Mesiatowsky/Radio-Canada