A look at court cases involving mothers who have disposed of dead babies

Disposing of dead babies court cases

WINNIPEG — A judge is to rule Monday in the case of a woman who was arrested after the remains of six infants were discovered inside a Winnipeg storage locker in 2014. Andrea Giesbrecht is charged under Section 243 of the Criminal Code, which makes it a crime to dispose of the body of a dead child with intent to conceal the delivery “whether the child died before, during or after birth.”

Here are some other cases in Canada involving that charge:

January 2010: Courtny Taylor gave birth to a full-term baby in the bathroom of her boyfriend’s home in Richmond, B.C. The 20-year-old later told police she didn’t know she was pregnant and that the baby was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and was not breathing or moving. She wrapped the boy in a towel and put him in a bag. She told her boyfriend she had a miscarriage and together they disposed of the baby in a garbage bin. Partial remains were found in a landfill and an autopsy was unable to determine if the baby had been born alive. Taylor pleaded guilty to the charge and was given a one-year conditional sentence.

March 2007: After concealing her pregnancy from friends and family, Becky Morrow gave birth in a toilet in her home in Old Ridge, N.B. She dismembered and burned the baby’s body in a fire pit. It could not be determined if the baby was born alive. She pleaded guilty to the charge, as well as to offering an indignity to a dead body, and received a 14-month conditional sentence. A judge ruled that the 27-year-old may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby, but not when she disposed of the body.

April 2006: The superintendent of an apartment building in Mississauga, Ont., found a dead baby girl in a plastic bag on a balcony. A pathologist could not determine if the child was born alive, but court heard that the 23-year-old mother, Ivana Levkovic, probably self-aborted. The first trial judge acquitted Levkovic, calling the law too vague, but the Ontario Court of Appeal set aside the ruling and ordered another trial. The case went to the Supreme Court, which said the law applies only to stillbirths and not miscarriages or abortions. In 2010, Levkovic was also acquitted of the charge after a baby was placed in a freezer. A judge ruled she probably had a miscarriage early in that pregnancy.

The Canadian Press

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