Human Rights

Canadian woman gets probation for drowning newborn to go to college exam

Louisiana court

A woman who claimed her baby was the result of sexual assault gave that as an excuse for drowning her infant so that she could get to an exam at Thompson Rivers University was sentenced with just two years’ probation by a provincial court judge.

The judge was sympathetic with 19 year-old Courtney Saul, because she claimed the baby was conceived during a sexual assault.

According to Christian News, at the time of the murder, Saul was a student at Thompson Rivers University, and gave birth in her basement apartment in Kamloops:

But as she had an exam at school later that day, she wasn’t sure what to do with the baby, and decided to get rid of him.

“She finally decided she should drown the baby. She did that in the sink and then she went to her exam,” attorney Will Burrows told reporters.

When Saul returned, she wrapped the baby, who she named George Carlos, in a t-shirt and then placed him in a box. She then placed the box in a backpack, which she put in the trunk of her car.

Three weeks later, the child was discovered in the trunk after Saul loaned her vehicle to a friend, who then was involved in a collision. The driver reportedly fled the scene of the accident, and when firefighters and police arrived, they opened the backpack hoping to find identification.

Saul confessed her crime to police, stating that she was unaware that she was pregnant until well into the pregnancy and that her pregnancy was a result of rape while she was intoxicated at a party. Life Site News reported:

Saul was first charged with infanticide, then second-degree murder, but this was later reduced back to infanticide, which applies when the mother has a “disturbed mind.” It can draw up to five years imprisonment.

Saul’s defense attorney noted that this was “a tragedy in all sense of the word,” Life Site News reports, and Judge Len Marchand said the sentence was mitigated because of the circumstances under which the child was conceived.

But this isn’t the first time a similarly light sentence has been handed down in such a case, says Life Site:

In 2011 the Alberta appeals court gave a woman a three-year-suspended sentence for killing her newborn baby in the basement bathroom of her parents’ home in 2005. In the interim she was twice convicted of murder but both judgments were overthrown. The second time the murder finding was reduced to infanticide, the appeal judge justified the decision by citing the sympathy Canadians felt for young women with an unexpected pregnancy as demonstrated by their approval of abortion.

These cases send the message to Canadian women that something as significant as an infant’s life can be discarded if it causes even minimal inconvenience.

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