30 Mar 2011

Woman in buried-baby case gets supervision

6:46 pm on 30 March 2011

A judge has rejected a defence plea not to convict a woman who hid her dead baby in a cupboard shortly and then buried it some months later in the yard of a house.

Judge Philip Moran did, however, grant permanent name suppression to the 21-year-old woman when she appeared in the Wellington District Court on a charge of disposing of a child's body to conceal its birth.

The woman's lawyer sought the discharge, saying her client was then, and still is, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The woman had claimed she didn't know she was pregnant, but Judge Moran said it was her fourth pregnancy and she must have recognised the signs.

By denying the pregnancy, he said, she'd put herself and her child at risk of death or injury.

Judge Moran said that while he had sympathy and compassion for her, the consequences of a conviction do not outweigh the gravity of the offending in this case

He sentenced the woman to 12 months' supervision, with the condition that she continue to receive mental-health treatment.