Canada woman who hid foetuses gets lengthy prison term

The remains were found at a Winnipeg storage facility

A Canadian woman has been sentenced to eight and a half years in prison for hiding the remains of six of her infants in a storage locker.

Andrea Giesbrecht was convicted in February of six counts of concealing the body of a child.

The remains of six full or near full-term foetuses were found in a U-haul storage locker in October 2014.

The Winnipeg mother-of-two’s lawyer had asked for her case to be thrown out because of delays in procedures.

Last year, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that "justice delayed is justice denied" and said that unreasonable court delays could result in the case being thrown out.

The controversial ruling has led to many cases being thrown out of court.

In a provincial court, such as the one Giesbrecht was convicted in, the time limit for a "reasonable" trial is set at 18 months. Giesbrecht’s trial took 33 months.

Her lawyer, Greg Brodsky, filed the motion to have the case dismissed on the grounds of unreasonable delays on Tuesday evening, just three days before she was due to be sentenced.

Manitoba provincial court Judge Murray Thompson read the verdict in Andrea Giesbrecht’s trial

Judge Murray Thompson was clearly vexed about this last-minute tactic in court on Friday, and he dismissed the motion.

Investigators in the case were unable to determine with certainty the cause of death or whether any of the infants had been born alive.

"By her own hand Giesbrecht has made it impossible to determine if death preceded live birth," Mr Thompson told the court.

The judge found that she had concealed her pregnancy and delivery from her family and friends, and showed a "pathological" lack of empathy.

According to her medical records, she did not see a doctor during any of the six pregnancies. The court heard that the chance of all six infants being stillborn was 1 in 500 trillion.

The prosecution had asked for 11 years, one year shy of the maximum sentence. The defence asked for time served, which was 168 days.

With time served, her sentence will be reduced from eight and a half years to seven years and eight months.

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