Judge In Halkett Trial Reserves Decision

Thursday, May 07, 2009 at 15:54



The trial of a northern Saskatchewan woman accused of abandoning her newborn baby in a Wal-Mart washroom has wrapped up.


Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko says this is one of the worst cases of child abandonment she has ever seen.


In her closing arguments, she attempted to poke holes in the defence’s case for April Halkett.


Claxton-Viczko argued it was clear Halkett knew or strongly suspected she was pregnant by the fact she took three pregnancy tests.


She also pointed out that Halkett had informed her family she was expecting during an earlier pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage.


Claxton-Viczko added questions over who the baby’s father was may have caused Halkett to conceal the pregnancy and not want it.


She also noted Halkett only picked up the phone to call police after her brother informed her the police were looking for her — and that her mother told her to step forward.


Claxton-Viczko also didn’t buy a doctor’s testimony that women who give birth in such a rushed manner can be shocked or disoriented.


She said Halkett was aware enough to drop wads of toilet paper over the baby, and to clean blood off her hands and the floor before leaving the store.


She added things could have been different if only Halkett had picked the baby up and called for help.


The defence painted a much different story.


Lawyer A.J. Krishan said the evidence shows Halkett thought she was leaving a dead fetus in the toilet, not a baby.


He pointed to testimony from other witnesses who said the baby was purplish-blue and not moving.


He also cited testimony from a paramedic who initially referred to the baby as a “non-breathing fetus” in a police report.


Krishan noted Halkett was extremely co-operative with police throughout the investigation.


And he said the Crown hadn’t been able to find any inconsistencies in her statements despite the fact it has had them for two years.


He told jurors this case should be considered a mistake of fact because Halkett never knew she was pregnant.


Krishan concluded by saying Halkett’s statements are credible, and argued the Crown is asking the judge to draw conclusions that aren’t supported by the evidence.


Justice Neil Gabrielson asked both lawyers if they knew of any similar cases he could study.


Both told him “no”.


Gabrielson has reserved his decision until June 24th.