Trial Underway For Accused In Birth At Walmart

Monday, May 04, 2009 at 15:19



WARNING: Some readers might find the following story offensive.)


Witnesses have begun to take the stand in the trial of a northern Saskatchewan woman accused of abandoning her newborn baby in a Walmart washroom.


April Dawn Halkett entered Court of Queen’s Bench in Prince Albert today with a hand over her face amid a swarm of cameras.


Halkett sat quietly in the prisoner’s box as lawyers for the Crown and defence discussed the case in front of Justice Neil Gabrielson.


Both sides have agreed on a number of things, including the fact that Halkett delivered the baby in the store washroom on the afternoon of May 21, 2007.


Cst. Shaun Stubbs of the Prince Albert Police Service was the first witness to take the stand. The 10-year veteran showed a videotape of footage taken from a surveillance camera in the store that shows Halkett entering the store at 5:05 p.m. that day, and leaving at 5:19 p.m.


The second witness called, Terry Sparks of Melfort, testified she was using one of the washroom stalls when she noticed blood drops on the floor of the stall next to hers, and heard grunting.


Sparks testified a pool of blood formed, and when she looked under the partition, she could only see a pair of shoes that weren’t being worn.


She said she wanted to get help for the person in the other stall, so she left the bathroom and told a store employee what was going on.


Another witness, Cree Naytowhow, testified she was also using one of the bathroom stalls when she noticed blood entering her stall from the one next to hers.


She said she pounded on the wall and asked the other stall’s occupant if everything wasfine.


Naytowhow said she received a muffled reply indicating everything was okay.


Shortly after that, two women, Beatrice Steib and her daughter, walked into the washroom.


Steib says it was her daughter who looked into the bloody stall, which was now empty and called for her to come look.


Beatrice Steib says she saw a lot of toilet paper and blood, and in the midst of it was a tiny hand.


Steib says she and her daughter informed the assistant manager. However, the assistant manager seemed to think it was only a mess in there, not a baby.


Steib says she got her husband to tell the store manager a baby was in the toilet, and it was then that action was taken.


Approximately half a dozen more witnesses are scheduled to take the stand for the Crown.


The defence has said it will call at least one witness.


It’s not known if Halkett will take the stand.