By The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – A Manitoba woman is appealing her conviction for hiding the remains of six babies she conceived over many years in a rented storage locker.
Andrea Giesbrecht, 43, was sentenced in July to 8 1/2 years for concealing the dead body of a child.
Her trial was told she put the remains in plastic bags and containers inside a U-haul storage locker. They were discovered by workers who opened the locker in October 2014 after Giesbrecht fell behind on her payments.
Her lawyer, Greg Brodsky, said on Wednesday that he filed the notice of appeal in late August and will seek bail for Giesbrecht in the next few weeks.
He said the appeal will argue she was saving the bodies of the fetuses, not disposing of them.
Giesbrecht never testified and the trial never heard a motive for her actions, though provincial court Judge Murray Thompson called her moral culpability extreme and ruled the sentence needed to be strong enough to denounce her behaviour.
“These were newly delivered infants, our most vulnerable,” Thompson said at the time. “She knew she had medical options and chose not to access them.”
The trial was told she made efforts to hide her pregnancies from everyone, including her husband.
“Giesbrecht knew these children were likely to have been born alive and she wished to conceal the fact of their delivery and existence,” Thompson said in his ruling.
However, Brodsky argued Wednesday that was a misinterpretation of the evidence.
“He said the medical evidence showed it was likely a live birth, but if it was a live birth, the charge should have been murder or failing to obtain assistance at the time of birth, or whatever,” said Brodsky. “There was no proof there was a live birth in this case.”
He said the Crown has not yet responded to the appeal, adding a court date is likely far off in what he called a “complex case.”
As for his client, Brodsky said she is anxious to have the matter behind her.
“Peculiarly enough, the judge said the victims in this case were the police who had to observe the fetuses, the pathologist who had to deal with the autopsies,” said the lawyer.
“I don’t think they’re victims. That’s what they’re trained to do. They can’t be considered victims.”