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Woman who pleaded guilty to infanticide speaks at sentencing hearing

Woman who pleaded guilty to infanticide speaks at sentencing hearing
Canada
Kirsten Pemberton pleaded guilty to infanticide on Monday, before her two-day sentencing hearing that wrapped up on Wednesday at Napanee Superior Court.

Pemberton sat in court, visibly shaken and sobbing through parts of the proceedings, flanked by her mother and grandfather, as her defence lawyers and the Crown delivered their submissions.

The Crown is asking for the maximum sentence for infanticide, which is five years, and a second charge of concealing the body of an infant. That charge carries a sentence of two years.

She was originally charged with first degree murder.

According to the Crown, Pemberton hid her pregnancy, and after giving birth, wrapped the baby in a sweatshirt and put the full-term baby girl — who was alive — inside a garbage bag in the closet of her bedroom.

The bag wasn’t found for two and a half months.

When the baby was discovered, Pemberton, who was 23 years old at the time, had already moved to Alberta for work. That’s where she was arrested.

During this time the Crown says Pemberton was able to apply for and secure a job.

In court Wednesday, Pemberton’s defence lawyer, Paul Blais, asked Justice Mew for a suspended sentence or probation, citing his client’s mental health issues.

Blais pointed to testimony from three expert witnesses, Pemberton’s psychiatric doctors, who said she was in a psychotic state at the time of the birth.

It took the Crown less than an hour to deliver their sentencing submission.

At the end of the hearing, Justice Mew gave Pemberton an opportunity to speak.

Through tears and sobbing, Pemberton told the court, “I am really sorry,” and thanked her family for their support.
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