Winnipeg woman guilty of hiding infant remains may have wanted to visit: defence

Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, December 12, 2018 9:15AM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, December 12, 2018 10:59AM CST

WINNIPEG — The lawyer for a Winnipeg woman convicted of hiding the remains of six babies in a rented storage locker says she was keeping them so she could possibly visit them.

   Greg Brodsky told the Manitoba Court of Appeal that the trial judge was wrong to find Andrea Giesbrecht guilty because she was not trying to dispose of the infants.

   Giesbrecht was sentenced to 8 1/2 years in prison for concealing the remains inside a U-haul storage locker that workers opened in 2014.

   She never testified, the trial never heard a motive for her actions, and the remains were too decomposed to determine causes of death.

   The trial was told the infants were at or near full term, were genetically linked to Giesbrecht, and had been carried at different times over several years.

   Brodsky told the Appeal Court that Giesbrecht took steps to preserve what he called the “products of conception”, and the Crown could not prove she was trying to conceal or dispose of them.

   “We contend that her actions do not constitute disposal. Rather, the products of conception were stored, kept and saved,” Brodsky said at Wednesday’s hearing.

   “Why would anyone want to store six bodies?” Justice Chris Mainella asked at one point.

   “She may have had a facetious or a not realistic expectation. She may have wanted to visit. She may have wanted to preserve … she doesn’t have to explain,” Brodsky said.

   Giesbrecht is entitled to the presumption of innocence and it’s on the Crown to prove she intended to dispose of the remains rather than simply store them, Brodsky added.

   The argument was challenged by Mainella.

   “I didn’t see an … authority in your case book that says that you don’t commit this offence by being good at hiding dead bodies. Because essentially, that’s what you’re saying is that you can defeat this charge by burying a body in your backyard (and) you’re still in possession of it.”