Judge in late abortion case linked to conservative Christian charity

(195 Posts)
HoleyGhost Fri 21-Sep-12 19:12:16

" A judge who criticised UK abortion policies while sentencing a woman to eight years in prison for performing her own abortion at a late stage in her pregnancy is one of at least five members of the judiciary with links to a Christian charity which has campaigned for more conservative abortion laws."

Thought this deserved a thread of its own.

SaraBellumHertz Sat 22-Sep-12 10:54:37

Agree with everything edam has so eloquently stated.

Just because she was prosecuted does not mean she is mentally well - the threshold for insanity pleas is extremely high: basically (and of course i paraphrase) she would have had to have not known what she was doing or if she did not known it was wrong.

There are plenty of individuals who know what they do is wrong (and are not therefore criminally insane) but quite clearly have severe mental health issues.

But its been stated she was not mentally ill. It was pre-meditated as she ordered the drugs and searched methods on how to induce birth and then waited until her husband was away until she went through with the procedure.
Has no one actually thought about the baby's rights to life or just hers?
After all he was a full-term human being with real feelingssad

perceptionreality Sat 22-Sep-12 11:13:18

Completely agree with edam.

edam Sat 22-Sep-12 11:16:18

pumpkin, you've missed the point. She wasn't charged with killing a live baby. So that's irrelevant to the sentence. Whatever you, or any of us, suspect or feel isn't relevant. Everyone knows this case is horrifying, what we are discussing is the sentence and the law.

ReallyTired Sat 22-Sep-12 11:40:49

This case is horrifying. The judge has given a sentence that is in accordance with the law. Unlike us he is trained and in pocession of the facts.

The law of the land makes DIY late term abortions legal. She was cold and caluclating how she ended her pregnancy. It is not the behaviour of a mentally ill person. The judge is trained in the law and has her sentenced accordingly.

edam Sat 22-Sep-12 11:42:46

That's the point really, he hasn't. He's ignored the only comparable case - openly said so in court - and made his anti-abortion views very clear. Which were entirely irrelevant and should never have come into it.

HoleyGhost Sat 22-Sep-12 11:54:31

It is difficult to see why she would have done this unless she had severe mental health issues, though she is not criminally insane.

Having an abortion at an earlier stage or giving the baby up for adoption would have been much more in her own interest than the course of action she chose.

Rowanhart Sat 22-Sep-12 11:54:35

I'm sorry but in this 'comparable case' the big difference is the woman was proven to have mental health issues and co-operated with police fully. She was desperate and full of remorse.

In his case she has been deliberately obstructive by refusing to disclose the whereabouts of the body and failed to show remorse. The sentencing reflects that.

These cases are as comparable as two child murders where one is a mother who does it so she can go off with her new man and one where a mother does it in the grips of despression and despair. The sentencing, quite rightly, would be vastly difference.

HoleyGhost Sat 22-Sep-12 11:58:18

Assessing remorse is always subjective. Traumatised people don't always behave in textbook fashion.

SaraBellumHertz Sat 22-Sep-12 11:58:19

Where was it said that she wasn't mentally ill?

Rowanhart Sat 22-Sep-12 12:05:45
Rowanhart Sat 22-Sep-12 12:13:04
shesariver Sat 22-Sep-12 14:24:37

It is difficult to see why she would have done this unless she had severe mental health issues

Not to me its not sadly, although I do realise some people struggle to understand why a Mother would potentially harm her own child without something being wrong mentally with them. Some people are just bad and will go to any lengths to fulfil their own needs.

However I do think the judge should not have made remarks about his own views on legal abortion (which this wasnt) in his speech.

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 15:26:07

Yes, he should have. Judges have the right to make such remarks, no matter what edam and perception and the other semi-defenders think, provided they are not sentencing for personal biased reasons and/or outside of the legal guidelines. THE JUDGE IN THIS CASE DID NEITHER so do not criticise him.

SaraBellumHertz Sat 22-Sep-12 15:28:47

Thanks for the link relating to her mental health.

I am however now more shock having read the sentencing remarks in full and the judges own opinions. Disgraceful sad

SaraBellumHertz Sat 22-Sep-12 15:31:52

extrospectiv there are no guidelines for this sort of case - It is virtually unique.

And a judge who clearly shows bias will quickly find himself in the Court of Appeal. And rightly so

BoffinMum Sat 22-Sep-12 15:35:08

Is it not infanticide?

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 15:41:38

Legally it can only be classed as infanticide if they could prove the child was born alive and died following 1st independent breath. As they could not prove it either way the lesser charge applies.

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 15:43:53

There is a parallel to the Baby P case where 3 adults are in the house with a severely abused toddler who dies and police cannot prove who killed the child. One or more of them COULD have killed the child in a way meeting the legal definition of murder, but if they cannot prove this, they must charge "causing or allowing the death of a child" which is a lesser but still very serious offence.

SkippyYourFriendEverTrue Sat 22-Sep-12 15:44:04

The Abortion Act states that for an abortion to be legal two registered medical practitioners must be of the opinion that:

(a) that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or
(b)that the termination is necessary to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman; or
(c)that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated; or
(d)that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped.
(2)In determining whether the continuance of a pregnancy would involve such risk of injury to health as is mentioned in paragraph (a) [F2or (b)] of subsection (1) of this section, account may be taken of the pregnant woman’s actual or reasonably foreseeable environment.

Those are the only grounds.

So when the judge states:

"whatever view one takes of its provisions which are, wrongly, liberally construed in practice so as to make abortion available essentially on demand prior to 24 weeks with the approval of registered medical practitioners"

He is entirely correct.

The law is the will of Parliament, and it clearly does not provide for abortion on demand. His job as a judge is to apply the law according to the intent of Parliament, not to extend it beyond that, only to interpret it where ambiguous.

TheTermagantToaster Sat 22-Sep-12 15:59:52

Has no one read Camus' The Outsider? I always think of it when cases like this come up.

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 16:02:34

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

runningforme Sat 22-Sep-12 16:56:57

animation you hope she appeals?!?!? shock words fail me

Extrospektiv Sat 22-Sep-12 17:08:21

animation I hope she gets double figures if she appeals

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Sat 22-Sep-12 17:11:29

Extro the sentence was double figures, it was 12 years with one third off for a guilty plea.

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