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.

NanaNina Mon 24-Sep-12 19:50:31

I have just read the link on the Telegraph article on MM. She had a baby aborted at 7.5 months, and was given a 12 month custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months. Surely that must give weight to the notion that the Judge in the case under discussion was not acting impartially and was in fact judging the woman because of his own beliefs. This is not the task of Judges and is in my view potentially highly dangerous.

What happens if the mother in this case appeals will be very interesting.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 24-Sep-12 19:58:35

I am still confused as to why it is being referred to as a late abortion. AFAIK she took drugs that induce labour. A baby induced at 38/39 weeks is very common. One wouldn't expect that baby to be still-born or die in childbirth. One would expect that baby to live. The problem is that she wasn't charged with murder/manslaughter, was she? I think there is every possibility that she killed the child but a judge should sentence on the merits of the case, not the possibly of another case. If the body is found, will they retry her?

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 24-Sep-12 20:42:49

mrsTerry, they wouldn't 're-try' her exactly, they would try her with a separate crime, if the evidence was there that the baby had not died naturally and had died at her hands rather than someone else's.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 24-Sep-12 20:48:09

I suppose so. I'm just very confused by this case. If my 1 day old child died and I said that had died of natural causes and I had buried it somewhere, wouldn't they charge me with manslaughter? I can't understand why the assumption is, in this case, that this is an 'abortion' when what she did was induce labour. She said the baby was dead but I don't understand why that is the assumption.

mellen Mon 24-Sep-12 21:27:12

It was possibly a pragmatic step, based on what they thought they could realistically get a conviction on.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 24-Sep-12 23:27:22

No they wouldn't MrsT. We used to have Habeas Corpus in the UK meaning you needed a body before you could prosecute for murder. now we dont but it is still very difficult without some other concrete evidence of malicious action on your part (eg knife with your fingerprints and victim's DNA).

I think you could be prosecuted for concealment of a body and maybe non-registration of a death. But no-one could presume your actions killed someone without evidence if you denied it.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 24-Sep-12 23:33:24

That is scary. At least I now know what habeus corpus is.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Mon 24-Sep-12 23:35:11

Sure but there has to be a provable case for someone to be found guilty so from that angle it isn't scary.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Mon 24-Sep-12 23:42:46

I know but in this case, as far as I know, it is obvious that she ordered the drugs, was pregnant, there is a dead fetus or baby somewhere and presumably she knows where it is. If charged with manslaughter/murder all she would have to do is tell the Police where the body is and surely it would be obvious whether there was a case to answer. I know that is all the wrong way round for the way the legal system works!

mellen Tue 25-Sep-12 08:42:09

Depending on what happened it might be too late now to know for sure.

hiddenhome Tue 25-Sep-12 16:45:17

She did not have an abortion. She induced labour and then committed infanticide angry She also probably murdered the baby because she refuses to reveal where the body is.

edam Tue 25-Sep-12 16:55:40

That's not what habeus corpus means. It refers to the accused, not the victim. It means the person who is accused has to be brought before a court - the authorities can't just keep you in prison without due legal process.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 25-Sep-12 18:01:19

Isn't it? Drat! blush

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 25-Sep-12 18:02:05

But I am right about the law until fairly recently being that there had to be a body, aren't I?

edam Tue 25-Sep-12 19:15:42

Easy to be confused about it because habeus corpus does refer to bodies - I think the Latin term is pretty much 'produce the body' but it means 'bring the accused out so we can see you haven't made away with him in your deepest, darkest dungeon' or words to that effect...

Not sure about murder prosecutions where there's no body - I think there have been some but it's very difficult to prove, obviously.

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 25-Sep-12 20:33:47

Doctrine <shakes fist>

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Tue 25-Sep-12 20:34:48

<cowers>

MrsTerrysChocolateOrange Tue 25-Sep-12 20:45:30

grin

mellen Tue 25-Sep-12 21:37:20

There have been convictions without a body - quite recently there was the Suzanne Pilley case, there have been others too.

Extrospektiv Tue 25-Sep-12 22:10:09

Irrelevant to this- Suzanne Pilley was a born person whose killing was clearly murder under English common law, as were all of the few other "no body" murder cases.

Here, without the body, they cannot prove that the child was born and took their first breath independently of the mother before death, and so the actus reus element of the crime of murder cannot be shown beyond reasonable doubt.

I was accused of putting my religious beliefs first earlier on the thread because I said that before God, Catt is a murderer whether or not the baby was born alive- and now I am defending her from the separate claim that she is (or can be proven to the criminal standard to be) a murderer under the law of this country.

Just to show I'm not theocratic or extremist once more.

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