The murder charge against the woman accused of murdering her new born baby in Temotu last year will be reduced to infanticide.
Public Prosecutor Willy Vaiyu confirmed to the court yesterday that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) made the endorsement to reduce the charge.
The murder charge was therefore withdrawn under section 190 (2) (b) (i) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which provides for an acquittal.
The infanticide charge will be sorted out and filed before the next court appearance on July 26.
A plea and possibly a committal hearing will be conducted on that day.
The defence has sought reduction of the charge based on the state of mind of the mother at the time of the alleged incident.
Prosecution however asked the defence to produce a medical report before it will confirm its position on whether to reduce the charge or maintain the initial charge.
A medical assessment was then conducted on the accused by a psychiatrist and the report produced was forwarded to the DPP office for his opinion.
The medical report confirmed the unstable state of the accused’s mind at that time of the alleged offending from the treatment she received from her husband and that of his family.
The young woman was accused of the death of her baby on 28 March last year at a village far off north from Santa Cruz.
She allegedly gave birth alone at home and was seen by a nurse later that day who confirmed the baby was fine.
The closest clinic is about five kilometers away.
Prosecution alleged that the following morning, the baby was found dead in bed with bruises found on the neck and face.
The maximum penalty of murder is a mandatory life imprisonment while that of infanticide is also life imprisonment.
The definition of the infanticide under section 206 of the Penal Code reads, “where a woman by any willful act or omission causes the death of her child being a child under the age of twelve months, but at the time of the act or omission the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth to the child or by reason of the effect of lactation consequent upon the birth of the child, then, notwithstanding that the circumstances were such that but for the provisions of this section the offence would have amounted to murder, she shall be guilty of felony, to wit, infanticide,
and may for such offence be dealt with and punished as if she had been guilty of manslaughter of the child.”
Henry Kausimae of Public Solicitor’s Office is representing the accused while Public Prosecutor Willy Vaiyu appeared on behalf of the Crown.
By ASSUMPTA BUCHANAN