Sentencing for woman who hid infant bodies

WINNIPEG — Lawyers will argue today over what sentence should be imposed on a woman convicted of concealing the bodies of six infants in a Winnipeg storage locker.

Andrea Giesbrecht faces a sentencing hearing today, five months after she was found guilty of hiding the remains inside a U-haul storage unit she had rented.

Giesbrecht was arrested in October 2014 after she defaulted on paying rent for the storage locker.

Staff, who were to auction off the locker’s contents, opened a plastic bin, noticed a strange smell and called police.

Medical experts testified the infants were Giesbrecht’s, were at or near full-term, and were likely to have been born alive.

But because the remains were badly decomposed, it was impossible to determine how the infants died.

Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky says he and the Crown are at odds over what sentence is appropriate, and both sides will make their submissions today.

Provincial court Judge Murray Thompson has agreed to a media request to live-stream his decision on sentencing, although that is not expected to occur immediately.

Giesbrecht has been free on bail. Each count of concealment carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

Giesbrecht’s motive remains a mystery. She did not testify and the defence did not call any witnesses during the trial. Brodsky argued his client kept the remains in the storage locker to save them, not dispose of them.

The judge didn’t believe that.

Thompson noted that Giesbrecht knew about being pregnant and delivering babies. She had her two children in hospital. She also had 10 legal abortions.

The judge also noted there were no medical records of the pregnancies relating to the charges, and said that was another sign Giesbrecht intended to conceal the infants.

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