BRITISH COLUMBIA

Sarah Leung Expresses Regret In Court For Killing Infant Sons

09/12/2014 03:22 EDT | Updated 11/12/2014 05:59 EST
CP
VANCOUVER - A Vancouver woman convicted of killing her two infant sons issued a statement of remorse and regret in B.C. Supreme Court, saying every time she sees people with their children she thinks of what her family may have been like.

Sarah Leung was convicted in April of two counts of infanticide for the separate deaths of her boys in April 2009 and March 2010.

Leung's father found the first infant dead in a plastic bag outside the family home and called police. DNA testing later showed the baby belonged to Leung and her partner. The body of the second baby was never found.

"Every time I drive by the funeral home where my first baby was cremated, I always think about him," said Leung at the end of her sentencing hearing.

She apologized for the pain and hurt she caused those around her.

"I know it's going to be hard for people to ever trust me again," she said. "Every time I see people with their children I think that could be me with my kids."

Earlier this week, the Crown prosecutor called for an eight-year prison sentence. On Friday, Leung's lawyer asked that she be sentenced for three years in prison, one year for the first count of infanticide and two years for the second.

Defence lawyer Richard Fowler said Leung should be given a lighter sentence because she was psychologically disturbed and overly dependent on her family.

Fowler told the court that Leung, who would have been between 23 and 24 years old at the time of the infant's deaths, didn't have the maturity expected of people her age.

"In terms of her personality, younger and more emotionally and psychologically underdeveloped than her chronological age," said Fowler. "A measure of dependency on others, particularly her parents, belied her true chronological age."

Fowler also recommended Leung be required to report any future pregnancies to child welfare authorities.

Her trial heard the babies were both delivered into the toilet of her family home and tossed in the garbage in plastic bags. Her lawyer told the court Leung concealed her pregnancies and secretly disposed of her infants' bodies because she was terrified of being disowned by her family.

Fowler told Leung's sentencing hearing that her sons died because she failed to provide proper care for them.

"There is no positive act in my respectful submission coupled with any intent to cause harm," he said. "Their deaths resulted from omissions on the part of Ms. Leung, omissions being failing to provide the necessary support for their care."

But Crown prosecutor Sandra Cunningham countered that the deaths resulted from "violent acts."

"Flushing the toilet while the baby was in it is a violent act," Cunningham said.

"The cause of death of baby boy number 1 is consistent with suffocation," she said. "The baby was breathing and crying a little."

The defence has said there was no certainty either baby was alive when Leung put them in plastic bags.

The court heard Leung and her boyfriend were seeing each other secretly, and she became pregnant in 2008. The man believed she was happy about the pregnancies and did not realize she was afraid of her family.

Leung delivered her first child in her family home, cleaned up the blood and hid the evidence. She told her boyfriend she had miscarried.

She became pregnant again and the pattern repeated itself.

Justice Mary Humphries will release her decision on a sentence on Oct. 7.