NEWS

Andrea Giesbrecht's lawyer, medical examiner at odds in dead infants case

10/29/2014 11:35 EDT | Updated 12/29/2014 05:59 EST
A Winnipeg court is hearing a dispute over who can be present during the autopsy of the remains of six infants found in a storage locker, while police investigators were spotted outside the home of the woman accused of concealing them.

Andrea Giesbrecht, 40, is charged with six counts of concealing the body of a child, after the infant remains were found in a locker at a U-Haul facility on Oct. 20.

At issue is a request by Giesbrecht's lawyer, Greg Brodsky, to have the court appoint an independent pathologist to observe the autopsy of the remains, which would aim to determine their identity and age.

A court affidavit states that Brodsky has retained the services of retired provincial medical examiner Dr. Peter Markesteyn. Brodsky also wants the autopsies to be video-recorded.

Manitoba's chief medical examiner, Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra, told Markesteyn he would deny him access to the autopsies without a court order, according to the affidavit.

"What I want is a pathologist that's competent to be present, with hands in pocket and Velcro on his mouth — there to observe," Brodsky told the court at the hearing, which began at 10 a.m. CT Wednesday.

The Crown said it's seeking an adjournment in the hearing, while a lawyer for the Winnipeg Police Service said more time was needed to review Brodsky's motion.

The office of the medical examiner told the court that the autopsies are already 90 per cent complete.

Giesbrecht is present at the court hearing, wearing a grey sweatshirt. When the judge addressed her in court, she smiled and quietly said, "Good morning."

While the hearing got underway, there was a heavy police presence outside Giesbrecht's home on Blechner Drive on Wednesday morning.

Officers with the Winnipeg Police Service's identification unit are at the scene, and a section of Blechner Drive is blocked off from Pipeline Road to Manren Crescent.

It's not known at this time what investigators are looking for at the house.

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