POLITICS

Dead babies found in Winnipeg storage locker were stillborn: defence lawyer

12/19/2014 12:00 EST | Updated 02/18/2015 05:59 EST
WINNIPEG - A lawyer representing a woman accused of hiding the remains of six infants in a U-Haul storage locker says he believes the babies were stillborn.

Greg Brodsky wouldn't say why he thinks that, only that the preliminary autopsy report doesn't suggest "there was life after birth." He hasn't received a full autopsy report to confirm that.

"There was no evidence of life after birth and we say they were stillborn," Brodsky said Friday. "My information is that they were stillborn."

The remains still have to be X-rayed to determine whether any bones were broken, Brodsky said, and there is no evidence the "products of conception" were poisoned. DNA tests are still outstanding.

"There was nothing done by whoever the mother was to cause a death or prevent a live birth," Brodsky said. "I need confirmation of that."

Brodsky said preliminary autopsy results suggest the remains are "ancient" — from between eight and 10 years ago. Maggots from the Winnipeg storage locker have been sent to British Columbia to determine exactly how old the remains are, he said.

Andrea Giesbrecht, 40, is facing six charges of concealing the bodies. She also faces unrelated fraud charges and a count of breaching a court order.

Brodsky said his client was initially arrested on homicide charges, but the only ones filed relate to concealing remains. The Crown has left the door open to upgrading the charges depending on the evidence.

For now, it appears Giesbrecht will spend the holidays behind bars after her bail application was delayed again Friday. Brodsky said he can't go ahead with a bail hearing until the Crown shares a complete autopsy report.

A new bail hearing date has not been set.

Giesbrecht has been in custody since her arrest in October following the discovery of the remains by employees at the U-Haul facility. Employees called police after smelling a strong odour and seeing "squishy bags."

Police notes previously read out in court indicate the officers found bodies wrapped in garbage bags and placed in either a duffel bag, a tote bag or plastic containers. One officer managed to pry open a container and saw "limbs that belonged to an infant," court heard.

Police said at the onset it could take months of forensic examination before it's known who the parents were, how the infants died and whether they were full term. Brodsky initially argued that if the remains turned out to be less than 20 weeks gestation, they would not be considered children under the law.

Without a full autopsy report, Brodsky said there are still many unanswered questions.

"I'm getting dribbles of information."