POLITICS

Manitoba woman accused of hiding remains of six infants facing fraud trial

07/06/2015 04:30 EDT | Updated 07/06/2016 05:59 EDT
WINNIPEG - A woman accused of hiding the remains of six infants in a Winnipeg storage locker is going to trial on fraud charges.

Andrea Giesbrecht is accused of defrauding Manitoba's Employment and Income Assistance, a payday loan company and an unnamed individual.

She also faces six charges of concealing a body in relation to the remains found last year.

Giesbrecht has been out on bail since the spring and left court quickly after a trial was ordered for the fraud charges.

Matt Gould, her lawyer, says they tried to negotiate a settlement with the Crown that wouldn't have involved jail time, but no agreement was reached.

He says it could take a year before the fraud charges make it to trial.

"We feel, as her defence, that it's inappropriate to add jail time to this type of charge. She was willing to acknowledge that paying (the money) back was appropriate," Gould said Monday.

"By insisting on jail time, it left the defence in a position where we felt we had no option except to set these matters for trial."

Court records show Giesbrecht, 41, was a gambling addict with a low-paying job at a fast food restaurant before she was arrested last October.

Two charges of fraud over $5,000 were laid against her in 2012.

Giesbrecht was given a suspended sentence and two years of probation at a court hearing last year after pleading guilty to borrowing money from a 73-year-old neighbour and repaying her with bounced cheques.

Her defence lawyer, Alan Libman, told the court that Giesbrecht's parents were longtime gamblers. Gambling was "part of the family milieu," he said at the time.

She is expected to go on trial to face charges related to the infant remains in April.

Another lawyer representing her in that case has maintained there are no signs of foul play and no evidence the infants were born alive.