National Post

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Tuesday, October 05, 1999

Charge that mother threw child is baseless: lawyer
National Post

Peter Battistoni, The Vancouver Sun
'A LOVING PARENT WHOSE CHILD SUFFERED A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT': Nadia Hama leaves the office of her lawyer, Megan Ellis, yesterday. Ellis said accusations by Hama's former husband that she intentionally threw their daughter off a bridge have aggravated Hama's "trauma."

Megan Ellis told reporters Ms. Hama had suffered "terrible guilt" since she dropped the baby 47 metres from a suspension bridge spanning the Capilano River canyon in North Vancouver, B.C. The 18-month-old child survived.

"The trauma has been compounded by the astonishing accusation by her ex-husband that she threw the child from the bridge."

"The baseless accusation brought by her ex-husband and its repercussions have multiplied the upset and distress this accident has caused Ms. Hama and her two children."

Immediately after the baby fell, Ms. Hama "shouted for assistance and asked that 911 be called," she said. "When she was assured that this had been done and an ambulance was on its way, she called the child's father. He hung up on her and called the police to make his accusation."

While the lawyer's statement detailed the events surrounding the incident, it provided no explanation of how Ms. Hama actually dropped her baby or why she was carrying her so dangerously high on her shoulder as she crossed the bridge, a popular tourist attraction.

The RCMP began investigating Ms. Hama within hours of the incident. Police alleged in a search warrant application last week that she had deliberately tossed the girl off the bridge.

Police said she did not want the baby because she has Down's syndrome and was difficult to care for, and that Ms. Hama had recently tried to have the baby adopted. Police also said that immediately after the accident, she called her ex-husband and told him she had thrown the baby off the bridge.

Ms. Hama's lawyer summoned reporters to a news conference yesterday and read from a three-page statement that told the mother's version of events for the first time. Ms. Hama did not speak.

The lawyer confirmed Ms. Hama had considered giving up Kaya for adoption, but emphasized she did so on the recommendation of a hospital social worker and decided in the end not to go through with it.

Ms. Hama and Kjeld Werbes, her fifth ex-husband, had been involved in a "difficult legal dispute" since their separation 21 months ago and the police investigation was launched as a result of his accusation, Ms. Ellis said.

The police probe has stretched almost two weeks and has included interviews with witnesses, an interrogation of Ms. Hama and a search of her home, but police have found no evidence to justify a charge, Ms. Ellis said.

There "is no basis for Ms. Hama to continue under the terrible cloud of suspicion. She is a loving parent whose child suffered a terrible accident. She turned to the child's father at the time of crisis. That was evidently a mistake."

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