October 5, 1999
Mother did not try to kill baby: LawyerBy Daniel Girard
Toronto Star Western Canada Bureau
VANCOUVER - The mother of a baby who survived a 47-metre fall from a suspension bridge feels ``the terrible guilt'' of a parent whose child is injured, but did not try to kill the 18-month-old, her lawyer says.
Nadia Hama is nothing more than the victim of the baseless accusations of her estranged husband, Megan Ellis said.
``It must be recognized that there is no basis for Ms. Hama to continue under the terrible cloud of suspicion,'' Ellis told reporters in her office here yesterday as Hama sat silent and expressionless beside her.
Ellis said Hama, in her late 30s, shouted for help and asked that 911 be called after her daughter Kaya fell from her arm and off the Capilano Suspension Bridge on Sept. 22.
As soon as she was assured help was on the way for Kaya, who has Down's syndrome, Hama called the child's father, Kjeld Werbes, to report the accident, Ellis said. But her estranged husband, with whom she has been fighting a bitter divorce battle for 21 months, quickly hung up the phone and called police to accuse Hama of throwing the baby off the bridge, she added.
Hama has been convicted in the media even though the RCMP investigation ``turned up no foundation to support the dreadful allegation'' levelled by Werbes, Ellis said.
Baby Kaya's plunge and survival has prompted a string of stories on the relationship between her parents. For Hama, this was her fifth marriage. For Werbes, his second.
``She has lived under a cloud of suspicion, much of it based on bits and pieces of information about her history, some true, some complete fiction.''
Ellis refused to elaborate on that statement.
Police questioned Hama without a lawyer present and her house was searched, Ellis said. Her husband went to the police station to sit in on the interrogation, she said.
``She turned to the child's father at the time of crisis. That was evidently a mistake.''
Werbes, a Vancouver securities lawyer in his 50s, did not return phone calls yesterday.
North Vancouver RCMP said yesterday their investigation was continuing. Material used by police to obtain a search warrant of Hama's home said there are ``reasonable grounds'' to believe the mother tried to kill her child. But no charges have been laid.
Contents copyright © 1996-1999, The Toronto Star.