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March 7, 2001

Mother frantic after baby's fall, witness says

Mark Hume
National Post

VANCOUVER - Nadia Hama complained about being put on a speakerphone when she called her former husband to tell him their baby daughter had just fallen off the Capilano Suspension Bridge, a witness said in a divorce settlement trial yesterday.

Jevin Werbes said that he was with his father, Kjeld Werbes, in 1999 when an office colleague ran in to tell the 55-year-old securities lawyer his estranged wife was on the phone in an apparent panic.

Mr. Werbes took the call on his speakerphone, and heard Mrs. Hama say: "Kjeld, Kaya had an accident ... She fell."

Jevin Werbes said Mrs. Hama, who was to hand over her two children for a custody visit that day, sounded frantic and had to be asked repeatedly where she was. She said she was calling from the Capilano bridge, a tourist attraction that spans a canyon 47 metres above the Capilano River in North Vancouver.

"Did Kaya fall off the bridge, Nadia?" asked his father. "Have you called 911?"

Jevin Werbes said Mrs. Hama said someone had gone to call, but did not indicate she'd called herself -- and then she complained.

"She told him -- 'Get me off the speakerphone,' " he testified.

Earlier in the divorce trial, Mrs. Hama had testified that her former husband hung up on her when she called to tell him about the accident.

But Jevin Werbes said she was cut off as everyone scrambled to make phone calls. He called the family lawyer, while his father called the police.

Then they rushed to the bridge.

"It was pretty erratic," he said, describing their wild, crosstown drive. "I was pretty panicky."

When they arrived, he said, they were met by police and saw Kaya, who was then 18 months old, taken away on a stretcher.

The girl, who has Down's syndrome is now at the centre of a messy divorce case in which both parents are trying to get custody of her and her brother, Jovan.

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