Saskatoon StarPhoenix

May 5, 2002

Girl, 14, faces murder charge in death of newborn

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

PRINCE ALBERT -- A 14-year-old girl is facing a first-degree murder charge after her baby was found dead in the bush near her Whitefish reserve home.

But the girl's lawyer is optimistic she won't have to face a trial on that charge. He declined to discuss specifics, but said he hopes for some resolution in court next Wednesday.

"I'm hopeful she won't (face a murder trial). She's just a kid," said her lawyer, Peter Abrametz Jr.

"Everybody's trying to help this child."

The girl, who cannot be named under the Young Offenders Act, was not present at Prince Albert provincial court Thursday when Abrametz Jr. spoke to the charge. The girl's appearance was waived by Crown prosecutor John Field.

She is at Ranch Ehrlo, a Regina treatment centre for troubled youth. Abrametz said the girl is "overwhelmed" by the whole situation.

The 14-year-old is accused of abandoning her newborn in the bush, resulting in the infant's death on Oct. 2.

The girl's cousin said in an interview she was "quiet and shy." She enjoyed listening to music and was attending Grade 8.

"She was like my sister," the cousin said.

Abrametz Jr. told the court he wants to set up a future court appearance at Big River. That hearing is expected to take three days.

Normally, any major hearing would be held in the community where the alleged offence occurred. However, Abrametz Jr. asked the court to make an exception in this case and allow it to be heard in Big River to avoid problems for the girl in her community.

She is the complainant in a sexual assault case scheduled to go to trial on the Whitefish reserve, south of Big River. Big River is 138 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert.

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