Attempted murder charge dismissed in Canadian fetus shooting case
SMITHS FALLS, Ontario (AP) _ A judge threw out a charge of attempted murder Monday against a woman accused of firing a pellet into the head of her full-term fetus while it was in her uterus.
Judge Inger Hansen said there is no specific statute against what Brenda Drummond was accused of doing.
``It is a change of the law better left to Parliament,″ Hansen said. ``There may still be an offense, but it cannot be homicide and it cannot be attempted homicide.″
Drummond, a 28-year-old postal worker from Carleton Place, Ontario, near Ottawa, collapsed in tears after Hansen finished reading her 40-minute ruling.
She was accused of firing a pellet into her vagina in May in an effort to kill her fetus. The wounded child suffered no serious permanent damage.
A charge of criminal negligence causing bodily harm will be dealt with at a Jan. 21 hearing.
Prosecutor John Waugh wouldn’t say whether he would appeal. The prosecution has 30 days to file an appeal.
The case was seen to have far-reaching legal consequences for everything from abortion legislation to violent acts against pregnant women and enforced drug rehabilitation for mothers.
Drummond’s lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said, ``It was a courageous decision for Judge Hansen to look in the face of what is extremely unpopular and to say the law just doesn’t cover this situation.″
Since the Supreme Court struck down Canada’s abortion law in 1988, a fetus can be aborted up to full term, although most doctors won’t do the procedure past 20 weeks. Attempted suicide also is not a crime in Canada.
Drummond hid the pregnancy from her husband, family and co-workers and gave birth alone in the bathroom of her home.
Johnathan Drummond was born May 30, two days after being shot in the head. He survived brain surgery to remove the pellet and lives at home with his two sisters and father, Paul Drummond.
Brenda Drummond was released from a psychiatric hospital last week and is staying with her parents in Carleton Place.