01 May 2019 Sentencing Hearing Reignites Calls for Pre-Born Victims of Crime Law
Pickering, ON – For immediate release
Tomorrow, Nicholas Baig will be sentenced for the murder of his wife, Arianna Goberdhan. Arianna was stabbed to death by Baig in April 2017, when she was 9 months pregnant with their daughter, Asaara.
“There were two clear murder victims here, yet Baig only faces charges for one,” said Tabitha Ewert, legal counsel for We Need a Law. “This is a gap in the law that has very real consequences for families like the Goberdhans, who buried both a daughter and a granddaughter on the same day. They know that justice will never be served as long as Asaara is not recognized as a victim by the law.”
We Need a Law also advocated for a pre-born victims of crime law in response to the murder of Cassandra Kaake in 2014. Cassie was 7 months pregnant with her daughter Molly when she was brutally murdered. MP Cathay Wagantall presented a pre-born victims of crime bill in Parliament, but it was ultimately defeated out of fear of the abortion debate.
Women are most likely to face violence at the hands of an intimate partner, and that likelihood actually increases during pregnancy. “Our law has an important role to play here,” stressed Ewert. “We need to honor women who choose life. Part of that includes recognizing their pre-born child as a victim when a criminal offence occurs against the mother.”
Arianna Goberdhan was buried with her daughter Asaara in her arms, a perfectly formed baby who died along with her mother, waiting for emergency services to arrive. There can be no clearer picture of two victims, yet only one is recognized by Canadian criminal law.
The Conservative party has stated they would do something to rectify this legal gap, and we will certainly be watching and calling for that should they be elected this fall. Meanwhile, Sherry Goberdhan, Arianna’s mother and Asaara’s grandmother, has initiated a petition, sponsored by MP Cathay Wagantall, calling on Parliament to pass legislation that would make Asaara’s murder a separate offence under law.
We Need a Law advocates for legal recognition and protections for pre-born children. “A pre-born victims of crime law wouldn’t necessarily protect pre-born children, or even impact abortion in any way,” Ewert clarified. “What it would do is recognize and honor a woman’s choice to carry her child, and make a statement that we as a society believe she deserves to do that in safety. Arianna and Asaara were both victims of a terrible crime, and our justice system currently does not address this adequately.
For further comment or images to accompany story, please contact Tabitha Ewert (EST) at (604) 220-1258 // [email protected]