'Crime of sadness': Sentencing hearing for woman who left body of newborn in dumpster

·3 min read

CALGARY — An Alberta judge says he will not consider jail time for the mother of a baby found dead in a Calgary dumpster on Christmas Eve in 2017, despite the Crown's request that she serve up to six months.

Nina Albright, who is now 24, entered a guilty plea in November to offering an indignity to a body.

Court has heard that Albright gave birth in her parents' home but told police the infant stopped breathing after a couple of minutes.

She said she tried to clear the baby's airway but didn't call for help.

Albright has said she packaged the child up in plastic and cloth bags before getting her boyfriend to drive her to an area where she left the body.

Three medical examiners determined the baby girl was born alive, but couldn't say when she died.

Police officers who recovered the body named her Eve.

Crown attorney Vicki Faulkner told a sentencing hearing Friday that Albright needs to pay for her crime and serve a sentence of between three and six months. But Judge John Bascom told the court that wasn't on the table.

"I'm not considering putting Ms. Albright in jail. This still means that because of the position the Crown has taken, I have to consider a conditional sentence order as well," Bascom said.

"I have concluded that actual jail is not appropriate."

He set a sentencing date for Oct. 31.

Faulkner told the court that Albright committed a "planned and deliberate" crime and didn't seek help, even though her adoptive parents were in the home when she gave birth.

"Ms. Albright made no effort to determine if the baby was in fact deceased before discarding her in the garbage when it was well below zero," Faulkner said.

Gavin Wolch, Albright's lawyer, told the court his Indigenous client was adopted by parents who were professors at Mount Royal University. He said she suffers from fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and is in poor mental health.

He said an absolute discharge is what the court should impose.

"Nina Albright is being sentenced for a terrible decision she made five years ago that has been tormenting her ever since," Wolch said.

"It's not a crime of violence, it's a crime of sadness. She has to live with her actions. She doesn't get an option for closure."

Court heard a victim impact statement from the baby's father, Alfred Sonido, who said he was unaware Albright was pregnant.

"I have lost a daughter that I never knew. It brought upon many emotions, all of which I endure and grapple with every day," Sonido said.

"I feel broken. My tears and grief consumes me until I spiral down further into feeling lost, unable to cope, wishing every day that things had turned out differently."

Albright also addressed the court.

"When I held my baby girl, I loved her more than I have loved anything. The pain of bringing someone into the world and not being able to support her is overwhelming," she said choking back tears.

"I hope someday I will have the chance to grieve and move forward with my life. This has changed me forever and I am truly sorry for everything."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 9, 2022.

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press