Jail not appropriate for young Calgary mother who put baby's body in dumpster, says judge

Candles, stuffed animals and other tokens were left in memory of a baby girl found dead in Bowness on Dec. 24, 2017. (Dennis Genereux/CBC - image credit)
Candles, stuffed animals and other tokens were left in memory of a baby girl found dead in Bowness on Dec. 24, 2017. (Dennis Genereux/CBC - image credit)

A young Calgary woman whose dead baby was discovered in a dumpster on Christmas Eve 2017 has been given a suspended sentence, meaning if she abides by a number of conditions for 18 months, she will not go to jail.

Nina Albright, now 24, pleaded guilty last November to indignity to a body. She was 19 years old when she gave birth at her parents' home in the southeast community of Sundance on Dec. 24, 2017.

"Incarceration would not be appropriate," said provincial court Judge John Bascom on Monday.

"Ms. Albright is a person of good character without previous convictions and does not require personal deterrence."

Prosecutor Vicki Faulkner had asked Bascom to impose a three- to six-month jail sentence, while defence lawyer Gavin Wolch argued for an absolute discharge for his client, meaning she would not have a criminal conviction on her record.

"This case understandably evokes strong emotions in many people — no one experiences these more than Nina and her family and they always will," said Wolch after court.

"There are no winners today, only an ongoing effort to heal and move forward after a lengthy and raw process."

FASD, PTSD diagnoses

Bascom had previously heard Albright's life has been defined by struggle.

Now 24-years-old, Albright is Indigenous. Adopted, she was born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).

She has also been diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety and borderline intellectual functioning.

Albright is on assisted income for the severely handicapped (AISH) and will need lifelong supports like guardianship, a public trustee and social services.

Wolch's sentencing submissions painted "a picture of a young woman with significant mental impairment which must be considered in assessing her moral blameworthiness," wrote Bascom in his sentencing decision.

Baby's body placed in bag

On Christmas Eve 2017, Albright gave birth. She told police her baby stopped breathing a minute or two after she gave birth on Christmas Eve.

Three medical examiners determined the baby was born alive but they were unable to say how the infant died.

She said she placed the infant's body in a bag with towels.

Her boyfriend at the time — who was not the child's father — had been waiting outside to take her to his house for the night.

2-year investigation

On their way there, Albright had the man stop at the community recycling drop-off in Bowness.

There, she placed the infant's body in the dumpster.

Hours later, a man discovered the body and called police.

For two years, investigators worked to identify the mother of the child.

In January 2020, Albright was charged.