'She deserves forgiveness': No jail for young Calgary mother who put baby's body in dumpster

·3 min read
Police released this sketch of Nina Albright's baby in April 2018. It would be 20 months before Albright was arrested in connection with her infant daughter's death. (Calgary Police Service, CBC - image credit)
Police released this sketch of Nina Albright's baby in April 2018. It would be 20 months before Albright was arrested in connection with her infant daughter's death. (Calgary Police Service, CBC - image credit)

The young mother whose baby was discovered in a Calgary dumpster on Christmas Eve was described in court as a "severely broken" woman who deserves a second chance.

"If you lock her up you might as well throw away the key because she'll never recover," said defence lawyer Gavin Wolch in his sentencing submissions Friday.

Last November, Nina Albright, 24, pleaded guilty to indignity to a body.

Albright was 19-years-old when she gave birth at her parents' home in the southeast community of Sundance on Dec. 24, 2017.

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

Prosecutor Vicki Faulkner has asked provincial court Judge John Bascom to impose a three to six month jail sentence.

Wolch argued for an absolute discharge for his client, meaning she would not have a criminal conviction on her record.

'Jail is not appropriate'

Today the judge signaled he will not be sending Albright to jail.

"I'm not considering putting Ms. Albright in jail," said provincial court Judge John Bascom. "I have concluded that actual jail is not appropriate."

Bascom said he needs time to consider alternatives to time behind bars and reserved his decision to next month.

Albright told police that a minute or two after she gave birth on Dec. 24, the baby stopped breathing.

She said she tried to clear the baby's airway but admitted she did not call for help.

Albright placed the infant's body in a bag along with towels. Her boyfriend at the time – not the child's father – had been waiting outside to take her to his house for the night.

En route, Albright had the man stop at the community recycling drop-off in Bowness where she placed the infant in the dumpster.

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

It took investigators two years to track Albright down and make the arrest.

'She deserves forgiveness'

Wolch painted Albright as a young woman whose life has been defined by struggle.

Albright is Indigenous and was adopted. Her birth mother struggled with alcoholism and Albright was born with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). She has also been diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety.

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

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

"I'm asking you to tell Nina Albright that she deserves forgiveness and that she should be shown that justice knows mercy."

'Thrown in the garbage'

On the other side of the sentencing hearing were the victims.

The infant, the father who never got to know his daughter, the man who discovered the baby's body and the police officer who was first on-scene.

Three victim impact statements were read out in court.

Const. Sandra Kraushaar described being called to the Bowness area on a "wickedly cold winter night."

She spotted an older man frantically waving her over as she got closer she noted he was shaking and had tears in his eyes.

"There she was, a real infant, thrown in the garbage bin like a piece of trash," said Kraushaar.

Father learned of baby's birth years later

It was Christmas Eve so the officer and her partner named the baby girl Eve.

"She should have had so much more," said the officer.

Kraushaar says she now struggles with anxiety and can't attend certain calls.

The baby's father, Alfred Sonido, never knew about the existence of his child until Albright's arrest. He said he was "devastated" to learn what happened to his baby.

Sonido said he's suffered with depression, anxiety and grief.

"I feel broken," wrote Sonido.