Court throws out appeal by woman who gave friend abortion pill

The woman claimed that her friend’s pregnancy had never been confirmed and that medical tests revealed that that there had been no foetus

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Matthew Agius
2 October 2017, 4:59pm
An appeal filed by a woman who had admitted to helping a pregnant woman to abort her seven-week old unborn child has been dismissed, with the court ruling that the only reason the woman had filed her appeal was because she had regretted her earlier admission.

A Moroccan woman admitted to supplying a Tunisian woman, 30, with abortifacient drugs and had been sentenced to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for three years by a Magistrates’ Court in November 2014.

But she later filed an appeal, claiming that her guilty plea had been based on incorrect information given to her by the prosecution. She claimed that her friend’s pregnancy had never been confirmed and that medical tests revealed that that there had been no foetus.

The woman claimed that the prosecution had breached its duty of full disclosure and, had she been aware, she would not have pleaded guilty.

Mr. Justice Giovanni Grixti, presiding the Court of Appeal, noted that the 30-year-old woman had been admitted to hospital on November 9, 2014, complaining of “excruciating lower abdominal pain.”

Doctors had found “four hexagonal tablets” inside her private parts, which the woman said she had placed there herself. The tablets, she said, were painkillers she had bought from Tunis.

The court observed that a medical examination had established that the foetus had been alive and had a heartbeat at the time of the woman’s admission, but the heart stopped soon after and the pregnancy was aborted.

The mother had admitted, while in hospital, to have swallowed and applied the medicinals which had been supplied to her by the accused, with the aim of aborting the pregnancy.

The 30-year-old woman was later handed a two-year jail term suspended for four years after pleading guilty to having taken the pills in order to induce an abortion.

The police were informed and the Moroccan woman was arrested after police consulted with medical experts appointed by the inquiring magistrate.

She had admitted to the charges during her arraignment.

The court of appeal concluded that the woman’s appeal had only been filed because the woman had regretted her earlier admission.

She had been granted all applicable rights, noted the judge and the prosecution had followed the correct procedure. The criminal charges had been filed based on information supplied by the victim as well as medical evidence of “a live pregnancy” upon the victim's admission to hospital.

The judge dismissed the woman’s appeal, confirming the earlier judgment and the 18-month prison sentence, which was suspended for three years.

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Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...