Case of unborn child death complex

Last updated 12:43 28/02/2013
Bililigne Gebretsadik
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
COURT APPEARANCE: Bililigne Gebretsadik has pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing the death of his wife's unborn baby.

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A man charged with careless driving causing the death of his unborn child could have several hearings to determine complex legal issues.

Bililigne Yohannes Gebretsadik, 40, originally from Ethiopia appeared before Wellington District Court judge Oke Blaikie today.

He also faces two charges of careless driving causing injury relating to a two-car collision at an intersection in Newtown last June.

He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Gebretsadik's 40-year-old wife Seble Hailu Cherie was a passenger in his car, and lost her baby after an emergency caesarean section in Wellington Hospital following the crash.

His lawyer John Miller told the judge that it was likely that more than one hearing would be needed to resolve the issue.  

One would deal with the issue of carelessness, another to determine if there was a link between the impact and the death of the baby and a third to look at the legal issue of whether a 31-week-old foetus was alive for the purposes of the Land Transport Act.

Judge Blaikie said he thought that was a good approach to a complicated situation.

He remanded the case until next month.

Mr Miller said Gebretsadik's wife was certain she did not want any court action to go ahead.

"It has been devastating for her, devastating for their family and for their young daughter,'' he told Judge Blaikie.

He said the defence would be gathering evidence about the operation and malfunction of the lights at the notoriously difficult intersection along with medical evidence about the link between the impact and the death.

Judge Blaikie said the wife had made it clear in a statement given to him that there had been extraordinary media interest with international media turning up at their home.

He said while he was not criticising that there should be a media interest, it was clear she had suffered a huge trauma.

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- The Dominion Post

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