Mother wanted baby death charges dropped

COURT APPEARANCE: Bililigne Gebretsadik has pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing the death of his wife's unborn baby.
COURT APPEARANCE: Bililigne Gebretsadik has pleaded not guilty to careless driving causing the death of his wife's unborn baby.

The wife of a man who has been charged with killing their child in a car crash asked police not to lay charges.

Seble Cherie, who was 31 weeks pregnant with the child, was in the passenger side of the car her husband Bililigne Gebretsadik was driving when it crashed at an intersection in Newtown, Wellington, last June.

She was injured and lost the baby after an emergency caesarean section in Wellington hospital. The baby was their second child and they had tried for some time to conceive.

Gebretsadik has been charged with careless use of a car causing death and two charges of careless driving.

Ms Cherie publicly released part of her victim impact statement, which is normally written for the court, because of her support of her husband.

''The police asked me if I wanted to lay charges for the injury to me and to our baby, I said no. But they did it very soon after. I feel that discrimination has played a part in the decision to charge Bililigne,'' she said.

Gebretsadik is a taxi driver and Ms Cherie said he was very lawful and a cautious and careful driver.

She also told police she remembered the accident and saw the other car hit them. She thought it was a terrible accident and no one intended to hurt anyone. She said she saw a green light despite the other driver now saying Gebretsadik was responsible.

The investigation took six months and it was hard to grieve for their baby. She said she felt hurt by the police. 

''I want everyone to know the truth.  I support Bililigne 100 percent and he did not run a red light. We are christians. If he was wrong I would not defend him but tell the truth an apologise immediately for what happened,'' she said.

Ms Cherie said she did not want to leave their home or go to church because of people asking questions about them and in front of their daughter. They have since stopped going to church.

The couple came to New Zealand from Ethiopia as refugees and she had felt it was ''a safe and good place for our family. It is hard here for us, but it is a good future for our daughter.''

Gebretsadik's lawyer John Miller said earlier in the week that his client faces a series of hearings about a complex legal situation about whether he was careless, if the crash caused the death of the baby, and if the foetus was a person under the Land Transport Act.

He had pleaded not guilty and is due back in court next month.

The Dominion Post