Couple's defence gets more time to prepare in Halifax infant death case

HALIFAX, N.S. - Defence lawyers were granted a two-week adjournment Wednesday in the case involving a young couple charged by Halifax police with aggravated assault in the death of their seven-week-old baby girl.

HALIFAX, N.S. - Defence lawyers were granted a two-week adjournment Wednesday in the case involving a young couple charged by Halifax police with aggravated assault in the death of their seven-week-old baby girl.

Ashiqur Rahman and Jane Gomes, both 23, were brought to provincial court, but didn't appear before a judge who remanded them until their next court appearance.

Their legal aid lawyers appeared briefly on their behalf and asked for more time to review the disclosure of information in the case.

They were given until Aug. 12 when the pair are to return to court for a bail hearing.

Outside court, Crown attorney Denise Smith said prosecutors were continuing to review the case with police to consider any possible changes to the charges, but said it could take some time because autopsy results typically take months.

"We are consulting with the police and continue to do so as is appropriate," she said. "Until the investigation is concluded it's premature to comment on what other charges could be laid."

The infant died Monday night after being admitted to a Halifax hospital last Thursday with life-threatening injuries.

Aggravated assault is the most serious of assault offences under the Criminal Code and a conviction carries a maximum sentence of 14-years in prison.

John Black, Rahman's lawyer, said it wasn't unusual for clients not to appear in court during the earliest stages of a case.

"If a person is coming up for a trial, of course they go to court ... for a very quick adjournment for a remand, very often, at least for my clients, they don't," said Black.

Media reports say the couple are believed to be in Canada on student visas from Bangladesh. They had studied at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S.

Black said Rahman was holding up as well as could be expected given that "he's lost a child, is in jail and out of contact with his partner, who is also in jail."

Gomes's lawyer, Lyle Elkins, refused to comment on the case.

 
 
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