A Halifax couple will be tried separately on charges of manslaughter relating to the death of their infant daughter last summer.

Ashiqur Rahman is facing one count of manslaughter after the death of his seven-week-old child, Aurora Breakthrough, in July 2009. Jane Gomes faces two counts of manslaughter — one for criminal negligence in the death and a second for failing to provide the necessities of life.

Up until this week, the couple was to be tried together on charges of aggravated assault.

Crown attorney Denise Smith is now requesting those old charges be withdrawn.

“New charges of manslaughter were laid following ... (the) medical examiner’s report as to the cause of death of the child,” Smith told reporters outside Halifax provincial court yesterday after Rahman and Gomes made a brief court appearance.

The daughter of the common-law couple, who lived above the Good Food Emporium on Gottingen Street, was taken to the IWK Health Centre on July 24 with serious injuries. She died four days later.

Rahman’s defence attorney, Don Murray, said he was upset at what he considers the Crown’s attempt to “shovel ... under the rug” his cilent’s earlier not-guilty plea on the initial charges.

He said his client will “vigorously contest” the charges.

“The police have called this murder, and then they called it aggravated assault, and now they’ve chosen manslaughter,” Murray said. “He pleaded not guilty to (the aggravated-assault) charge. The Crown can’t just ignore the fact that he has pleaded not guilty.”

But Smith said the new charges were the result of the medical examiner’s report.

“We’ve been clear all along at the time that the aggravated-assault charge was laid, the child was still alive,” Smith said. “It was subsequent to that the death occurred, and we were awaiting the report on the cause of death before determining how to proceed further.”

Rahman’s preliminary hearing is set to begin on April 19. Gomes’ hearing takes place on April 23.

The accused, from Bangladesh, were in Canada on student visas.

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