The only glimpse yesterday of the young couple accused of causing the injuries that led to their baby’s death was when they were escorted from Halifax provincial court into two separate vans waiting to take them back to a Dartmouth jail.
Ashiqur Rahman and Jane Gomes, both 23 years old and charged with aggravated assault, were expected in a Spring Garden Road courtroom yesterday morning but were instead kept in holding cells while public defenders briefly appeared on their behalf.
The two lawyers asked Judge Marc Chisholm for the bail hearing to be adjourned until Aug. 12, stating they need more time to review evidence, especially since details of what allegedly happened inside the couple’s Gottingen Street residence last week are still unfolding. Public prosecution agreed.
In fact, Halifax Regional Police said earlier this week the charges against Rahman and Gomes could be upgraded to something more serious, since they were laid Saturday — a day after they were arrested and two days before their seven-week-old daughter died at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax.
“Until the investigation is concluded it’s premature to comment on what other charges could be laid,” Crown attorney Denise Smith said outside the courtroom.
Currently, the aggravated assault charges refer to “endangering the life of the infant,” Smith said, adding autopsy results could take months.
Nova Scotia Legal Aid lawyer John Black confirmed yesterday he’s representing Rahman, while his colleague Lyle Elkins is representing Gomes, until the two accused can retain their own defence.
Elkins declined to talk to reporters, but Black stopped to say his client is having a hard time behind bars at the Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Dartmouth. “He’s lost an infant child, he’s in jail (and) he’s out of contact with his partner, so (it’s) a very difficult time.”
Rahman and Gomes, believed to be from Bangladesh and staying in Canada on student visas, were living in a room above The Good Food Emporium restaurant when they reportedly called 911 last Thursday night to report their injured baby.
Landlord Bob Trenaman said Tuesday the couple seemed bright and had “big dreams” of starting a software business. Both had studied computer science at Wolfville’s Acadia University.