Jane Gomes broke down in a Halifax courtroom yesterday, sobbing as lawyers discussed the sentence for her role in the death of her infant daughter.
Gomes was sentenced to six months of probation, and must comply with any counselling recommended by her probation officer. The conditional sentence was the result of a joint recommendation from her defence lawyer, Peter Mancini, and Crown prosecutor Denise Smith.
Gomes, a 23-year-old originally from Bangladesh, pleaded guilty last month to the lesser charge of failing to provide the necessities of life for her seven-week-old daughter Aurora Breakthrough. Aurora died in hospital July 27, 2009.
Gomes was originally charged with two counts of manslaughter. She spent nine months in custody prior to her release April 26. Each month of detention prior to sentencing counts as two, meaning Gomes is credited with spending a year and a half in jail.
Smith said Gomes’ time in custody played a factor in her sentencing.
“(The joint recommendation takes) into account the nine months of pre-trial detention that she spent,” Smith told reporters.
Because Gomes’ former partner, Ashiqur Rahman, is also charged with manslaughter in relation to their child’s death, a temporary publication ban has been placed on the details of the case. The ban will be lifted after the completion of Rahman’s trial, the dates of which will be set June 2.
Gomes is expected to testify against Rahman at trial under the terms of her agreement with the Crown.
Mancini said outside court he hopes the public will reserve judgment on his client until all the details of this incident are made available.
“This kind of a sentence falls within the appropriate range for this kind of offence,” said Mancini, who works with Nova Scotia Legal Aid.
“So, to people who are outraged, I would say they should become informed. They will know more when the final facts come out, and they should reserve judgment until then.”
Judge agrees to sentence
• Judge Jamie Campbell accepted the joint sentence yesterday. “Making an example of Jane Gomes or exacting retribution from her would, in my view, compound one dark human tragedy with another,” Campbell told the court.