In Canada, the debate on the legal status of the foetus is refuelled

Publié le 22 Mar, 2018

Premeditated murder? In July 2017, Sofiane Ghazi plunged a knife several times into the abdomen of his partner who was 8 months pregnant. The mother survived her wounds but the baby died.


Sofiane Ghazi is therefore accused of the first degree murder of his baby. But “in order for a guilty verdict to be reached, it will have to be proved that the baby had left the mother’s body and that the wounds caused the baby’s death after it had become a human being”, explained criminal lawyer, Walid Hijazi. In fact, according to Canadian law, “a child becomes a human being in the eyes of the law when it has left the mother’s body and is born alive” regardless “of whether or not the child has breathed,” “whether or not the child has an independent circulation” and “whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut”. In Canada, a person can only be found guilty of murdering a “human being” in the legal sense.


The jury therefore has to establish whether or not the baby was already a human being at the time of its murder. The Canadian Criminal Code states that a baby who is born alive can be abused before birth. But if the infant is still-born, it does not have the legal status of a human being and the father is not a murderer.


For further reading: Involuntary homicide against a foetus refuels the debate

Le Devoir, Améli Pineda (09/03/2018)

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