Psiquiatra infantil y perinatal, madre y activista
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Unperceived pregnancy recogniced in trial, mother acquitted of all offences.

Imagen del juicio 8 junio 2023

On June 7th I was called to declare again as an expert in the new trial against a Costarrican mother, who gave birth in the context of an unperceived pregnancy, after the previous sentence that condamned her to 6 years of imprionement was annuled. This time the mother was ACQUITTED of all offences and responsibility . What follows is the extract from the definite sentence. We are very happy that the jury aplogice to this mother, expressing how the system failed her twice, first the medical system and second the legal system.

“the mental disorder suffered by the defendant is typical of pregnancy pathology and falls within the specialty of perinatal mental health, an area of knowledge within psychiatric medical discipline and not that of forensic discipline. It was clarified by the psychiatrist Olza Fernandez and shared in all its extremes by this Chamber. The Public Prosecutor’s Office was consistent with the analysis of the evidence provided for the prosecution and in the closing arguments requested an acquittal in favor of the defendant ACB, pointing out the medical negligence suffered by the defendant in the Hospital of San Rafael in Alajuela, where both she and her baby were denied the right to dignified assistance, highlighting that she was an uninsured user, whose condition was not an obstacle for the medical attention she urgently required. The Court also agrees with the Prosecutor’s Office, seeing as the defendant undoubtedly suffered obstetric violence in the hospital where she was treated on May 5th 2016, where she was not listened to. They acted according to protocol and as though all women were the same. Obviously, if she had not been ignored, neither her baby, family nor herself would have suffered physically and mentally the consequences of the facts. The accused, ACB, was revictimized: singled out by the media, subjected to a long and tedious criminal process of two trials without any kind of support or accompaniment by state or non-governmental organizations that call themselves defenders of gender and obstetric violence against women. In this case, they have failed to protect the fundamental right to health of people, the accused and her minor son, in vulnerable conditions. In conclusion, voluntary human action is the presupposition when applying criminal law. Therefore, this excludes all actions that are not voluntary as was proven in this specific case, where the accused acted in a state of traumatic shock, in a dissociative state in which the accused found herself functioning after labor in automatic survival mode; in conditions which prevented her from analyzing appropriately the sensory information she was receiving, without being able to explain or remember -to this date- what happened, according to the evidence that was produced in the prosecution and immediacy of the statement made by the accused. This Chamber perceives in the accused an emotional affectation as a result of this fact. She was observed permanently crying and sad during the different hearings of this debate. A fact that was acknowledged by the mother of the accused, who manifested that her daughter´s life changed after the facts. She is responsible with her son, who is currently seven years old, but the memory of what happened has her still immersed in a great sadness. The court considered proven with certainty the innocence of the accused in the act attributed to her by the prosecution and, in accordance with provisions 39 and 41 of the Political Constitution; 8.2 of the American Convention on Human Rights; 1, 24, 30, 45 and 112 of the Penal Code; 1, 6, 7, 9, 142, 265, 360, 361, 363, 364, 365 and 366 of the Penal Procedural Code, ACB IS ACQUITTED of all offences and responsibility for the crime of ATTEMPTED MANSLAUGHTER to the detriment of A.C.H.B. Cessation of any precautionary measure imposed against the defendant is ordered. Procedural costs will be assumed by the Prosecutor´s Office.



On June 7th 2023, at Costa Rica Ambassy in Madrid.

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