A man and a woman have indicated to a court today (January 5) that they will plead not guilty to charges of illegal abortion and disposal of a baby’s body.
Lawyer Paul Gilmartin, representing Elliot Benham, 23, of Wingfield, Kingsdown, Swindon and Sophie Harvey, 23, of St Mary’s Road, Cirencester, Glos, told Cheltenham Magistrates that there was a ‘factual dispute’ over what happened and therefore his clients were indicating not guilty pleas to the charges against them.
Benham and Harvey are jointly charged with procuring a ‘poison’ to cause a miscarriage, concealment of the birth of a child and committing an act with intent to pervert the course of public justice by disposing of the body of a baby.
Harvey also indicated a not guilty plea to a further charge against her of procuring her own miscarriage by poison/use of instrument.
Prosecutor Sue Gethin pointed out that the three joint charges could only be heard at the Crown court and that the single charge that Harvey faces should also be sent to the crown court because it was linked.
The offences are alleged to have taken place between September 1, 2018 and December 1, 2018.
The alleged offences came to light during searches conducted by police at locations in Swindon and Cirencester in 2020.
READ MORE: Man and woman charged with illegal abortion offences in Cirencester
READ MORE: Baby death charges: Everything we know about police probe so far
District Judge Nicholas Wattam said to the defendants: “These are very serious charges which can only be heard at crown court.
“The next hearing with be at Gloucester Crown Court on February 3.”
The judge pointed out to the defendants that this would be a case management hearing and not the trial date.
The judge released Benham and Harvey on bail with a condition that they do not have any unsupervised contact with children under the age of five.
In England, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks’ gestation if carried out by a registered medical practitioner, and can be carried out after 24 weeks in very limited circumstances.
The Offences Against the Person Act 1861 states it is a criminal offence to try to cause your own abortion.
It is alleged against Benham and Harvey that her pregnancy was past 24 weeks and that the alleged abortion was not carried out by a registered medical practitioner as required.
Back to: The Traffic SEO – Website SEO – News and BLOG – Gloucestershire News