|(CHRISTOPHER SMITH/QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)
Canada's top court will hear the case Thursday of whether a young woman accused of unlawfully abandoning her newborn after giving birth in a Walmart bathroom actually understood she was endangering the life of the child.
The woman, identified in court documents only as A.D.H., did not know she was pregnant when, in May 2007, she went to a Saskatchewan Walmart bathroom feeling unwell. She gave birth to a baby she claims she thought was dead, and left the store shortly afterwards, leaving the baby in the toilet where a store manager rescued it.
She was charged with child abandonment, but was acquitted in 2009 because the judge believed she hadn't meant to "abandon" the baby, a crime that requires awareness that an action was liable to endanger the life of a child.
The Supreme Court's decision could have implications in future criminal cases if the court rules that criminal liability can be based on the thoughts and feelings of the accused, rather than what a reasonable person should be aware of, as the prosecution argues.