Supreme Court orders new trial for stripper charged with concealing baby's dead body
Ivana Levkovic leaves University Av. Courthouse, July 12, 2010, during her trial. (Alex Urosevic/QMI Agency file photo)
The Supreme Court ruled Friday that the Criminal Code offence of concealing the dead body of a child isn't "impermissibly vague" and ordered a new trial for a woman previously acquitted of the offence.
Ex-stripper Ivana Levkovic was charged in the spring of 2006 after the superintendent of the Mississauga, Ont., apartment building she'd recently vacated found a dead baby inside a plastic bag on the balcony. Levkovic testified she gave birth at home after an unexpected fall.
The autopsy couldn't determine the cause of death or whether the baby died before, during or after birth.
Section 243 of the Criminal Code says it's an offence to conceal a child's birth, regardless of whether the child died before, during or after birth. But the law doesn't define "child" and the trial judge declared the "before" clause too ambiguous.
Levkovic was acquitted, but the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial. Levkovic appealed to the Supreme Court.
Levkovic's lawyers argued that the Criminal Code's definition of a "child" who dies before birth is so vague that it violates a mother's Charter right to life, liberty and security of the person.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court wrote that "Section 243 meets the minimum standard of precision required by the Charter."
"Section 243 gives women — and men — fair notice that they risk prosecution and conviction if they dispose of the remains of a child born at or near full term with intent to conceal the fact that its mother had been delivered of it," the decision says.