Australian Associated Press AAP, By Warwick Stanley, December 05, 2008
A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.
Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year.
Topham, a small, frail woman who suffered multiple injuries and was permanently impaired in the fall, supported herself on crutches and trembled in the dock on Friday as the court heard she had twice tried to take the lives of herself and her son.
She wiped away tears as the court was told she had written poems and a suicide note while suffering from severe depression and what she believed was the loss of her "bond" with her son.
Topham, who has been in custody since James' death, was sentenced to a term "equal to the time spent in custody".
She walked from the court with the help of relatives soon after being freed by Justice John McKechnie.
Justice McKechnie told the court there was no punishment he could impose in such a "sad case, whichever way it's looked at".
"As has been said by wiser judges than me, where justice ends mercy begins," he said.
He said the taking of life could not be condoned, particularly in a case where someone so young had been taken away.
Justice McKechnie said the boy's paternal grandmother had been aware of her daughter-in-law's fragile state and said in a letter: "I cannot understand why he was left in her care."
She did not understand Topham's mental illness but said "taking James has ruined so many lives".
"You have taken away a grandson and caused immense grief," Justice McKechnie told Topham.
"Human frailty overcame all your normal inhibitions."
The court was told Topham was a former teacher whose marriage was deteriorating when she first tried to take her life in 2006.
She failed in an attempt to gas herself and James by diverting a hose from the tailpipe of her car.
Justice McKechnie said Topham had been "very determined" to take her own life and that the falling out with her husband may have played a part in her suicide bids.
The fact she had gone to the place where they had lived together to jump from the balcony indicated "an element of vengeance", he said.
Director of Public Prosecutions David Dempster did not oppose the defence's request for a suspended sentence.
Mr Dempster said Topham should be freed provided she continued to receive psychiatric treatment.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, USA, August 26, 2008
HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.
The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.
She tried to kill herself afterward.
The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.
Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.
A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.
You be the judge. Read More ..
Feminist organizations including the National Organization of Women (NOW) has objected to legislation that requires the courts to vacate paternity judgments against men who arent, in fact, the father.
Think about that. NOW wants some man, any man, to make child support payments. The woman who doesnt even know who the father is, should not be held responsible for her actions, is a sweet, loving, blameless mother who seeks only to care for her child and if naming some schmuck as father who never saw her before in his life helps her provide for the innocent babe, well then, that's fine.
Innocence is no excuse. Pay up. Read More ..
Michael Lautar was devastated when he learned his first wife was cheating on him, and then crushed to discover the then 5-year-old girl who called him "Daddy" wasn't really his daughter.
Next came the sucker punch.
Lautar is under court order to pay nearly $800 a month in child support and other expenses, despite the fact his ex-wife has admitted in Allegheny County court papers that Lautar is not the girl's father. The child was born during their marriage. After the couple divorced, the mother married the girl's biological father. The mother, the father and the daughter live together in Moon, according to papers filed in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.
"I'm stuck in this rip-off, this fraud," said Lautar, 40, of North Strabane. "It's paternity fraud, is what it is. ... And the state is enforcing this fraud." Read More ..
ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.
Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.
Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.
It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.
At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences. Read More ..
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