Loading articles...

Man who pleaded guilty in killing of unborn child wants to withdraw plea

Sofiane Ghazi, 37, is seen in this undated police handout photo.THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Montreal Police *MANDATORY CREDIT*

MONTREAL — A Montreal man who pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his unborn child told a court today he wants to withdraw his plea.

Sofiane Ghazi announced today he had fired the lawyers who represented him throughout the case, alleging they hadn’t properly informed him of his rights.

For their part, the defence attorneys said they would have asked to withdraw from the case themselves had Ghazi not dismissed them.

The move caught both the Crown and Quebec Superior Court Justice Jean-Francois Buffoni off guard, prompting a postponement until Oct. 8 to allow Ghazi to discuss the matter with a new attorney.

Ghazi suddenly pleaded guilty on Sept. 5 — the second day of his trial on first-degree murder and attempted murder charges — to reduced charges of second-degree murder of the infant boy and aggravated assault against his wife.

In an agreed statement of facts, Ghazi admitted to stabbing his wife 19 times with a carving fork — 12 times on the left side of her stomach and seven times in the upper left thigh.

Of those, nine wounds were inflicted on the baby in the womb and observed on the newborn after his birth.

The mother survived the July 24, 2017 attack after being rushed to hospital, and the child, who in court was referred to only as Baby Ghazi, was delivered by emergency C-section.

After the birth, the baby had a heartbeat for several minutes before succumbing to his injuries.

The Canadian Press