Saturday, July 31

The family says the bill is not good enough


A mother whose daughter and unborn grandson died in a car accident has called for proposed laws recognizing lost pregnancies as a result of crime to be strengthened.

Katie Gleeson, 20, was 34 weeks pregnant with her second son Xavier when the car she was traveling in crashed in Inverell, in northern New South Wales, last March.

Ms. Gleeson died before she could be airlifted to the hospital. Paramedics delivered her baby, but he too died before reaching the hospital.

Katie Gleeson pictured with her daughter Summer (left).  Summer (right) looks at a picture of her mother in a locket.
Katie Gleeson pictured with her daughter Summer (left). Summer (right) looks at a picture of her mother in a locket. (Supplied: Dianne Marlow)

The 22-year-old driver of the car in which Ms. Gleeson was a passenger was later charged with dangerous driving resulting in death, driving without a license and driving an unregistered vehicle.

The court case is still ongoing.

However, under current New South Wales law, Xavier cannot be identified as a separate victim in the accident.

“Xavier is not going to receive justice for his death and my daughter would have wanted that. She loved that baby so much,” Ms. Gleeson’s mother, Dianne Marlow, told nine.com.au.

Last November, New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Attorney General Mark Speakman released the details of a bill which aims to address the lack of legislation regarding unborn children killed as a result of crime.

Known as Zoe’s Law, it has been the subject of debate for more than a decade.

Katie Gleeson with her daughter Summer.
Katie Gleeson with her daughter Summer. (Supplied: Dianne Marlow)
Brodie Donegan, mother of the central coast led the campaign for law reform after her unborn daughter Zoe died in a car accident in 2009.

In Donegan’s case, a woman crashed her truck into her car while under the influence of drugs.

The deadline for the public presentation of the bill ended on January 29.

Under the proposed legislation, offenders who commit a crime leading to the loss of pregnancy will have an additional three years in prison added to their maximum sentence as an aggravating factor for the crime against the mother.

It will also allow the name of the fetus who died to be included in the formal charges against the offender.

However, the bill falls short of proposing that the death of a fetus be recognized as a separate criminal offense.

Ms. Marlow said that the death of any child, whether in utero or not, should be treated as an individual crime.

“If someone causes an accident that takes the life of a child, that is not an accident, that is causing the death of a child. Even if that baby is in its mother’s womb, it is still a child,” he said. .

“Katie was 32 weeks pregnant and Xavier would have survived if they (the paramedics) had found him sooner. But he drowned in his blood from that accident.

“That kid should be here. He should be running around my house with his mom.”

Mrs. Gleeson’s family has started an online petition calling for the Zoe Bill to be strengthened.

Speakman said that the loss of an unborn child due to a criminal act was “a tragedy worthy of recognition in the law.”

“The New South Wales government is grateful for the views of those who have expressed their opinion on an exposition draft of the new laws proposed to better recognize this loss,” he said.

“The government is seriously considering the submissions that have been received while finalizing the proposed legislation.”

Tragedy also prompts calls for change in Queensland

The push for unborn children to be named as separate victims of crime has also been renovated in Queensland after mother-to-be Katherine Leadbetter and her partner Matthew Field were killed in a fatal accident in Alexandra Hills, near Brisbane, on Australia Day.

Leadbetter was pregnant with the couple’s first baby, Miles, who also died.

Matthew Field and Kate Leadbetter were killed in a hit-and-run accident in Alexandra Hills on Australia Day.
Matthew Field and Kate Leadbetter were killed in a hit-and-run accident in Alexandra Hills on Australia Day. (Supplied)

A 17-year-old was charged with a number of crimes, including murder and robbery.

It would be presented as an aggravating element to the murder charge related to the death of his mother.

Ms Marlow said hearing about the Queensland case had broken her heart.

“There are so many babies who deserve justice. You have to change the law because it is not right.”

Contact reporter Emily McPherson at [email protected]


www.9news.com.au

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