A judge has cleared a former stripper of letting her baby die after birth and storing the body in a freezer.
Ontario Superior Court Justice Michael Dambrot ruled Monday there was insufficient evidence the infant was born alive.
It was more likely that Ivana Levkovic had a miscarriage when the fetus was very small, the judge said.
He cleared the 28-year-old former stripper and prostitute of failing to make provisions for the delivery of her baby, thereby causing its death, and of disposing of its body in a freezer to conceal its birth.
The judge preferred Levkovic’s evidence to that of her now-deceased pimp, Mark Hinds, who came into a police station in January 2005, dying of AIDS, and said he wanted to get something off his chest.
He gave police a long statement in which he claimed that some time in 2002, Levkovic, whom he described as his girlfriend, gave birth on a toilet to a baby who appeared to be briefly alive, leaving it there until it stopped moving.
After a time, she put it inside a garbage bag and Hinds stored it for about three years in the freezer compartment of a fridge in their west Toronto basement apartment, he said in his statement.
A friend of Hinds’, Juan Cerdas, testified that in January 2005, at Hinds’ request, he disposed of the garbage bag containing the body by tossing it into Black Creek.
The judge said Hinds’ statement raises questions, and that the Crown’s case was marred by the fact he could not be cross-examined.
Hinds died in 2006 of AIDS-related ailments.
“His version cries out for cross-examination, cross-examination that cannot be,” Dambrot said.
Levkovic testified she was in pain before the baby was born but Hinds refused to take her to hospital.
She said she started to bleed and so went to the bathroom and told Hinds she might be having the baby. He came in and pressed her stomach until the 15- to 20-centimetre-long baby emerged, and then pulled it out, she said.
She said she only saw the baby briefly, and it was not moving. Hinds pulled her, shocked, back to the bedroom, and she never again saw the infant, which was left in the toilet, Levkovic testified.
The judge said all the evidence is consistent with the possibility that Levkovic had a miscarriage and that the baby was born dead.
Standing outside court beside her lawyer, Michael Moon, Levkovic said she was relieved at the outcome and glad that the media spotlight would no longer be on her.
“It’s been hectic,” she said.
Levkovic was also acquitted in 2008 of a Peel police charge of concealing another birth that allegedly took place later than the one in this trial.