Woman who didn’t know she was pregnant avoids prison

24-year-old woman receives six-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

A former Richmond resident won’t be spending any time in jail for interfering with her dead baby’s body last summer.

Richmond provincial court Judge Ron Fratkin sentenced White Rock’s Carly Pullman to a six-month conditional sentence to be served in the community.

While Pullman’s lawyer, Kevin Filkow, argued for a conditional discharge that would leave his client without a criminal record, Fratkin disagreed.

“The public has to be made aware that…it’s in the public interest for there to be a consequence for not doing what’s necessary,” Fratkin said.

Fratkin quoted from a submission from Crown Counsel Gerri-Lyn Nelson who said that had Pullman been honest with police when they first interviewed her following the baby’s delivery in August of 2011, “we wouldn’t be here.”

On Aug. 15, 2011, Carly Pullman went into labour and gave birth to a baby inside the bathroom of the home she shared with her then fiance.

Pullman said the baby was dead at that point, but an autopsy on the baby proved “inconclusive,” Filkow said. She was about eight months pregnant.

Before that point, Pullman didn’t think she was pregnant, and after delivering the dead newborn, disposed of it, and then took herself to a clinic, which turned out to be closed. She then took herself to the hospital. It was there where doctors deduced she’d just given birth, and called police.

And that’s when the lies began, Filkow told the court during Friday’s sentencing, as she initially denied to investigators being pregnant and giving birth. It wasn’t until some time later, after concocting a story and leading police on a wild goose chase, that she admitted to what actually happened and led police to where the baby’s body was dumped.

Filkow told the court his client doesn’t have a history of mental illness, and before that day, hadn’t done anything wrong.

“This was not a cold-hearted case,” Filkow told the court.

Pullman was planning to get married to her then-boyfriend of five years, and had they known she was pregnant, they would have been “delighted”, Filkow said.

In the aftermath of what happened, the pair’s relationship ended, and Pullman fell into a state of depression and guilt, isolating herself socially, battling nightmares and losing contact with friends.

Pullman currently works full-time as a supervisor at a restaurant, and she now resides with her mother, brother and stepfather in White Rock.

After police recovered the child’s body, a funeral service was held, and the child’s remains were cremated, the court was told.

A psychiatric evaluation said Pullman’s chances of reoffending are “virtually nil”, Filkow said.

“Up to the point that she’s in the bathroom, she’s done nothing wrong.”

Fratkin said this case was different from other case law presented by the Crown.

“As a judge we have to…make decisions that are very difficult. And there are some questions to which there is not one right answer,” he said. “When confronted by what she knew to be true, she lied.”

Aside from the six-month conditional sentence, Pullman must report daily to a conditional sentence supervisor, and serve a 12-month term of probation.

If she does not abide by the conditions of her sentence, she faces the prospect of spending the remainder of it in custody, Nelson noted.

“She didn’t avoid jail—that gives an inaccurate perception of the sentence,” Nelson said in an e-mail. “The…conditional sentence order is a jail sentence being served in the community.”