Woman who gave birth on plane admits abandoning baby

April 9th, 2009 - 11:19 am ICT by IANS  

Wellington, April 9 (DPA) A 29-year-old woman who gave birth on an international flight to New Zealand last month admitted Thursday to abandoning the baby girl in an aircraft toilet.
Karolina Maika was convicted and discharged after the Manukau District Court was told she was suffering from depression.

The judge heard that she had concealed her pregnancy because the child was conceived out of wedlock, which would have caused shame and embarrassment to her family and village in the Pacific island state of Samoa.

Police withdraw a charge of assault, saying they were satisfied injuries to the baby, who was found by a cleaner after the plane arrived at Auckland March 19, were suffered during birth and not inflicted subsequently, news reports said.

Maika was flying to New Zealand in a group recruited to work as seasonal fruit pickers. The airline said it did not know she was pregnant and the court heard that she was not aware before she boarded the four-hour flight from Samoa’s capital, Apia, that she was in labour.

Maika is in the custody of immigration officials awaiting deportation to Samoa and the baby is in the care of New Zealand’s child welfare department.

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