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Charlottetown woman pleads guilty to infanticide


Shannon Dawn Rayner to be sentenced June 5 after found fit to stand trial


A P.E.I. woman has pleaded guilty to two counts of infanticide after it was determined she was fit to stand trial.

Shannon Dawn Rayner, 40, appeared before Judge John Douglas in provincial court in Charlottetown Tuesday where she entered the guilty pleas.

Rayner also pleaded guilty to a theft charge.

She was initially charged with two counts of infanticide dating back to 2014 and 2016, along with two counts of failing to seek assistance in child birth.

Rayner was also charged with two counts of disposing of a child’s body with intent to conceal the fact it had been delivered and one count of breaching an undertaking.

The Crown stayed all but the infanticide and theft charges.

Rayner’s pleas came after months of delays while the court waited for a mental health assessment that Douglas first ordered in November.

Douglas later granted an extension to give the East Coast Forensic Hospital in Nova Scotia more time to complete the assessment and its report.

Eventually he issued a new order for an assessment after further delays.

On Tuesday, defence lawyer Thane MacEachern told the court the opinion in the report was that Rayner was fit to stand trial.

MacEachern also said the report included the opinion Rayner didn’t meet the condition of being not criminally responsible.

He won’t be raising that as a defence, MacEachern said.

Crown attorney Valerie Moore said she accepted the report’s findings and she agreed a pre-sentence report should be ordered.

After hearing from both lawyers, Douglas said the court found Rayner was fit to stand trial.

He also said it was the first infanticide case he has had before him.

Douglas adjourned the matter until June 5 for sentencing.


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