Woman in Ottawa jailhouse birth to plead guilty
2 investigations underway into birth of baby boy at Ottawa jail in September
Posted: Feb 6, 2013 2:42 PM ET
Last Updated: Feb 7, 2013 1:39 PM ET
A Cornwall, Ont., woman who gave birth on the floor of an Ottawa jail cell will plead guilty to fraud charges Thursday that will see her and her baby released from custody, the woman told CBC News.
Julie Bilotta, 26, gave birth prematurely on Sept. 29, complaining at the time that her pleas for help were ignored. The incident sparked outrage across the country and was described by women's groups as just another example of the harsh conditions women endure behind bars in Canada.Julie Bilotta reunited with her son and boyfriend, the father of the baby, at the Norwood House after she got bail. (Photo submitted by Julie Bilotta)
Bilotta was in custody on fraud and drug trafficking charges and she is scheduled to go to a judicial pre-trial hearing in Cornwall on Thursday to face those charges.
But the woman told the CBC's Julie Ireton Wednesday she will plead guilty to some of the charges and she expects to be released from an Ottawa halfway house with her infant child.
Bilotta also said she expects to face six months of house arrest, plus some other conditions, and avoid a trial.
2 investigations underway into jailhouse birth
Ontario's Corrections ministry has also opened a formal disciplinary proceeding after receiving a report on Bilotta's case where she gave birth while in a segregation cell at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre.
The Ontario College of Nurses is investigating the incident, as well.
But critics have said disciplining one or more corrections employees won't fix the shortcomings in the prison system.
"The problems are systemic, they're not about bad apples," said Dawn Moore of the Mother-Child Coalition for Justice. "Calling out a couple of prison workers or nurses because of specific wrongdoing does not even come close to addressing the problem."
The coalition has repeatedly asked to meet Ontario Corrections Minister Madeleine Meilleur to discuss the plight of women in jail. Those calls have gone unanswered, said Moore.
"Her office has been obstructionist and blocked us at every turn," she said. "That, to me, speaks volumes to the fact the ministry is not interested in addressing this as a broader matter of public concern."
College of Nurses investigation holding up corrections probe
Ontario's Correctional Investigation and Security Unit sent a report on the Bilotta case to the province's deputy corrections minister this week, a provincial government source said.
But the report is being held under wraps while the College of Nurses investigation continues. Neither Bilotta nor her lawyer have been given a copy of the investigator's findings.Gionni Lee, Bilotta's infant son, was born inside a segregated cell at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. (Julie Ireton/CBC)
Shortly after the Bilotta baby was born, a nurse at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre was suspended with pay.
It's not clear whether she is the only employee facing potential discipline.
Bilotta said jail staff didn't believe she was in labour and ignored her pleas until it was too late to go to hospital. She gave birth to a boy, Gionni Lee Garlow, on the cement floor of her cell.
She was granted bail in mid-October under strict conditions, including that she live with her son at an Ottawa halfway house.
Bilotta was also ordered not to use street drugs or associate with anyone with a criminal record or who uses drugs or alcohol. She was ordered to participate in counselling programs.With files from The Canadian Press
Latest Ottawa News Headlines
- 'Fireball' erupted during blaze on Pathway Private
- Police say the extensive damage caused by a large fire in Ottawa's Redwood neighbourhood early Tuesday morning may make it difficult to find out how it started. more »
- Ottawa jazz singer Kellylee Evans struck by lightning
- Local jazz singer Kellylee Evans, scheduled to perform at the Ottawa Jazz Festival this week, is recovering at home after her house was struck by lightning two weeks ago. more »
- South Ottawa bridge delay hard to 'swallow'
- A delay in construction for the new Jockvale Bridge has hit a feathery wall, the protected barn swallows nesting at the site. more »
- Ottawa craft beer breweries fuel Ontario boom
- LCBO saw its profits rise by four per cent and it thanked new stores and "efficiencies," but the largest rise in profits came from craft beer, including several Ottawa breweries. more »
Top News Headlines
- 2 men jailed in Dominican wedding fight return to Canada
- Two Canadian men who were detained in the Dominican Republic for nearly three weeks after a post-wedding fight broke out at a resort have returned to Toronto, the latest step in a drama that the wife of one of the men said was "like a scene from the movies." more »
- MPs pass NDP motion on expenses, adjourn for summer
- One week after defeating Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's attempt to open MPs' expenses to public scrutiny, the NDP has won approval for a proposal of its own just before MPs voted unanimously to rise for the summer break. more »
- Are e-cigarettes safe to puff?
- As electronic or e-cigarettes grow in popularity, some health advocates want them to be regulated. more »
- Senators call for 'zero tolerance' on harassment in RCMP
- The RCMP should amend its code of conduct to explicitly define and prohibit harassment, a Senate committee is recommending in a newly tabled report. more »
- Mike Fisher, Carrie Underwood selling Ottawa dream home
- Ottawa craft beer breweries fuel Ontario boom
- G8 leaders agree to 7-point plan on Syria as summit wraps
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford needs security, brother says
- An inside look at jury duty during Mark Hutt's trial
- Montreal mayor resigns amid corruption charges
- The Spartan Race in 90 seconds
- Ottawa RedBlacks officially revealed as newest CFL team
- Sharlene Bosma speaks out about husband's murder