A Melbourne woman charged with murdering her own baby refused to appear before a magistrate’s court today and her defence counsel expressed concern for her mental health.
Police say Sofina Nikat gave them a full confession about her alleged involvement in the murder of 14-month-old Sanaya Sahib after she was arrested on Tuesday morning.
Ms Nikat would have been asked to plead at the filing session in the Melbourne Magistrate’s court but decided against appearing after consultation with doctors throughout the morning.
Defence lawyer Michael McNamara told the court Ms Nikat, 22, has been assessed as exhibiting signs of a high risk of self-harm, saying “Common sense would say it is a live issue.” He said the doctors and Ms Nikat agreed her current mental state was too precarious to cope with the stresses of a court room: “She has already been seen by a doctor and a nurse this morning and it is my client’s preference.”
Police say Sofina Nikat gave them a full confession about her alleged involvement in the murder of 14 month old Sanaya Sahib after she was arrested on Tuesday morning.
Magistrate Johanna Metcalfe allowed the filing to proceed but called on the defence to obtain a mental health report from Victoria’s judicial mental health provider Forensicare. Until that time, it would be inappropriate for the court to send Ms Nikat to a mental hospital for treatment, she said.
Ms Nikat was formally refused bail and is due to face a committal hearing on August 3.
Just five days earlier, Ms Nikat had told police she was attacked by a stranger who pushed her over and ran off with her baby as she walked in a park near her home. Her story sparked a massive hunt for the child and the alleged attacker. Early on Sunday morning Sanaya’s body was found in the creek running through the park. The police breakthrough in the investigation came after they examined CCTV footage from nearby the park. – Geir O’Rourke
Photo of Sofina Nikat and Sanaya Sahib from a Facebook account (now deleted).