MONTREAL - A Montreal man charged with fatally stabbing his unborn baby pleaded guilty today to modified charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault.
The surprise pleas from Sofiane Ghazi, 39, came on the second day of his jury trial.
He had initially been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the stabbing of his ex-wife, who was 36 weeks pregnant.
The jury had heard that the mother was rushed to hospital and the child was delivered by emergency C-section following the July 24, 2017 attack.
After the birth, the baby had a heartbeat for several minutes before succumbing to the injuries.
Justice Jean-Francois Buffoni announced to the jury that the Crown had modified the charges against Ghazi and he had pleaded guilty to the two counts.
Ghazi's ex-wife, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was in the courtroom to watch the developments.
In an agreed statement of facts, the court heard Ghazi stabbed his wife 19 times — 12 times on the left side of her stomach and seven times in the upper left thigh.
Of those, nine wounds were inflicted on the baby in the womb and observed on the newborn after his birth.
The boy's cause of death was attributed to trauma caused by a sharp object in utero.
The parties will return to court on Sept. 17 for sentencing arguments.