A trial date has been set for a couple accused of carrying out an illegal abortion.
Elliot Benham and Sophie Harvey, both aged 23, pleaded not guilty to four offences at Gloucester Crown Court this morning (Thursday).
They denied charges of procuring poison – namely mifepristone – to cause a miscarriage, concealing the birth of a child and perverting the course of justice by disposing of the baby’s body.
Harvey was also charged with procuring her own miscarriage – which she also denies. All four alleged crimes took place between September 1 and December 1 in 2018.
Judge Ian Lawrie KC, the Recorder of Gloucester, fixed a trial date at Cirencester Court for 13 November. It is expected to last around five days.
Benham and Harvey, both dressed in black, spoke only to confirm their names and enter pleas of not guilty.
The pair, who both reside at St Mary’s Road, Cirencester, were released on bail with the condition not to be unsupervised with any child under the age of five and not to obtain any travel documents.
Judge Lawrie told Benham, who is officially registered as living in Wingfield, Swindon, to surrender his passport to Gablecross Police Station immediately.
The defendants will next appear before Gloucester Crown Court for a case review on 12 May.
The case came after Glocustshire Police carried out forensic searches of their properties in Wingfield and St Mary’s Road in September 2020.
Under the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, it is a criminal offence to try to cause your own abortion. It is alleged in this case that the pregnancy was past 24 weeks and was not carried out by a registered medical practitioner.
In England, abortions are legal up to 24 weeks’ gestation if carried out by a registered medical practitioner, and can be carried out after 24 weeks in very limited circumstances.
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