Kosher baker who tried to give wife abortion loses his appeal

By Dana Gloger, July 11, 2008
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A kosher-bakery owner who secretly gave his pregnant wife abortion pills lost his appeal against a jail sentence this week.

Gil Magira, 36, from Hendon, North-West London, was jailed for three years and nine months for secretly poisoning his wife’s breakfast after she refused to terminate her pregnancy.

The owner of the Bonjour bakeries in Hendon and Stanmore and the Lemonade restaurant in Hendon pleaded  guilty in March to administering a noxious substance with intent to procure a miscarriage.

But at the Royal Courts of Justice, his barristers Jonathan Goldberg QC and Gary Grant argued that the sentence  was “manifestly excessive”.

Mr Goldberg told Mr Justice Goldring and Judge John Saunders QC that Magira suffered from obsessive-compulsive disorder, often manifested through “bizarre fantasies”.

One example of this was a fear of becoming a father. “He wrongly imagined he might become a paedophile if he had a child,” Mr Goldberg said.

But psychiatric reports had found that he displayed no paedophilic tendencies. “His medical illness is genuine. He is a tortured soul.”

Mr Goldberg said that Magira and his wife, Anat Abraham, who now lives in Israel, had married only on condition that they would not have children. “So she was the one who breached the bargain,” he said.

When he found out she was pregnant in November 2006, Magira begged her to have an abortion, but she refused. He bought abortion-inducing drugs via the internet, which he then crushed into her breakfast cereal.

Shortly afterwards, she began to experience stomach pains.

Magira went with her to hospital where a doctor confirmed that she was not miscarrying, but the next morning he put the remains of the drugs into her breakfast bowl. He said he feared that if he did not follow the instructions and use all of the pills, the foetus might become deformed.

Three days later, he confessed to a psychologist, who encouraged him to tell his wife what he had done.

Ms Abraham gave birth prematurely, to a healthy baby boy she named Matan, in May last year.

Mr Goldberg claimed that Ms Abraham had exaggerated the effect the events had had on her.

“Her victim-impact statement should have been taken with a large grain of salt, but the Recorder, in sentencing, accepted everything she said.”

He added that she had not reported Magira’s actions immediately.

“She stayed her hand for four-and-a half months. My client says that during this time she was bargaining to have an abortion in Israel if he signed over his three businesses to her. He refused and she reported him to the police,” Mr Goldberg said.

But the judges dismissed the appeal. Mr Justice Goldring said: “It is inconceivable that [Magira] could not have known the risk to the foetus, but also to the mother.”

    Last updated: 9:35am, July 10 2008