Mom Who Dumped Newborn in Plane Bathroom Avoids Jail

A Samoan woman who secretly gave birth on an international flight and then dumped the baby in an on-flight toilet has been convicted of child abandonment.

Karolaine Maika, a 29-year-old fruit picker, had the child in the bathroom without anyone realizing.

It happened on a Pacific Blue flight from her home country to New Zealand'scapital, Auckland, in March.

Cleaners found the baby girl alive after the flight landed.

Maika pleaded guilty to a child abandonment charge in Manukau District Court after police withdrew a charge of assaulting the baby.

They said they accepted the child's injuries were caused during the birth.

Judge Heather Simpson decided not to jail Maika but ordered her to be deported to Samoa.

Her lawyer, Elaine Ward, said her client had not told anyone about her pregnancy because it was considered shameful in Samoansociety to be an unwed mother.

Judge Simpson said she took into account that Maika was unaware she was in labor before she boarded the flight.

The baby is currently in the care of New Zealand social services. Police say she is likely to be sent to Samoa, where Maika already has another child.

Click here to read more on this story from Sky News.