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Monday 15 September 2014

Irish woman charged with hiding birth of baby in Australia can return home

Published 13/08/2014 | 08:39

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Irish woman facing up to two years in jail for concealing death of her baby in Australia
Irish woman facing up to two years in jail for concealing death of her baby in Australia

An Irish backpacker accused of concealing the birth of her baby can return home after her bail was changed amid concerns over her welfare, it has been reported.

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The Perth Magistrate's Court was told that the 25-year-old woman's situation had significantly worsened since she was charged with the unusual offence, The West Australian reports.

The offence relates to the reporting of all births, even when a baby dies of natural causes.

The woman, a backpacker, faces up to two years in jail if convicted.

Applying for the removal of a bail condition which required the woman to surrender her passport, defence lawyer Karen Farley said the case could only be dealt with in the District Court and was a lengthy time away from being ready to proceed.

"I have had preliminary discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions as to the public interest in pursuing this matter ... it is nowhere near their office at this stage," Ms Farley told the court.

Ms Farley said her client, whose visa will expire next month, needed to be with her family to have their support.

Her mother had been in Perth to support her daughter, but her visa expired at the end of this month.

Police opposed the change in bail conditions because of concerns she would not return to face the court proceedings, the newspaper said.

Chief Magistrate Steven Heath said the maximum penalty for the offence was a two-year jail term and delays until at least next year were likely.

Mr Heath said without trivialising the matter, nothing more serious was alleged than the concealing the birth.

"The medical reports I have indicate serious concerns for the accused's welfare without the continued support of her family," Mr Heath said.

Granting the application, Mr Heath said there was an extradition agreement between Australia and Ireland.

The case is listed again on October 2.

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