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Irish woman (25)
faces charge of 
concealing her
stillborn baby

A young Irish backpacker is facing a 'rarely used' charge of allegedly concealing the birth of her stillborn baby in Australia.

The unnamed 25-year-old woman could be sentenced to two years in prison for allegedly concealing the baby, local media has reported.

The backpacker was unaware that she was pregnant and hid the baby's body after birth, the court was told. It is alleged that she did not tell anyone, but when her friends found out she was taken to hospital where staff notified police.

natural

Australian law requires all births to be reported, even if the baby has died of natural causes.

But a stillbirth support agency said that the woman should be treated with compassion.

Mairie Cregan, a social worker and founder of support group Feileacain, said she was shocked and surprised to hear the woman was charged with a criminal offence.

"Usually a case like this occurs because of shock," she said. "Going into labour and giving birth to a baby who has died is an incredibly traumatic, upsetting and shocking experience."

"I don't think it's for any of us to judge what's happened," she said.

Australian lawyer Linda Black said that while it's unusual to charge a woman in such circumstances, many countries including Australia, require a birth to be registered even if the child doesn't survive.

"It's a charge that seems to be fairly rarely used," she told ABC News in Australia.

"I can't recall the last time I heard of anyone being charged with this.

"But it's a charge that's certainly not unique to Western Australia (WA)."

Backpackers

The woman is understood to have been travelling with fellow Irish backpackers in the Kimberley region of the country and allegedly gave birth in May during a stopover in the remote town of Hall's Creek.

WA's Major Crime Squad was called in to investigate the infant's death and charged the Irishwoman with concealing the birth.

She appeared in court in Kununurra at the end of last month, when the case was referred to Perth.

The woman is reportedly living in the Perth area of Western Australia, where she must remain until the court case again in October but has not sought consular assistance with the Irish embassy, a spokesperson confirmed.

hnews@herald.ie


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