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Irish woman to leave Oz after dead baby find

The Irish backpacker, who was charged with concealing the birth of her baby in Australia, has been allowed to return home to Ireland.

The 25-year-old woman had her bail terms changed so that she can be with her family at home.

Perth Magistrates Court approved her application to return to Ireland amid concerns for her welfare.

The young woman, who allegedly concealed the birth of her baby while travelling in a remote part of North Western Australia, will reappear in court there on October 2.

Today the court was told that the woman's situation had worsened significantly since being charged.

All births, even if a baby dies of natural causes, must be reported to the authorities.

Due to the time delay in hearing the trial, her lawyer asked could she return home to be with her family.

"I have had preliminary discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions as to the public interest in pursuing this matter," defence lawyer Karen Farley told the court.

"It is nowhere near their office at this stage."

Ms Farley said her client's visa will expire next month.

She said that the young woman needed to be with her family to have their support.

The backpacker will face up to two years in jail if she is convicted of the offence.

It's understood that her mother has flown out to Perth to support her daughter.

The Chief Magistrate Steven Heath said that nothing more serious was alleged than the concealing of the birth.

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

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

It cannot be heard in a district court and has been referred to a higher court, which has caused the delay in the trial hearing.

It was reported that the young woman did not realise she was pregnant while travelling with friends.

The young woman gave birth alone last May in the town of Halls Creek.

She did not tell her friends what had happened until some time later when they noticed that she didn't appear well.

She then told them what had happened and they brought her to the nearest hospital and at that point the police were informed.

The backpacker was charged with "concealing the birth of a child that died before or after birth", police in Western Australia said.

A crime squad was then called in to investigate the case.

The case only came to light, three months after the incident, when the backpacker appeared in court.

President of the Criminal Lawyers Association Linda Black told ABC News that the charge the woman is facing is "rarely used".

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

"It's a charge that's certainly not unique to Western Australia," added the president.

An extradition agreement exists between Australia and Ireland which allows for the young woman to return home while she awaits for her trial. She can then return to the country in October.

jfegan@herald.ie


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