Irishwoman accused of concealing birth in Australia to be allowed home ahead of trial

Wednesday 13 August 2014 16.06
The accused woman's mother had been in Perth to support her daughter, but her visa expired
The accused woman's mother had been in Perth to support her daughter, but her visa expired

An Irish backpacker accused of concealing the birth of her baby has had her bail conditions changed to allow her to return to Ireland amid serious concern about her welfare.

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

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

Applying for the removal of a condition that 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.

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

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 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 2 October.