Irish woman held for hiding birth in Australia allowed return home

Backpacker ‘needs to be with family’ ahead of October court case

An Irish woman charged with concealing the death of a newborn in outback Australia has been allowed to return to Ireland until her court case begins in October.

The court heard there are “serious concerns” for her welfare.

The woman (25) had been travelling in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia with friends and had not realised she was pregnant.

She allegedly gave birth alone in the town of Halls Creek in May, but the baby died.

It is alleged the Irish woman hid the newborn and did not tell her friends what had happened until days later. Her friends then took her to a hospital, where staff notified police.

The law in Western Australia requires all births to be reported, even if the baby died of natural causes. Concealing the birth of a child carries a maximum penalty of two years in jail.

The state’s major crime squad was called in to investigate the death and subsequently charged the woman.

In court in Western Australia’s capital Perth today, the woman’s barrister, Karen Farley SC, applied for the removal of a bail condition which required the woman to surrender her passport, so she can return to Ireland.

Ms Farley said her client, whose visa expires next month, “needs to be with her family and their support”, ABC radio has reported.

The woman’s mother has been in Perth to support her daughter.

The police opposed the change to the Irish backpacker’s bail conditions, but Chief Magistrate Steven Heath said it should be allowed because “the medical reports I have indicate serious concerns for (the woman’s) welfare, without continued support from family”.

He said that, without trivialising the matter, nothing more serious was alleged than the concealing the birth.

Mr Heath said there were “no issues of re-offending” and the only question was whether the woman would return for her trial.

Granting the application, he said that Australia has extradition arrangements with Ireland.

The woman was released on AU$5000 (€3475) bail. She also has to provide a cash deposit of $1,000 to the court.

The case is due back in court on October 2nd.