Belfast Telegraph

Doctor to assess suicidal mother accused of killing her baby

By Chris Kilpatrick

A doctor has been called to court to advise on whether identifying a woman suspected of murdering her baby would increase the risk of her suicide.

A judge is set to decide on a move by the Belfast Telegraph to overturn a court order preventing this newspaper naming the alleged killer.

The 30-year-old was charged by detectives investigating the child's death in March.

Lawyers for the woman obtained the restrictions by arguing that publishing her identity could put her life in jeopardy by increasing her risk of suicide.

A judge yesterday said she wants the medical expert to attend court to give more detail on the defendant's condition.

Cross-examination may also be permitted as part of attempts by this newspaper to have the anonymity order lifted.

The woman was detained under the Mental Health Act following her arrest. She is currently receiving intense medical treatment and is under constant supervision. Her lawyers submitted that if the media revealed her identity it would increase the suicide risk.

Attempts to overturn the order centre on freedom of expression rights and open justice principles. Gerald Simpson QC, for Independent News and Media, told District Judge Fiona Bagnall the doctor should be called to provide more information.

Judge Bagnall agreed to list the case for a further hearing next week, when the doctor is to attend to give evidence.

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