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Woman to stand trial charged with murder of her baby

By Alan Erwin

Published 16/09/2015

The woman was arrested by detectives investigating the infant's death following an incident in the city more than a year ago.
The woman was arrested by detectives investigating the infant's death following an incident in the city more than a year ago.

A woman has been ordered to stand trial charged with the murder of her baby.

The 32-year-old appeared before Belfast Magistrates' Court today for a hearing to determine if she has a case to answer.

She cannot be named due to reporting restrictions imposed amid fears she would try to commit suicide if identified.

The woman was arrested by detectives investigating the infant's death following an incident in the city more than a year ago.

She was then charged with murder and initially detained under the Mental Health Act.

Earlier in the proceedings the press mounted a failed challenge to the anonymity order, based on the public's right to know full details in the case.

But with psychiatrists predicting the woman could try to kill herself if her name was published, the ban remains in place.

Initially held in a psychiatric unit, the accused has since been moved to normal prison custody.

Appearing in the dock for today's preliminary enquiry, she confirmed that she received legal papers and understood the charge against her.

A Public Prosecution Service lawyer argued that the woman has a prima facie case to answer.

Counsel for the accused made no contrary submissions.

The woman also declined to call witnesses or give any evidence at this stage.

Backing prosecution contentions, District Judge Fiona Bagnall ordered her to be returned for trial at Belfast Crown Court.

The accused was remanded back into custody to appear again for arraignment on a date to be fixed.

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