UK & World News
Irish Woman Charged In Oz Over Dead Baby
Australian authorities have charged an Irish woman with hiding the body of a baby to whom she had given birth.
The 25-year-old is charged with "concealing the birth of a child that died before or after the birth", Western Australia police revealed to ABC News.
The woman, who had been travelling through Kimberley with friends in May, gave birth having not realised she was pregnant, police said.
She was reportedly alone in the town of Halls Creek at the time.
The woman is said to have told friends days later and was then taken to hospital where staff informed the police.
She appeared before a district court last month and her case comes before a higher judge in Perth later in the year.
If convicted, the woman could face two years in prison.
The Western Australia Criminal Lawyers Association accepted it was unusual to bring charges in such circumstances but defended the decision to do so.
"It's a charge that seems to be fairly rarely used," WACLA's president Linda Black told ABC News.
"I can't recall the last time I heard of anyone being charged with this."
Ms Black pointed out that many countries around the world required by law the registration of a birth even if it was a stillbirth.
"It's a charge that's certainly not unique to Western Australia.
"Without wanting to trivialise it, we just can't have people storing dead bodies all over the place without it being brought to the attention of the authorities and dealt with in a proper and formal way, so I think there's a strong public policy behind it."