Mum’s historic legal court bid ends in failure

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A 25 year old mother of a seven month old baby made legal history at the Crown Court in Derry yesterday by representing herself and applying to be released from custody.

Karen Marie McDonald, whose address was given as c/o Hydebank Prison, has no legal representation because of the ongoing legal aid dispute between Northern Ireland lawyers and Justice Minister David Ford.

Yesterday, she was produced from custody to make her application on charges of handling stolen propety, possessing stolen property and allowing herself to be carried in a stolen car.

She’s admitted committing the offences in April and May of last year in Derry and Donegal.

The defendant, who has 46 previous criminal convictions, told Judge Piers Grant that she’s been in custody and unable to see her baby son. She admitted breaking previous court bail conditions including twice removing electronic tags.

A detective constable opposed bail saying the defendant had broken previous bail conditions on five occasions.

The application was refused and she was remanded in continuing custody.