Judge imposes ban on naming parties in Limerick child murder case

Judge Carol Anne Coolican

A WOMAN charged with murdering a four year old Limerick boy can no longer be named publicly, after a judge imposed reporting restrictions on all parties involved in the case.

Judge Carol Anne Coolican said the woman and a man who allegedly assisted her, as well as the boy, all cannot be named because the case involves a “minor”.

When the woman and the man were initially charged last week, reporting restrictions were not sought by their solicitors nor the State prosecutor.

All parties were identified in subsequent media coverage.

At today’s hearing in Limerick District Court, Judge Coolican enquired if there were any reporting restrictions imposed in the case.

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Prosecuting Garda Sergeant, Sean Murray, said the State had not sought restrictions and that the court had not imposed any during the initial hearing last week.

He pointed out that, following last week’s hearing, the charges and identities of the two accused had been “widely reported” in the media.

Sergeant Murray said the State had not instructed him to seek reporting restrictions.

The accused woman’s solicitor, Lee-Anne Purcell, said she would make enquiries, and told the judge, “I don’t know if it’s possible”.

Following a brief adjournment to allow Ms Purcell seek instructions, she made an application for reporting restrictions on the named parties, as “it relates to a minor”.

Sergeant Murray told Ms Purcell her application was “a matter for yourself” and he again pointed out “there was no mention of it last week”.

Judge Coolican interjected, asking Sgt Murray “are you objecting to the application”, to which Sgt Murray replied “no, I have no instructions on it”.

Judge Coolican said she was satisfied to impose restrictions on the identification of all parties, as well as specific locations related to the case.

Sergeant Murray said the Book of Evidence was awaited and he made an application that the woman be remanded in custody for a further four weeks.

The woman appeared before the court today via a video-link inside Limerick Prison where she is being held on remand. She is also facing one count of child cruelty in respect of the boy.

The woman consented to today’s hearing going ahead despite not being able to see the proceedings, due to an anomaly with the video-link system. She confirmed her name and that she could hear the proceedings.

The court heard there was an “ongoing problem” with the video-link between the court and the prison.

The woman was remanded in continuing custody to appear before Limerick District Court, via video-link, on November 8.

The woman has not yet sought bail and if she does, she must make an application before the High Court.

Following a hearing last week the man was remanded on bail to appear before the court on November 3.

The man is charged with assisting the woman; one count of child endangerment and two counts of child cruelty.

The man and woman were arrested at separate addresses in County Limerick last Thursday, October 6.