A Lurgan woman accused of abducting her children and taking them out of the United Kingdom is to face the Crown Court.
The woman, who cannot be named in order to protect the identities of the children, appeared before Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on Friday for the purposes of a preliminary enquiry (PE) – the legal process during which a case is referred to the higher court.
The 36-year-old is charged with two counts of child abduction by parent.
The defendant is accused that on April 26, 2022, she allegedly took two children she was connected with – who were under the age of 16 – out of the United Kingdom without consent.
The defendant – appearing with the assistance of an interpreter – made no objection to the holding of a preliminary enquiry.
Prosecution submitted that based on the papers before the court there was a prima facie case to answer.
Defence made no contrary submissions.
On reading the High Court bail conditions for the defendant, District Judge Bernie Kelly said: “I’m not happy with them.
“On what planet do we allow the defendant to have direct communication with the chief prosecution witnesses?
“It is not in the children’s best interests to have someone mess with their head before they’re asked to give evidence in respect of the same someone.”
District Judge Kelly, satisfied there was a prima facie case to answer, released the defendant on bail and adjourned the case to the Crown Court for arraignment on January 12.
She added: “That would be on the same bail terms you’re currently on, save for the following amendment.
“She shall have no contact with any of her three children, save by written communication, through a named and designated social worker.
“Then, at least, the social workers can vet it before the children get to know the contents of it.”