Zero contact with woman for baby death accused
A WOMAN alleged to be a mother charged over the death of her baby found dismembered in a Cairns driveway 20 years ago has been ordered not to contact another woman previously charged and acquitted over the same crime.
Maria Lena Raymond, 43, was granted bail in the Cairns Magistrates Court yesterday, the day after she handed herself into Cairns police.
The baby boy's body, believed less than 48 hours old, was found on the driveway of a Hayward St home at Mooroobool on May 4, 1996.
Ms Raymond has been charged with manslaughter, misconduct regarding a corpse and concealing the birth of a child.
She has allegedly been confirmed as the child's mother by DNA testing.
Her arrest comes more than eight years after another woman, Violet Flora Evans, was charged over the crime, but the charges were dropped.
During Ms Raymond's court appearance, Acting Magistrate Richard Lehmann ordered she have no contact with Ms Evans, who is understood to still be living in Cairns.
Speaking outside court, Far North police detective Inspector Geoff Marsh said Ms Raymond spoke to police twice in December before she attended the Cairns station on Sunday and was formally interviewed before being charged.
It is understood a public tip-off came in just days after a story published in the Cairns Post on December 3 where police called for information on the 20-year-old case.
"It was (from) a person who was known to the lady and the lady had divulged to this person over the years some time ago in relation to this incident," Insp Marsh said.
During yesterday's court proceedings, defence solicitor Rowan Silva conceded there was a strong case against his client based on her police interview, but evidence regarding the charge of misconduct with a corpse was weak.
"She has made admissions… she has made statements during two records of interviews … in respect of these circumstance in which she gave birth and the baby died," he said.
"The exact details … need to be examined more closely… at a later date."
The court heard Ms Raymond has no criminal history and Mr Silva argued she represented a low risk of reoffending.
The court was told she is a voluntary mental health patient and a psychiatric report would be sought in relation to the matter.
Mr Silva applied to have Ms Raymond's name publicly suppressed, but this was quashed by Acting Magistrate Lehmann.
The case was adjourned until April 5.