Mum accused of murder is ill, lawyer says

Mum accused of murder is ill, lawyer says Members of the local African community show their support. Picture: Darren Pateman
杭州桑拿

Members of the local African community show their support. Picture: Darren Pateman

Members of the local African community show their support. Picture: Darren Pateman

Members of the local African community show their support. Picture: Darren Pateman

Members of the local African community show their support. Picture: Darren Pateman

Members of the local African community show their support. Picture: Darren Pateman

Zemarai Khatiz legal counsel for the Wallsend mother. Picture: Darren Pateman

TweetFacebookA WALLSEND mother accused of murdering her six-week-old baby is suffering from a severe psychological condition, her solicitor told Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday.

The Senegalese woman, 26, who cannot be identified, kept her head down and listened quietly to a Pulaar interpreter while she appeared by audio visual link from Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre.

Dozens of members of the Hunter’s African community filled the court for her appearance, but the feed had to be disconnected after the woman began feeling ill and nearly fainted.

The woman’s solicitor, Zemarai Khatiz, said about 40 family, friends and members of the community had come to court to support the woman because they were concerned for her wellbeing. He said the woman, who doesn’t speak any English, had hardly spoken or left her cell since being taken to the remand centre.

She is accused of cutting her six-week-old daughter’s throat at her home in Curry Street at Wallsend on Friday morning.

Mr Khatiz applied for a suppression order on the woman’s name because of fears for her safety in custody.

‘‘Considering the nature of the charge, the circumstances of the charge, my client’s life may be in danger in custody,’’ Mr Khatiz said.

But Magistrate Robert Stone refused the application, making an order for protective custody instead.

The Newcastle Herald has declined to publish the woman’s name to protect the identify of her children.

Outside of court, Mr Khatiz said his client had the support of the community.

‘‘She is suffering from severe psychological conditions and it is clear that she is suffering from mental illnesses,’’ he said.

‘‘Everyone was here, her husband, her friends, everyone is supporting her, everyone knows she was going through a very difficult time, everyone is aware of her mental and psychological conditions.

‘‘I would ask the community to take that into account. There is more to this story than what is contained in the fact sheet.’’

The woman did not apply for bail and it was formally refused.

The matter was adjourned until September for the woman to undergo a psychiatric assessment.

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