Northern Ireland

Baby Millie accused to get bail if nuns agree to a tag

A 32-year-old man accused of the rape and murder of a 15-month-old girl may be freed on bail if an order of nuns agrees to him wearing a tagging device while living in their hostel.

A Belfast court heard Armagh based nuns, the Sisters of The Missionaries of Chartity, have said Barry Michael McCarney can live with them while on bail awaiting his trial in October.

One of the nuns and a former chaplain at Magheraberry prison were also willing to act as sureties for McCarney if granted bail.

However, Mr Justice Weir adjourned the bail application when told that at present the order's London-based head, the provincial, does not allow any electronic devices within the confines of their hostel, which can house up to a dozen men at any one time.

Ban

Defence QC Elis McDermott sought the adjournment to find out if the provincial would be willing to lift the ban on such equipment in the circumstances.

Ms McDermott had earlier successfully argued that the "landscape" in McCarney's case had changed along with the "shifting sands in the prosecution case".

Despite strong objections by prosecution QC Ciaran Murphy against bail given the seriousness of charges and the fact that other senior judges had refused similar applications, Mr Justice Weir said if McCarney could be tagged, he could be granted bail.

Mr Justice Weir also said that the nuns could also provide a certain amount of objective surveillance, and that the law requires that bail is granted in the appropriate circumstances.

McCarney has been in custody since he'd rushed baby Millie Martin to the Erne hospital, in Fermanagh, in December 2009.

Bail

Millie's 27-year-old mother Rachael Martin has been free on bail for some time.

Although not Millie's father, he had been living with her and her mother at a house at Glebe Park in Enniskillen.

McCarney denies her murder and rape. Alternatively he is also accused of causing her death by an unlawful act on December 11, 2009.

He is also charged with unlawfully and maliciously causing baby Millie grievous bodily harm between December 10 and 11.

Baby Millie's mother Rachel is accused of failing to protect her daughter from the unlawful act that caused her death on December 11, and wilfully neglecting her in a manner likely to cause her unnecessary suffering, between September 1, 2009, and December 12, 2009.