The lawyer representing Irish nanny Aisling McCarthy Brady yesterday criticised claims by prosecutors that her client was under no harm in jail as the Cavan woman enters her 66th day in custody.
Melinda Thompson also accused the Massachusetts District Attorney’s office of using US immigration laws as leverage for keeping her client behind bars.
The 34-year-old has been held since her arrest on Jan 18, charged with assault and battery leading to the death of one-year-old Rehma Sabir.
The Cambridge District Court in the Boston suburb of Medford heard yesterday the complexity of carrying out an autopsy on a toddler was the reason for Ms Brady’s continued legal limbo, with the prosecution reconfirming their intention to try her for murder.
“She is having a really, really hard time,” said Ms Thompson, having earlier got into a heated exchange with Judge Roann Sragow, who granted another continuance until Apr 22, when it is expected the autopsy will be released.
Once more hidden from public view, Ms Brady watched on from a concealed dock as her lawyer pleaded her case.
“For 65 days while somebody sits in jail... a motion is filed that says there is ‘no harm to the defendant’,” Ms Thompson said in court. “I beg to differ. There’s an innocent person sitting in jail and how dare the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] say there’s no harm to the defendant?”
The judge was quick to rebuke Ms Thompson, while also denying her request for bail to be reduced from $500,000 (€385,000), stressing it was not within her remit to do so, as bail had been set by a different judge in January.
Ms Thompson claimed it was unfair that her client should be held even though there were no findings about cause of death and said that when bail was first set at $5,000, the DA’s office alerted the US federal agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement on a public holiday in order to avoid any risk of deportation.
Ms Brady had been living and working undocumented in the US, having overstayed her 90-day holiday visa waiver in 2002.
“I brought her passport to the police station,” Ms Thompson told reporters wha asked about the initial arrest.
“She was ready to post bail and the Commonwealth had ICE fax over a detainer which makes it so that she can’t get out within 48 hours despite bail being set at $5,000. They didn’t care about her immigration status for the week that they were interrogating her and investigating the case. They told her to stay at home. She did. I offered to bring her in. I offered to give her passport. They called ICE when the bail was set too low and they came into court and said ‘we want $1m bail because we don’t want ICE to take her’.”
That allowed them leeway, she said, adding the prosecution used the federal body to keep Ms Brady in the country.
“She is ready to face the charges,” said Ms Thompson. She didn’t do anything wrong.”
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