Court orders psychiatric exam for mother

A court last night ordered that a mother charged with the murder of her son should be examined by a forensic psychiatrist at the female wing of Mountjoy prison.

A special sitting of Limerick District Court heard that Diane Ward did not want to be sent to the Central Mental Hospital as requested by the State. She was later remanded to the Dóchas Centre in Mountjoy.

Ms Ward, aged 42, of 33 Harrison’s Place, Charleville, Co Cork, was charged with the murder of her son, Anthony Ward, 8, at their home on Monday. Det Sgt Michael Corbett told Judge Eugene O’Kelly that, at 5.25pm on Sep 4, he arrested Ms Ward at Cork University Hospital and brought her to Mallow Garda station.

At 4.45pm yesterday, he charged her with the murder of her son. She made no reply when he put the charge to her.

Ms Ward did not speak during the 10-minute hearing. She was flanked in court by a uniformed female garda and a detective.

Solicitor Paul Cagney told the court he was representing the accused and Judge O’Kelly granted his application for free legal aid.

Judge O’Kelly said that, in view of the charge, he had no jurisdiction on the matter of bail.

Supt Patrick McCarthy said Ms Ward had been seen by psychiatrist, Dr Eugene Cassidy, at CUH on Sep 3 and 4, who diagnosed severe affective disturbance. Dr Cassidy consulted with Dr Harry Kennedy of the Central Mental Hospital.

Supt McCarthy said that, as a result of that consultation, he was applying to have Ms Ward remanded to the Dóchas Centre, which would allow for her admission to the CMH, under the Criminal Law Insanity Act, 2006, where a bed was available.

Mr Cagney said the accused did not want to be remanded to the Central Mental Hospital.

He said Dr Cassidy was not a forensic psychologist and he asked that the accused be remanded in the normal fashion to the Dóchas Centre and examined by a forensic psychiatrist.

Judge O’Kelly said he would remand Ms Ward to the Dóchas Centre and ordered she be examined by a forensic psychiatrist on arrival. He said the Dóchas Centre was the most appropriate centre for the remand, having regard to the limited facilities to remand female prisoners.

Judge O’Kelly recommended that a psychiatric report as to the state of Ms Ward’s mental wellbeing be prepared and made available to the court.

He remanded Ms Ward to appear at Newcastle West court on Tuesday.

Anthony Ward’s funeral will take place today after Mass of the Angels at Holy Cross Church, Charleville, at 2.30pm.

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