An elderly woman charged with murdering her son more than 50 years ago has been granted bail, with a Queensland judge describing the case against her as almost “non-existent”.
- Police allege Maureen Enright’s son, Peter John Enright, died in either 1968 or 1969
- His mother, now aged 76, was charged with his murder in October
- After the Supreme Court granted Ms Enright bail, her defence barrister said her family was relieved by the decision
Maureen Enright, 76, was arrested in October and charged with the murder of her son, Peter John Enright.
Police allege the boy was three or four years old at the time of his death at Inala in either 1968 or 1969.
In the Supreme Court in Brisbane, Justice Peter Callaghan granted Ms Enright bail, describing the crown case for murder as “at the very least, weak”.
“In the face of my specific request, the DPP [Director of Public Prosecution] cannot identify a case of murder against her,” Justice Callaghan said.
“That allows me to conclude that the evidence against her is, at the very least, weak.
“I might opine that it is not just weak but it is non-existent.”
Prosecutor Mark Whitbread conceded there was no evidence about how the boy died.
“In respect of murder there is no evidence as to what mechanism caused the death of the child,” Mr Whitbread said.
“It really comes down to the child missing from a certain day and the various versions given by Ms Enright as to where the child is that the Crown says can be disproved.”
Outside court, defence barrister Andrew Bale said the genesis of the case seemed to be “rumours and innuendos”.
“I thought His Honour made some really strong observations, particularly in relation to the complete lack of a Crown case against her for the offence of murder,” Mr Bale said.
“From our perspective we’ll be maintaining the pressure that this elderly and unwell lady has no case to answer and should be left alone.”
Mr Bale said Ms Enright has not been coping well in custody, and her family was relieved by today’s decision.
“Her family are delighted that mum can come home, but there is a long road to go yet,” Mr Bale said.
“She’s got a lot of hurdles to face from here on, but it’s an important step today to at least get her out so she can go back to be with family so she can get the support and treatment she needs.”
Justice Callaghan granted Ms Enright bail with conditions.
“It is not suggested that Ms Enright, who is of advanced years, is someone who might commit further offences were she to be granted bail,” Justice Callaghan told the court.
“Whilst there is always an incentive for someone charged with murder to abscond it is also not contended there is any realistic danger of her failing to appear.”