Judge scathing of police case against accused child killer
A judge has slammed the police case against an Inala grandmother as being almost "non existent", saying the evidence against her does not amount to murder or even the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Maureen Enright, 76, will be released from prison on bail today after she was arrested late last month and charged with murdering her young son Peter 50 years ago.
The frail elderly woman has spent almost a month in custody since the shock arrest on October 21.
In a bail application in the Brisbane Supreme Court, Justice Peter Callaghan repeatedly questioned prosecutors about what evidence they had that could go toward proving a charge of murder.
But Justice Callaghan said the evidence put before him fell far short of proving charges of either murder or manslaughter and at best they may have a case to prosecute charges of accessory after the fact or failing to provide the necessities of life.
"In the face of my specific requests the DPP cannot identify a case of murder against her," he said.
"That allows me to conclude that the evidence against her is at the very least weak and I might opine that it is not just weak but it is non existent."
He said there was no concern that Enright in her "advanced years" would attempt to flee the jurisdiction or strong arm witnesses.
"The applicant being an elderly lady is hardly in a position to threaten anyone," he said.
She will be released on bail today.
Crown Prosecutor Mark Whitbread said police could rule out the various reasons given for the disappearance of Peter, an autistic boy who is alleged to have been about three or four years old when he died.
"In respect of murder there is no evidence as to what mechanism caused the death of the child, it really comes down to the child just missing from a certain day and the various versions given by Ms Enright as to where the child is, the crown says can be disproved," he said.
He said there was no evidence that Peter was alive, that he was adopted or that he had gone to live with another family members.
The court heard that in an affidavit tendered to the court, there were references to Enright allegedly saying her husband Michael, who has since died, had done a "bad thing" and references to her putting the boy in his cot and not feeding him for "some time".
The court heard there were also references to her allegedly closing the boy's bedroom door when he screamed.
Justice Callaghan noted there was also a comment allegedly made suggesting Enright was aware a body may be buried in her yard. Police investigators who tore up the Ipswich yard found no evidence of human remains.
"It's telling she might know there's a body there but doesn't say anything about her killing him," Justice Callaghan said.
He said prosecutors had no evidence as to how Peter is alleged to have died or of any intent to cause grievous bodily harm or death, saying "there's just nothing there".
Originally published as Judge scathing of police case against accused child killer