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Court News : Extradited woman appears in Derry court on prescription fraud charges

A 62-year-old woman has appeared at Derry Magistrates Court on foot of a European arrest warrant to face 14 charges relating to prescription fraud.

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A 62-year-old woman has appeared at Derry Magistrates Court on foot of a European arrest warrant to face 14 charges relating to prescription fraud.

Bernadette McCarter, of Legnaturaw in St Johnston in Donegal, had been scheduled to appear for a preliminary enquiry in March 2017 but failed to do so.

She is charged with 14 counts of fraudulent use of prescriptions on dates between January 1, 2008 through to December 31, 2013.

A police officer told the court that attempts were made to serve papers on the accused and a phone number supplied by her rang out for two days and was then disconnected.

The court heard McCarter made no attempt to contact police and it had taken 'three years to extradite her from the Republic of Ireland and considerable cost.'

The officer opposed bail on the grounds McCarter would flee the jurisdiction.

Defence solicitor, John Fahy, asked the officer had the accused been in contact with Gardai and was told that was handled by the extradition team.

District Judge, Barney McElholm, asked why had she not turned up for her preliminary enquiry in 2017 and was told she suffered from ill-health.

Mr McElholm said it appeared McCarter had not co-operated in any way by not returning phone calls or answering correspondence until it became clear she was going to be extradited.

He said if he granted McCarter bail and she did not turn up on the next date, the 'whole extradition process' would have to begin again and could possibly take another three years.

Mr McElholm said he was hesitant to give McCarter bail in case she did not turn up on the next occasion and asked for clarification if the whole extradition process would have to start again if she failed to turn up.

After a short adjournment, Mr Fahy proposed that McCarter could be bailed for a sizeable cash surety.

After some time. it was agreed McCarter would be released on bail on condition that a £25,000 cash surety be proferred or else the deeds of a property she owned in the North be surrendered to the court.

McCarter was remanded in custody until bail could be perfected and will appear again on February 28.

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