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Donegal woman appears at Derry Magistrates Court on foot of a European Arrest Warrant to face 14 charges relating to prescription fraud

Derry courthouse

Derry courthouse at Bishop Street.

A 62-year-old woman from Donegal today 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 woman and a phone number supplied by her rang out for two days and was then disconnected.

The court was told that the defendant 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 that the woman would flee the jurisdiction.

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

District Judge Barney McElholm asked why had she not turned up for her PE in 2017 and was told the woman suffered from il health.

The judge said it appeared that she 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.

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

The police officer said that was what she believed would happen.

The judge said the last thing that could be said about the Crown Court here was that they were draconian and if she had dealt with this 'in an adult way' three years ago it would have been finished.

Mr Fahy said as result of this McCarter had lost her employment.

Judge McElholm said he was hesitant to give McCarter bail in case she did not turn up on the next occasion.

He 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 his client could be bailed for a sizeable cash surety.

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

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

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