A 43-year-old homeless woman with serious personal challenges has been admitted to the accident and emergency unit of Mercy University Hospital at least 650 times.
Ann Marie Ward was back before Cork District Court yesterday having been arrested on a bench warrant.
Judge Olann Kelleher issued the warrant for her arrest last week when she failed to appear on several charges. They included theft charges, counts for drunkenness and public order offences and charges for failing to appear on other occasions.
Garda Lorraine O’Donovan arrested Ann Marie Ward on the latest warrant and brought her back before Cork District Court.
Ward’s reply after caution to the guard was, “Why are you always picking on me?” She also complained, “I cannot be in hospital and court at the same time.” Garda O’Donovan checked with the Mercy about the last date when the accused failed to appear in Cork District Court – December 16 – and the hospital records showed she had been released before 7 a.m. that day. She was due in court at 10.30 a.m..
Garda O’Donovan said the hospital records noted 650 admissions by Ann Marie Ward to the Mercy University Hospital.
Garda O’Donovan said of Ward’s hospital visits, “They have stopped recording them.” Michael Quinlan defence solicitor said those hospital admissions were over a long number of years.
Judge Kelleher who has dealt with the accused many times over the years said, “I am going to remand her in custody to December 29. I think it is the right thing to do.”
Cork District Court does not resume until January 4 but there will be a remand court on December 29 as it is not possible to remand a person in custody for longer than one week for a first adjournment.
Probation officer, Deirdre Coakley, who has supported Ward in her attempts at rehabilitation for a long time was present in Cork District Court with her again yesterday.