Couple in Romanian baby case given bail

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The Independent Online
THE BRITISH couple accused of illegally trying to buy a Romanian baby, were released on bail yesterday after two weeks in Bucharest police cells.

Looking tired after a four-hour bail hearing, Adrian and Bernadette Mooney were driven to the British embassy, which they entered hand in hand. The first thing they requested was to be able to phone their relatives.

'We are happy to be out and want to reassure our families that we are fit and well,' the Mooneys, of Wokingham, Berkshire, said. 'We are content with the way we have been treated and are grateful for the help of the embassy and our lawyer.'

Laurie Bristow, the embassy spokesman, said the Mooneys, who were kept in separate cells in the Bucharest police headquarters, would spend the night in embassy accommodation.

Under the terms of their bail, set at the maximum pounds 40 each, the Mooneys will not be allowed to leave Romania before their trial later this month on charges of violating adoption and border laws.

Mr and Mrs Mooney, aged 41 and 39, were arrested on 6 July after they were caught trying to cross into Hungary with a five-month-old baby girl hidden in a basket in their car.

The chief prosecutor in the case alleged that the Mooneys paid a Romanian middleman dollars 6,000 (pounds 3,900) for the girl, dollars 1,200 of which went to her parents, a 17-year-old unmarried gypsy couple.

Five Romanians have been accused of complicity in connection with the Mooneys' case, the first of its kind since Romania tightened adoption regulations in 1991.

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