THE parents of twin boys rushed to hospital after becoming seriously ill during an alleged incident earlier this month have been charged with child cruelty.

An application was made to ban all media coverage of the case, which was challenged by the press, with the judge agreeing this was not appropriate.

The couple, who are aged in their thirties, cannot be named to protect the identities of the children.

They are accused of two counts each of wilfully neglecting the twins in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health.

Court papers state this occurred on November 4; however, it was two days later before there was medical and police involvement, and it remains unclear why there is a gap.

The three-month-old boys were first taken by ambulance to the South West Acute Hospital (SWAH), before being transferred to intensive care in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.

A third person was arrested several days later and released, pending a report to the PPS.

A Detective Constable told Enniskillen Magistrates Court the charges against both parents could be connected.

In response to a question by the defence, she confirmed the parents denied the allegations, and provided a full account of what they say occurred.

In respect of existing bail conditions, the defence requested a bail condition around contact with the children should be removed, deeming it: “No longer necessary”.

But the Detective responded: “We are very concerned over the circumstances of this case. I don’t see why there needs to be a removal of that condition.”

District Judge Steven Keown agreed on this point.

The defence then urged the judge to impose a blanket ban on any reporting of the case, which was challenged by the press. Judge Keown ruled such issues are a matter for the press, and refused the application.

He also refused to grant a specific order banning the identification of the parents, noting the press are aware of their responsibilities to the children. The cases were adjourned and the couple remanded on continuing bail.

In the aftermath of the incident, it emerged a doctor based at the SWAH had been arrested.

Since then, the Western Health and Social Care Trust has remained tight-lipped on his status and patient safeguarding procedures, citing employee confidentiality.

The General Medical Council (GMC) previously confirmed it was aware of an alleged incident involving a doctor employed by the Western Health and Social Care Trust, and assured action will be taken to restrict practice if a risk to patient safety is identified.