Alternative to Full Time Prison for Failing to Provide Child with Medical Attention

Alternative to full time prison for mother sentenced for failing to provide child with medical attention and intentionally provide false information to police

Our client was charged with two offences:

  1. Failing to provide her two and a half year old son with medical attention after son’s father brutally assaulted child causing danger of death to child, resulting in permanent brain damage (section 43A(2) Crimes Act).
  2. Provided police and child protection services with false information about the assault of her two and a half year old son causing a hinderance to investigation of the infliction of grievous bodily harm committed by the child’s father (section 315(1)(a) Crimes Act).

The offence of failing to provide child with medical attention carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 5 years, and the offence of hindering police investigation by lying to police carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 7 years.

Our client pleaded guilty to both charges. Our specialist criminal defence lawyers worked tirelessly to negotiate the facts of the case to a level it was most favourable to our client. A considerable amount of work went into reviewing and guiding our client to obtaining good character references, and most importantly, a psychologist report which is often one of the most powerful ways of getting the best possible result. The choice of psychologist for a specialised report is very important and sometimes critical to your case, as was the case here.

Our specialist defence lawyers gave very compelling submissions to the Judge, submissions and arguments backed by all the hard work that went into negotiating and changing the facts, getting the psychologist report and reference material for our client, producing heart felt reasons to the Judge not to send our client to full time prison.

One of the most compelling arguments was to ask the Judge to exercise caution not to allow emotions to get in the way from looking at the child’s injuries. Significant to this argument was to ensure that the Judge is guided with the correct law and facts of this case to only punish our client for the extent of injury caused to her son by her delay only, and not from the father’s assault.

Our defence lawyers carefully read all the large volume of medical reports and pointed out that the reports of the child’s injuries did not explain the extent of injury caused by our client’s delay. The court is not allowed to make assumptions on the extent of injury our client caused, and there was no evidence of this.

It was pointed out that although our client lied to police about what really happened, she was really following the instructions of the child’s father who has beaten our client up a number of times in the past. To build more force to this argument, our team obtained a past AVO order which was handed to the Judge.

The outcome of this case was fantastic. Our client was punished with an alternative to full time prison, with an intensive corrections order (ICO). This is a term of imprisonment, but not behind bars. It requires her to continue with her psychological treatment and conduct some community service work for a period of 18 months. She received this for both charges.

The facts of the case is somewhat distressing, but a summary of it follows below.

In summary, the father of the two and a half year old child brutally assaulted his child after the child refused to sleep in his cot with the father getting frustrated and loosing his temper in a bedroom of the house. The brutal assault left the child with sever life threatening head injuries, broken bones all over his body, most significantly leaving him with permanent brain damage effecting him for the rest of his life in aspects of talking, walking and thinking.

While this occurred, our client, the mother was in the lounge room when she heard 5 loud bangs from the bedroom. The father came out of the room 5 minutes later and said, “I think I almost killed our son”. Our client approached her son and noticed he was not responding normally and appeared dazed. Even after noticing this, she refused to take him to the hospital or call ambulance causing delay and aggravating the child’s injuries. Our client and her partner (the child’s father) began discussing the lies to tell police and child protection services (Docs) as to how the child suffered the obvious injuries.

3 days later, our client and the father took the critically injured child to hospital where he was admitted for 33 days in severe life threatening conditions on life support. The father and our client told doctors, police and Docs that he fell down the stairs after his other brother pushed him on two different occasions. Police discovered that these were all lies given the injuries on the child were not consistent from this version, and secondly from the listening device that was secretly installed in the house where our client and the father lived, and heard discussing the lies.

It’s extremely important that you get an experienced defence lawyer who, with a passion, will work tirelessly on your case to fight hard for you to get you that second chance. An experienced lawyer should present your case to the Judge in the best possible light, maximising your chances of getting the best possible result.

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