Child left alone at Mac­cas

South Burnett Times - - NEWS - — Mar­guerite Cud­dihy

A 29-YEAR-OLD woman who left her six-year-old son alone in McDon­ald’s for sev­eral hours has been con­victed but not fur­ther pun­ished in the Kin­garoy Mag­is­trates Court.

Po­lice pros­e­cu­tor Pepe Gangemi said that at 8.30am on Oc­to­ber 27, 2016, the woman went to Kan­ga­roo Point McDon­ald’s.

“She left the child there, who was six years old at the time.

“About three hours later, po­lice were called when the child was still sit­ting in McDon­ald’s unat­tended.”

Sgt Gangemi said the child be­lieved some­one was go­ing to come and pick him up.

“On that day, the de­fen­dant told po­lice she’d been us­ing ice in the pre­vi­ous days and was suf­fer­ing from hal­lu­ci­na­tions and paranoia.

“She be­lieved her and the young child were be­ing fol­lowed, so she went to McDon­ald’s and left him there.

“It was her in­ten­tion to lead th­ese peo­ple away.”

Sgt Gangemi said the woman got on a train to an un­known lo­ca­tion.

“Later that day when she went back to McDon­ald’s, the child wasn’t there – he was in the care of chil­dren’s ser­vices and po­lice.”

De­fence lawyer Mark Werner said the woman had re­cently been be­fore the dis­trict court for un­re­lated charges.

“Just to in­form the court of re­cent sit­tings, my client pleaded guilty to a sin­gle count of ar­son.

“She was sen­tenced to two years’ im­pris­on­ment and im­me­di­ate pa­role,” he said.

“She has re-es­tab­lished con­tact with the fa­ther of the child, and she sees her son ev­ery day be­fore school and drops him off to school.”

Mr Werner said it was im­por­tant to note the charge was from two years ago.

“There’s been no fur­ther of­fend­ing. There’s a his­tory of men­tal ill­ness in the fam­ily,” he said.

Mr Werner said she had been drug-free for a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time.

“There was a psy­chi­atric re­port ob­tained, which was handed up to dis­trict court.

“She in­structed me she was get­ting mes­sages from the TV and that peo­ple were chas­ing her,” Mr Werner said.

“As she has been dealt with by the dis­trict court and is cur­rently on pa­role, I sub­mit she could be con­victed and not fur­ther pun­ished.”

Mag­is­trate Louisa Pink took into ac­count Mr Werner’s sub­mis­sions re­gard­ing the de­fen­dant’s men­tal health.

“But I am trou­bled by the charge of leav­ing a six-year-old un­ac­com­pa­nied for sev­eral hours,” she said.

“There seems to be some sup­port in that a sub­stan­tial amount of doc­u­men­ta­tion, which I’m told has been filed in the dis­trict court be­fore you were sen­tenced to two years’ im­pris­on­ment for an ar­son charge and you’re cur­rently on pa­role.”

The woman was con­victed and not fur­ther pun­ished.

The con­vic­tions were recorded.

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