Mother contests negligence charge

AN IPSWICH mother who admitted leaving her nine-year-old child home alone for two hours was not criminally negligent, a magistrate said.

The 38-year-old mother pleaded guilty in Ipswich Magistrates Court to leaving a child aged under 12 for an unreasonable time without making reasonable provisions for his care.

But Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist told the mother she should get legal advice as he did not think she had left her child in an unsafe environment.

The court was told the mother left her nine-year-old in her Bundamba home about 11am on July 22 while she went shopping for groceries with her mother.

While at the shops, the woman saw her brother and they had an argument – which caused her brother to dob her into the cops for leaving the boy alone.

“We had an argument and he wanted to pay me back,” the mother told the court.

“It was stupid on my behalf and his.”

Police arrived at her home about 12.30pm and spoke with the child, who had an injury and had stayed home from school that day.

The child told police he had no contact information for his mum or grandmother.

The mother arrived home at 12.50pm and said she did not realise she had broken the law, but had left her son at home because he would not be able to walk around the shopping centre with his injury.

The woman told the court she thought she was “doing the right thing by leaving him at home and not in the car at the shopping centre”.

Magistrate Haydn Stjernqvist told the mother the offence was designed to catch parents who left their kids in cars while they played the pokies.

“He’s in his own house – he’s got the run of the house,” Mr Stjernqvist said.

“There’s facilities there, bread and water, a bed to lie down on.

“This is not the situation this offence was created for – if he was left overnight that would be different.”

The woman said she would “enter a plea of not guilty”.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in jail but recent sentences in Ipswich courts have attracted good behaviour bonds, probation and fines.

The case was adjourned to August 26.

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