Mum on trial for poisoning 9yo daughter
AFTER five years of delays and an attempt to have charges dropped, the mummy blogger accused of injecting her young daughter's jugular vein with urine will stand trial early next year.
The woman, a former midwife with an international following for her blog about her daughter's ill health, is alleged to have intravenously administered urine to her then nine-year-old in 2015.
Child abuse squad detectives from Newcastle allege on three separate occasions a mixture of yeast and fungus grew in the tubes that made up the daughter's venous line, in a way that indicated contamination by urine.
The case began when the young girl, who has a genetic disorder, was hospitalised in March 2015 with life-threatening renal failure and a severe rash.
Now a teenager, the girl had been admitted to NSW hospitals regularly, and because of her illness became a representative for children's health charities.
The mother, who once ran public fundraising appeals and wrote online about the challenges of mothering a chronically sick child, was investigated after medical staff at two hospitals raised concerns about fast-growing organisms in the girls's urine and blood lines.
Police allege staff at Sydney's Westmead Children's Hospital and Newcastle's John Hunter Children's Hospital had never before witnessed such manifestations.
Newcastle detectives established Strike Force Twine in March 2015 to investigate alleged abuse of the girl.
The woman, now aged in her late 40s, has pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and using poison to endanger life.
She strongly denies prosecution allegations that this was a case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, where a parent makes their child sick to gain attention.
Police charged the mother in July 2015 and she was granted bail.
In February 2017, the accused woman's solicitor attempted to have the charges dropped by filing a no bill application for the matter to be discontinued.
In February last year, the court heard the accused had sacked her legal team and appointed a new solicitor.
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The lawyer requested time to review the massive brief of evidence, which included hundreds of medical reports.
The matter was listed for trial in February this year, but did not proceed.
It is now listed for trial in the Newcastle District Court on February 17 next year.
Crown Prosecutor Lee Carr told a directions hearing in Newcastle District Court last December the medical evidence was complex and hard to read.
District Court Judge Roy Ellis said a jury panel may need to be larger than normal, given the confronting nature of the case, the ABC reported.
"In terms of the number of jurors, that might be a factor in terms of people who would not want to sit on such a thing," Judge Ellis said.
The alleged victim, who is now a teenager, was interviewed by the child abuse squad police in 2015 and a recording of that interview is expected to be played at the forthcoming trial.
The District Court trial Next February could last up to a month.
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