NZ Herald 5 June 2015
A Wanganui health professional who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after her child was left in a hot car has been discharged without conviction.
Before Justice Simon France in the High Court at Wanganui this morning, the woman began crying at the first mention of the boy’s name.
The court heard the boy died of heatstroke and dehydration. He was discovered only after his creche texted and then phoned to inquire where he was.
The defendant sobbed as the summary of facts was read out in court.
About 20 people attended in the public gallery, many sharing tearful hugs during a morning adjournment.
The 16-month-old boy, whose name has been suppressed, died outside her workplace on January 16. Police have not publicly confirmed the circumstances of his death, but charged the 35-year-old mother with his manslaughter in April.
No conviction in infant’s hot car death
3News 5 June 2015
Family First says the decision is appropriate and that her child’s death is “punishment enough”.
However, national director Bob McCoskrie is disappointed police pursued the prosecution, thereby initiating a “drawn-out court process” which “served no public benefit”.
“It has just added to the pain of a mother who has already received a life sentence. What was the point of pursuing this further?
“No jail term or punishment could have outweighed the consequence of the mother’s mistake. This does not appear to be a neglectful mother. It appears to be simply a tragic, tragic mistake. Fortunately the judge agreed.”
Police should have used their discretion under the prosecution guidelines not to press charges, he says.
No conviction for woman in manslaughter of her son
Stuff co.nz 5 June 2015
A lobby group is criticising police for prosecuting a Whanganui health professional, whose son died after being left in a car on a hot day, saying it was not in the public interest.
But police say it is their job to present the evidence to the court, which then decides what is appropriate.
The 35-year-old woman was discharged without conviction by Justice Simon France in the High Court in Whanganui on Friday, having pleaded guilty last month to the manslaughter of the 16-month-old toddler, who died on January 16.
The woman, her husband and the child were all granted permanent name suppression.
Family First director Bob McCoskrie said he welcomed the decision, but was disappointed with police’s actions.
The case was not in the public interest, and police could have used their discretion to keep the case out of court, he said.
“The drawn out court process has served no public benefit. It has just added to the pain of a mother who has already received a life sentence.”