THE neglect shown by a mother who starved her young child could have resulted in the baby’s death, a court has heard.
The 23-year-old mother, who can’t be named to protect the boy’s identity, was given a suspended jail term in Albury Local Court on Thursday.
She had used ice and failed to feed the child, who was only four-months-old when he was admitted to hospital in March weighing just 3.18 kilograms.
It’s very serious because of the young age of the victim and (fact) he was so malnourished he could have diedMagistrate Rodney Brender
The mother had both amphetamine and methamphetamine in her system.
Her boy was so severely malnourished that bones stuck out of his body from underneath wrinkled skin.
Magistrate Rodney Brender told the 23-year-old, who now lives in Wodonga, the charge of failing to provide for a child causing a danger of death, carried a five-year maximum jail term.
“It’s a very serious charge … it’s quite rare,” he said.
“It’s very serious because of the young age of the victim and (fact) he was so malnourished he could have died.”
The magistrate noted the woman did not have a criminal record and had taken steps to turn her life around.
He said jail was the only option, but said it would be suspended.
“A term of imprisonment is the only possible outcome due to the seriousness of the offence,” Mr Brender said.
“I think your offence is of equal seriousness to your partner, and I sentenced him to a 12-month term.”
Her partner at the time, who faced the same charges, will remain in custody until at least March.
Thursday’s outcome allowed the woman to walk free from court, but she is still banned from living with her child due to a two-year court order.
The co-offender has stricter conditions which ban him from approaching the boy unless with approval from family services.
Mr Brender said the mother-of-three had good prospects of rehabilitation.
She must attend drug and alcohol services and follow a mental health plan, or else she will be in breach of the suspended jail term.
The offence occurred in Lavington, with police called to the home after a domestic incident on March 4.
The woman had moved to Melton from Lavington but has since moved to Wodonga.