Thursday, 8 August 2013

INFANTICIDE: Australia: mother thought child was a dwarf

A Sydney woman accused of murdering her baby daughter in a bath tub, after expressing concerns the child was a dwarf, may have been suffering an "abnormality of the mind" at the time, a court has heard.
The woman, who cannot be identified, is accused of murdering the six-month-old girl by leaving her unattended in water in a North Strathfield house in November 2010.
The woman's solicitor, Dennis Miralis, told the NSW Supreme Court on Friday a psychiatrist's assessment found indications of an "abnormality of the mind" and his client made an offer to prosecutors in relation to a charge of infanticide.
Under NSW law, infanticide is when a woman causes the death of her baby through a wilful act or omission while "the balance of her mind was disturbed by reason of her not having fully recovered from the effect of giving birth".
But, the court heard, prosecutors offered her the charge of manslaughter instead of infanticide, which the 38-year-old woman did not accept. Prosecutors then proceeded with a murder charge.
In the NSW Supreme Court, Justice Megan Latham questioned whether the Crown was taking an "extraordinarily hard line" in their case.
The judge then read out the charge of murder and the woman, dressed in black with her hair tied in a neat bun, cried as she stood and quietly said "not guilty".
A committal hearing in December last year heard the woman allegedly left the baby unattended in a foam chair in about 11 centimetres of water.
The hearing at Burwood Local Court heard that, in the months leading up to the girl's death, the mother was worried the baby had dwarfism. But the child was cleared of any condition after a series of tests.
Prosecutors had said the woman was anxious about her child's appearance because she was striving for a "perfect lifestyle", an allegation the woman denied.
Justice Latham set the matter down for trial in February

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