A Brisbane woman has escaped a jail sentence after she pleaded guilty to leaving her two-year-old daughter home alone while she was gambling.
The court heard the 40-year-old woman had a gambling addition and didn’t realise there were such serious consequences for her actions, according to a News Limited report.
Police were called to her Newmarket apartment one morning in December last year after neighbours complained of hearing a child ‘screaming all night’.
They broke into the apartment and found a girl aged two year seven months, who had a soiled nappy and wasn’t in a cot.
Neighbours said they hadn’t seen the mother since the previous morning.
Although not harmed, the toddler was taken to hospital as a precaution.
The mother returned home a few hours later to find police and was reportedly ‘hysterical’ when she realised she was unable to see her daughter.
Defence lawyer Jonathan Law said the mother was a single parent who moved to Australia from China five years ago.
He said his client was addicted to gambling but had tried to turn her life around by doing a life-skills course with the Salvation Army.
The baby was taken by child services for two weeks before being returned following a reassessment.
The woman was reportedly worried a conviction would harm her bid for residency.
Magistrate Stuart Shearer told the court: "This was not a momentary incident where for example, a child was left in a car while a person goes into a shop."
"This was a protracted and in my view, heartless abandonment of your child for more than 12 hours."
He ordered the woman to serve 200 hours of unpaid community service and he recorded a conviction.