The West

Mum guilty of neglect gets sentence reduced
Mum guilty of neglect gets sentence reduced

A mother who admitted to horrific neglect of her twin boys and their younger brother has had her sentenced reduced on appeal, and will be eligible for release in under two months.

The woman, who can only be referred to as "SV" for legal reasons, had originally been jailed for five years, after admitting the neglect which began with her younger child's birth in 2008.

But after failing in an appeal against conviction last year, the woman did succeed in arguing that her jail term was too harsh, and it was reduced to three years by WA's Court of Appeal today.

Her parole eligibility means she could be released as early as August 4 this year.

The judgment ruled that the original sentencing judge had jailed the woman on the basis that she had knowingly caused harm to the children, whereas she was actually convicted of conduct reckless so that it may result in harm to the children.

Legal documents revealed the extent of the neglect.

It included the then nine-year-old twins being so underdeveloped when taken to Princess Margaret Hospital in 2008, that a childcare worker had to help them in and out of a car because they could not support their own weight.

The twins were never enrolled at a school and had not engaged in any normal childhood activities. They had physical, psychological and emotional harm from their mother's neglect and lack of care.

A childcare worker found the children anxious, frightened, devoid of social skills and could not communicate properly.

One twin spoke in whispers, the other not at all. The children were deficient in vitamin D from lack of sunlight and medical conditions linked to an inadequate diet.

The mother refused to accept the children needed medical attention so they were removed and put in foster care in November 2008.

The woman admitted three counts of failing to protect a child from harm or suffering, but then attempted to argue she misunderstood the charges and did not consciously accept her guilt.

At a sentencing hearing, it emerged the siblings were effectively under "house arrest".

They were rarely allowed to leave the home, spent time locked in their rooms and had no opportunity to socialise.

The father, who has a mental illness, was also charged but deemed unfit to plead.

The West Australian

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