Three stood down following explosive report into Mason Lee’s death

In the wake of an internal department review into the tragic death of toddler Mason Lee, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman says three officers have been stood down and another nine are the subject of disciplinary proceedings.

The state Liberal National Party opposition has accused Ms Fentiman of sitting on the review into the death of 21-month-old Mason whose mother and stepfather are among three people charged with his manslaughter.

The review into the death of Lee has found gross negligence on the part of child welfare officers who failed in their duty to protect the boy before his death, the Courier-Mail reports.

Three officers have been stood down and another nine are the subject of disciplinary proceedings, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman says. Source: Supplied.

However Fentiman said she only received the Systems and Practice Review into the Department of Child Safety's interactions with Mason Lee and his family on Tuesday.

"It found staff may have breached legislation, standards, codes and procedures in this case and consequently 12 safety workers have been to the Department's Ethical Standards branch," Ms Fentiman said in a statement.

Opposition child safety spokeswoman Ros Bates said more than 50 children known to Queensland's child safety department have died in the past year.

Mason died in June with injuries from head to toe after being released from hospital just three months earlier.

Mason Lee.
It's alleged those accused of Mason Lee's death failed to help him seek medical attention.

Mason Lee was found dead in his Caboolture home, north of Brisbane, early on June 11.

The minister, the child commissioner and the boy's family were briefed on the review Tuesday, as one of the men accused of the boy's manslaughter was denied bail.

The boy's stepfather, William Andrew O'Sullivan, was denied bail yesterday.

Police allege Mr O'Sullivan, along with Mason's mother Anne-Maree Lee, 37, and his roommate Ryan Hodson, 17, allowed the 21-month-old boy to die rather than seek help.

Mason's mother Anne-Maree Lee, his stepfather William O'Sullivan and Ryan Hodson have been charged with manslaughter.

The minister is expected to call for "immediate action" with at least two government staff members to be hauled before a review panel to explain their lack of action and justify why they should keep their jobs, the Courier Mail reports.

The review is expected to outline departmental changes on the back of a detailed history of its interaction with Mason's family before his death, with some findings slated to be revealed Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for Ms Fentiman said the document could not be released in full yet as it was subject to child safety laws.

Mason's mother and stepfather have been charged with manslaughter.

It will instead be handed over to the independent Child Death Case Review Panel, the police and the Office of the State Coroner.

"The Minister will make an announcement (Wednesday) to outline what immediate action is being taken, including disciplinary action against relevant staff," a spokeswoman for the minister told the Courier-Mail.

Opposition Child Safety spokeswoman Ros Bates told the paper the report was "politically explosive" and accused the minister of trying to keep it hidden.

Ms Bates added it would "shock Queenslanders to the core" and said many had lost confidence in the state's child welfare system.

"Clearly the report is so damning and explosive the Palaszczuk Government is going to extreme lengths to keep it secret," Ms Bates said.

"It's obvious the child safety department is in crisis and it is failing in its primary role of keeping children safe," Ms Bates told ABC radio.

"We have had over the past 12 months 51 deaths known to child safety, of those there are at least eight children who have died under terrible circumstances and another 16 which are being investigated."

News break – November 23