A young Victorian mum’s attempt to drown her toddler was “five seconds of parental failure”, a court has been told.
The 23-year-old woman pleaded guilty to one count of reckless conduct endangering life and appeared for a pre-sentence hearing via video link in the Supreme Court of Victoria on Monday.
“In a nutshell this was not more than five seconds of parental failure,” defence lawyer Felicity Gerry QC said.
The young mum – who cannot be named – was struggling with her mental health at the time and had aborted a suicide attempt the same day she tried to drown the two-year-old boy, the court was told.
She was bathing her two children in July 2020 when she grabbed the boy’s head and held him face first underwater for five seconds, the court was told.
he boy kicked and struggled before the woman stopped and took him out of the bath. He survived and was not injured, the court was told.
The next day the mum used Google to search “child protection after hours” and a nearby police station, prosecutor Catherine Parkes told the court.
She made three phone calls to child protection services who went on to contact police who visited her home where she confessed that she held the child underwater.
When she was later taken to a police station the woman was found to be unfit for an interview but a doctor said she should not be released because of the risk she posed to herself.
Ms Gerry argued it was not alleged to be an attempted murder but endangerment and the young mum accepted responsibility and pleaded guilty.
Camera IconSTOCK- The Supreme Court of Victoria. Tuesday, August 3, 2021. David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia
The woman contacted authorities herself and had been the victim of family violence, including while she was pregnant.
“She should not be labelled a bad mother, she is a loving mother who is unwell,” Ms Gerry told the court.
The woman spent 251 days behind bars, has significant home insecurity and lost the full time care of her children, Ms Gerry told the court.
“She has suffered enough punishment,” she said.
The woman should be spared conviction for the crime, Ms Gerry said.
Prosecutors agreed no more jail time was warranted but a community corrections order was an “added safeguard” to ensure she continued with her treatment.
The woman will be sentenced at a later date.
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