Sara Dodd prosecutes parents for causing serious harm to 10-year-old child

April 8, 2014

Sara Dodd from Exchange Chambers has prosecuted a couple who admitted causing serious harm to a child after their 10-year-old daughter was hospitalised suffering severe malnutrition.

An investigation was launched by police and social services when the girl collapsed.

She was admitted to hospital for treatment to severe malnutrition, gross nutritional deficiencies, a distended abdomen and chronic ulcers.

The 32-year-old stepfather of the girl pleaded guilty to causing serious harm to a child.

The charge, relating to the four months up to April last year, says he caused the girl to suffer serious physical harm by depriving her of food.

His partner, 30, and the child’s mother admitted failing to protect her daughter from the risk and harm which she ought to have foreseen.

Prosecuting, Sara Dodd said it was suggested by the mother that the daughter had ‘challenging and difficult behaviour’.

But she added: “It’s a mother’s perspective of her daughter but not a reason to deprive her of food.”

Sentencing was adjourned for reports to May 22, when Judge Foster vowed to review the reporting restrictions.