Woman leaves child alone at McDonald's for hours
A 29-year-old woman who left her six year old child alone in McDonald's for several hours has been convicted but not punished in the Kingaroy Magistrates Court this morning.
Police prosecutor Pepe Gangemi said at 8.30am on October 27, 2016, the woman went to Kangaroo Point McDonald's.
"She left the child there, who was six-years-old at the time.
"About three hours later, police were called when the child was still sitting in McDonald's unattended."
Sgt Gangemi said the child believed someone was going to come and pick him up.
"On that day, the defendant told police she'd been using ice in the previous days and was suffering from hallucinations and paranoia.
"She believed her and the young child were being followed, so she went to McDonald's and left him there.
"It was her intention to lead these people away."
Sgt Gangemi said the woman got on a train to an unknown location.
"Later that day when she went back to McDonald's, the child wasn't there - he was in the care of children's services and police."
Defence lawyer Mark Werner said the 29-year-old woman had recently been before the district court for unrelated charges.
"Just to inform the court of recent sittings, my client pleaded guilty to a single count of arson.
"She was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and immediate parole," he said.
"She has re-established contact with the father of the child, and she sees her son every day before school and drops him off to school."
Mr Werner said it was important to note the charge was from two years ago.
"There's been no further offending. There's a history of mental illness in the family," he said.
"Her mother was schizophrenic and committed suicide and my client has PTSD after finding her mother's body."
Mr Werner said she had been drug-free for a significant amount of time.
"There was a psychiatric report obtained, which was handed up to district court.
"Schizo-affective disorder has been looked at but she hasn't been clinically evaluated.
"She instructed me she was getting messages from the TV and that people were chasing her," Mr Werner said.
"As she has been dealt with by the district court and is currently on parole, I submit she could be convicted and not further punished."
Magistrate Louisa Pink took into account Mr Werner's submissions regarding the defendant's mental health.
"But I am troubled by the charge of leaving a six-year-old unaccompanied for several hours," she said.
"There seems to be some support in that a substantial amount of documentation, which I'm told has been filed in the district court before you were sentenced to two years' imprisonment for an arson charge and you're currently on parole.
"I accept from Mr Werner, as an officer of the court, that your mental health issues have been documented and your engagement in rehabilitation has been documented."
The woman was convicted and not further punished.
The convictions were recorded.