An appeal by a Shoalhaven woman against the severity of her two-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to neglecting a child has been dismissed.
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The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons in order to protect the child's identity, was charged with failing to provide for a child causing danger of death.
Magistrate Gabriel Fleming sentenced the woman to two years’ jail with a non-parole period of six months in Nowra Local Court last December.
Judge Michael King dismissed the 27-year-old woman’s appeal in Nowra District Court, saying the current sentence would continue.
The woman and a man, then aged 34, first came to the notice of police on December 12, 2015 after a member of the public contacted authorities with concerns for the welfare of a child.
Police who were first on the scene at the family’s Shoalhaven home said they were horrified by the child's physical appearance, saying the girl, then aged four, appeared "extremely underweight", had yellow, jaundiced skin on most of her body, however her lower legs and feet were purple in colour, with red patches.
The child was immediately taken to hospital by paramedics who made similar observations about her condition, court documents stated.
Detectives from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse Squad investigated the incident, with the girl and a sibling (then aged one) removed from the couple’s care.
A doctor’s report presented to the court said if the child had not been taken into care it was likely she would have progressed towards emancipation and death from starvation over a few weeks.
When interviewed by police, the woman said the child “had a good diet … healthy food … and enjoyed a lots of exercise”.
The papers said the woman “suffered chronic anxiety and depression, social avoidance with underlying borderline personality disorder”.
Her co-accused, a male, is still before the courts, while the woman will be eligible for parole in June.
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