Australia Mother who believed 'hand of God' would heal her daughter jailed for endangering child's life
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A Toowoomba mother who relied on the "hand of God" to heal her sick daughter has been jailed for endangering the six-year-old girl's life.
The 46-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was charged in 2019 with failing to supply the necessaries of life, after her daughter was taken to Toowoomba Base Hospital's emergency department in an unresponsive state.
The Toowoomba District Court heard the girl had to be resuscitated by hospital staff, was extremely pale and weighed just 13.4 kilograms when she was brought in by her father.
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The girl had been vomiting and suffering incontinence in the weeks leading up to her admission to hospital.
During the three-day trial, doctors who treated the child at Toowoomba and the Queensland Children's Hospital said she had been minutes from death and without treatment, the six-year-old had been close to dying.
The court heard the defendant had thought her daughter had the flu or worms, but doctors found she had been suffering from undiagnosed type one diabetes.
The mother, who represented herself, told the court she had nothing to hide and had not denied anything.
She told the court she was a daughter of God and relied on Him to heal her daughter.
"I've never had to take my children or myself to the doctor because He has promised healing to us," she said.
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The mother-of-eight told the court she could see how sick her daughter was at the time.
"I'm not denying it at all," she said.
"She was sick, she had renal failure, swelling on the brain and a blood clot.
"[But] God has promised healing."
The defendant told the court her daughter, now eight, was well and had no ongoing medical complications.
"She's a smart girl … she's at the top of the class," she said.
"I see the Hand of God in this."
It took the jury just over an hour to find the woman guilty.
'Breach of responsibility'
In her sentencing submission, Crown prosecutor Chantelle Petrie said the case was an example of a serious breach of parental responsibility.
"You can't play chicken in the name of faith," Ms Petrie told the court.
"A cloak of faith doesn't permit you to abdicate this duty."
In sentencing, Judge Jennifer Rosengren said the woman had not demonstrated any remorse or insight into her offending.
"You failed to seek [medical attention] for [your daughter] when it was clearly required," Judge Rosengren said.
"You extended her suffering needlessly.
"It is necessary to impose a significant penalty in the hope to deter others from engaging in such objectively dangerous and unacceptable conduct whilst pursuing personal spiritual or religious beliefs."
The woman's 49-year-old husband was given a six-month suspended sentence over the same case earlier this year.
She was jailed for 18 months and will be eligible for parole after serving five months.
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