Tags: manslaughter

2 Jul 2009, Comments (9)

We’ve been here before

Author: Helen

A couple are living in the same house. A child dies of catastrophic neglect. The mother is a prescription drug abuser and unable to cope with a (special needs) child, with heaven knows what other things going on, but clearly quite mentally incompetent.

The mother is charged with murder, but the father is charged only with manslaughter.

Where is this feeling of deja vu coming from?

Oh yes, this.

One year later:

The father’s defence was that his wife was the only person who could feed and care for their daughter because of her autism, and the mother had never indicated there was a problem with the girl.

What. a. crock.

The father is completely invisible in this account, except as “and her husband” at the beginning of the article. I did see a brief glimpse of him on the news, face pixillated, blaming the Department of Community Services. There’s a certain type of person that will find someone else to blame, no matter how damning the evidence.

So, let me get this straight: you’re an adult living in the same house with your married or de-facto long term partner, and your partner is not coping to the extent where she allows one child to die slowly over a period of weeks or months (with comcomitant disappearance of child, urine stench, etc); you demonstrate a shocking and callous lack of care towards both your daughter and her obviously unwell mother. And you’re considered less culpable.

I’d say he failed both of them. But it seems the Law here in Australia is still blindly essentialist. Or an Ass. Or both.