Judge: Baby an innocent user of drugs

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 05/10/2012

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A mother who exposed her son to methamphetamine throughout the first three years of his life has been told by a judge she was "repeating the mistakes that you blame the last generation for".

Justice Williams told Donna Todd it was tempting to treat her offending as "stupidity and selfishness on your part" but he needed to recognise that the boy was an innocent victim.

"If only to remind you of your responsibility as a mother and perhaps as a message to other mothers in similar circumstances . . . this must not be done," the judge said while sentencing Todd, 27, in the High Court at Napier yesterday.

Todd had been found guilty of wilfully neglecting her son between his birth in February 2008 and August 2012. She was also being sentenced for a raft of violence and blackmailing charges against her former partner, and for assaulting a fellow prisoner at Arohata prison.

Justice Williams jailed her for 5 years, of which four months was for wilfully neglecting her son - a charge that the judge paid much of his attention to.

He said hair samples from the boy revealed traces of methamphetamine and amphetamine in his system, "meaning at some time he had ingested methamphetamine by breathing fumes or putting something in his mouth that had meth on it".

Todd and friends smoked methamphetamine daily in the house she shared with the boy.

It was not known how badly the boy would be affected but there would no doubt be a psychological impact, Justice Williams said.

"The scary thing, Donna, is that [your son] has become an innocent user of your drugs.

"This now represents another generation in this same cycle. You and your children are repeating the mistakes that you blame the last generation for."

The boy and his sister now live with Todd's mother.

Todd's other offences included several "frenzied and aggressive" assaults on her former partner and a "particularly ugly" assault of an Arohata inmate.

She attacked and stabbed her partner, whom she called "a sugar daddy", with a knife and smashed a ceramic bowl over his head.

She was convicted on two charges of blackmail for demanding money from him and threatening to inform police that he had committed sexual offences against her children if he did not.

He paid her more than $7000 to stop her making the allegations.

Justice Williams said he did not know whether her allegations were true but he accepted Todd believed they were.

She had two previous convictions for aggravated robbery.

Justice Williams said Todd had been sexually abused as a child and "the choices she had made in her adult life pointed to her having a violent, abused and disadvantaged childhood". He urged her to improve herself in prison.

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- The Dominion Post

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