Meth lab mum harmed her kids

ANNE CLARKSON
Last updated 15:01 04/02/2014

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Children found at a Christchurch drugs-lab house had signs of chemical exposure, rashes and methamphetamine residue in their hair.

Their 32-year-old mother has been jailed on charges of permitting the house to be used for meth production and two charges of neglecting her children, aged 12 and 13 at the time, by exposing them to danger from the drugs lab.

The mother was granted name suppression at the Christchurch District Court sentencing to protect the identity of the children.

Judge Jane Farish said the mother had risked causing death, chemical burns or serious harm to her children.

She jailed the woman for two years and nine months.

Judge Farish said the children had signs of chemical exposure, rashes and methamphetamine residue in their hair.

Methamphetamine was a scourge on society and created extreme hardship for people who used it and abused it, she said.

The woman's daughter was settled now and the woman should do nothing to undermine all the good work that had been done, the judge said.

The effects of methamphetamine on the children could cause chronic disease and behavioural development problems, some of which the children had, she said.

Defence counsel Mark Callaghan said the woman was no longer a drug user, and she had taken steps to be rehabilitated.

She had lost custody of her children, although she still had contact with them, he said.

Judge Farish said the kitchen of the house was set up like a commercial kitchen, and the family's food was in the same cupboards as the beakers and pots for methamphetamine.

At the same sentencing session, Kane Michael Wootton, 25, was sentenced to seven years and four months' prison, with a non-parole period of three years and four months, for using the woman's home to manufacture methamphetamine, setting up another kitchen for manufacture, and possession of equipment and utensils for it.

He was also sentenced on charges of assault, threatening to kill and receiving.

Defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger said Wootton wanted assistance with his drug addiction.

Judge Farish ordered the destruction of all methamphetamine, utensils and chemicals from both addresses.

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