Couple who neglected child sentenced

DEENA COSTER
Last updated 05:00 20/02/2014

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A couple who neglected a toddler, leaving fractures, scabies and lice untreated, have been given a chance to stay in the community.

In the Hawera District Court yesterday, Hope Phillippa Sinclair Plews and Troy Dean Waite, both 22, were sentenced to five months' community detention on a charge of neglecting a child. The victim of the offending is Plews' two-year-old son.

The pair, no longer together, had earlier pleaded guilty to the charge.

In September last year an ambulance was called to the couple's Eltham home after the victim pulled a 20kg computer hard-drive down on his arm while he was left unattended in a bedroom.

While being assessed by medical staff other injuries were noticed on the boy.

In sentencing the pair, Judge Allan Roberts said these injuries, which included five fractures to the arm and skull area, scarring to his legs, as well as scabies and headlice, were the result of a lack of adult supervision rather than any deliberate act.

He said the pair had been living together at the time of the offending.

"That is when I suspect your collective inadequacies were highlighted," the judge said.

However, Judge Roberts said the prospects for Plews and Waite appeared better now than they had been at the time of the offending and they had both taken responsibility for what had happened.

"It seems they are in a better space today than they were at the time," he said.

Plews' lawyer Julian Hannan said his client had accepted her role in what happened and had engaged in counselling with Child Youth and Family.

Kelly Marriner, counsel for Waite, said he had engaged in a training course and had made several changes in his life since his arrest.

In addition to the community detention sentence Plews was ordered to complete 180 hours of community work. Waite was also sentenced to six months of supervision with a special condition to complete the Taratahi farm course and any other nominated programme.

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