Mother jailed after P made in family kitchen

Last updated 15:00 04/02/2014

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The East

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

Their 32-year-old mother has now 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 drug-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, serious chemical burns, or serious harm to her children. She jailed the woman for two years nine months.

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

She said methamphetamine was a scourge on our society, and created extreme hardship to people who used it and abused it.

The woman's son was found with significant skin lesions. The court heard her daughter was settled now, and stabilised, and the woman should do nothing to upset that and undermine all the good work that had been done, she said.

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

The judge said the woman's offending had been "a self-serving, selfish act" and the mother had failed her children "abysmally", particularly her daughter.

She said the girl was now "seriously disturbed" and it was not all due to methamphetamine.

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.

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

At the same sentencing session a 25-year-old man was sentenced to seven years four months prison with a non-parole period of three years 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 the man now wanted to "sort himself out", and wanted assistance with his drug addiction.

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

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