Kids home alone ends in court

HE had just tucked his children, aged three and four, into bed when his three stepdaughters phoned to be picked up from the school dance.

The intoxicated 27-year-old father decided to leave the kids in bed and run the 1.5km down a Gympie street to collect the girls.

When he got there, the principal decided he was too drunk and would not hand the girls over.

The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his children, pleaded guilty in Maroochydore District Court on Wednesday to leaving children under 12 unattended for an unreasonable time on December 7 last year.

Crown prosecutor Lily Brisick said the man was on bail for other offences which included stealing food, drinks and computers.

She said the sentence should reflect the need for people to take their parenting responsibilities seriously.

Barrister Steve Courtney said his client, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, now had two more children with his current partner.

He said the man had moved back to the Coast to right himself and hoped to return to his family in Gympie soon.

Mr Courtney said his offending usually related to supporting his family.

“He had arranged a cab to deliver them to the dance,” he said.

“He had arranged a taxi to collect them too but he received a phone call from the eldest that it was not there.

“The two youngest were sound asleep, he knew they weren’t likely to wake up.

“He’s disappointed in himself, he hates himself for doing it.

“It can be distinguished from people who leave their kids in the car while they go gambling.”

Judge Keith Dodds sentenced the man to 18 months probation.

“Your behaviour involved a lapse of judgment on the night in question,” he said.

“This matter is not in the same category as a case where a carer has left a child in a situation where they may come to harm to pursue some interest of their own.”

Gympie Times

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