Young mother steals son from Child Safety and goes to NSW
A YOUNG mum wiped away tears in Rockhampton District Court yesterday as she heard evidence about her son's abduction.
But it wasn't a masked stranger who took her child.
She was the one charged with the crime and she pleaded guilty to it.
The 22-year-old took her son, eight months, on December 20, 2013, four days after the Department of Child Safety took him from her care.
Crown Prosecutor Megan Jones said during the visit she became verbally aggressive towards staff after asking about medical treatment for her son, who was born with a turned-in foot.
She then walked out of the building with him and was found in NSW 17 days later, where she agreed to hand her son over to authorities.
Yesterday the woman pleaded guilty to abducting a child under 16 and two other summary offences.
The court heard she struggled to cope with her son's condition before the department took him.
ATSILS defence lawyer Maree Willey said the woman's emotions were running high when she abducted her son, now 18 months old.
"There was no malicious intent, she's just a young mother who was finding it difficult to cope and reacted the wrong way," Ms Willey said.
"There is no evidence the child experienced stress or concern over what happened."
The woman has three children; she gave birth to the first when she was 16.
Her other children live with their father's mother in Gympie and Ms Willey said her client's relationship with him was impacted by domestic violence.
Judge Michael Burnett said while he understood the circumstances were personally distressing, her actions were unacceptable.
"Child Safety doesn't take children because they want to, not because it sounds like a good idea at the time, they do it because … they are concerned with the welfare of the child," he said.
"If you are unhappy with their decisions … you take the matter to court."
She was sentenced to 18 months in prison with a parole eligibility date of May 12, 2015.
"She has the benefit of youth, however personal deterrence looms large in this case," he said.
"You have been afforded a lot of opportunities by the courts to try and rehabilitate … you do not seem to take court orders very seriously. You are young, you are not beyond hope and redemption."