Parents face court for leaving kids home alone
A COUPLE faced court Tuesday for leaving their children, aged eight and 11, at home while they nipped out to watch a band play.
The Mackay parents, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left the two children at home about 7.30pm on a Friday in late April, Mackay Magistrates Court was told.
The man and woman, aged 48 and 44, each pleaded guilty to two charges of leaving a child under the age of 12 unattended.
A neighbour knocked on the door, concerned with the children's welfare, and found them home alone, the court was told. Police arrived about 9pm, shortly before the parents returned at 9.20pm.
Police prosecutor Nathaniel Gillis said the children had had a bath and were told to go to sleep.
"(They) told them they would be back later this evening," he said.
"At about 8.55pm, after being earlier advised the children would be left alone, (the neighbour) was concerned ... about 9pm the police conducted a check of the house."
The parents were questioned about the state of the house, which Mr Gillis told the court was "cluttered".
Neither of the children had phones to contact the parents.
The Department of Child Safety became involved, however, cleared the parents of any wrong doing.
The couple has two older children.
Duty lawyer Rosie Varley said the pair were model parents and neither had any criminal history.
"The children are currently living at home and I'm instructed the older children, the 19-year-old, does assist with child care in regards to the two younger children," she said.
"They were co-operative with police, they did engage with the Department of Child Safety and they made forward admissions in regards to leaving the children at home."
Magistrate Damien Dwyer was at a loss to an appropriate penalty, seemingly exasperated by the charges.
"The department has been involved, (it's) done an investigation and nothing's come out of it - not a lot of a point of that... it's not a chronic problem," Mr Dwyer said.
In lieu of punishment, Mr Dwyer put the parents on a good behaviour bond of $750 for a year.