Promise from mother delivered at sentencing

August 9, 2017 | By More

A woman who injured her two-year-old son has now promised a judge that she will be a good mother – and her second child is due in October.

The son who 37-year-old Hua Lin injured is now living in China with his grandparents, and she regularly Skypes him for online video contact.

The Ministry of Vulnerable Children is aware of her pregnancy and her situation. A probation officer at Lin’s Christchurch District Court sentencing told the judge: “If they assess the situation as untenable, they can act.”

Judge Stephen O’Driscoll told Lin: “I want to ensure that nothing like this happens again. I want to ensure that you receive the help and treatment you need to reduce the risk of reoffending.”

Defence counsel James Rapley said Lin had now done parenting courses and was getting psychological help, her father was coming from China to support her, and she had the support of her present partner – the father of the new baby.

The Ministry was aware of her situation and could take the child off her, he said. “But hopefully they will deal with it in a way that involves everyone.”

Judge O’Driscoll said: “I am really concerned about your new child. In saying that, you have a new partner and you have the support of others in the community.

“There will be a number of stresses which are referred to in the psychiatric report, which can increase the various risk factors, and that includes the change to your routine and sleep disturbance.

“The view of the psychiatrist is that you may be vulnerable to post-natal depression.”

Judge O’Driscoll released Lin under intensive supervision for 18 months with a special condition that she attend and complete any programmes or counselling as directed by her probation officer. The judge will also get regular reports on her compliance and her programme under a judicial monitoring scheme.

Lin had pleaded guilty to a charge of injuring her son with reckless disregard for his safety in November 2015.

The injuries to the boy – bruising to his face, body, and legs – were reported by a member of the public, which prompted a police visit. The police required her to get medical attention for him. His pre-school then reported an egg-shaped injury to his forehead, and new bruising to his face.

Lin initially said he had fallen off a chair, and she had got him to jump off a table to strengthen his legs, and had placed him in a yoga position against his wall to improve his poor posture.

She admitted the injuring charge in June and was remanded on bail for sentence.

Judge O’Driscoll said no victim impact statement had been obtained from the boy or his family in China, which would have told the court about his recovery from the injuries.

The judge said at the time of the offending Lin’s parents had returned to China, her husband had left her, she had made a suicide attempt. “I infer you were in a situation where you simply could not cope.”

She had been diagnosed as having a major depressive disorder.

Mr Rapley said Lin was seen as “a lovely person” by the people who supported her, and her acts were inexplicable to them. “But when you are drifting into despair and when there is a major depressive disorder, the world is very different.”

Judge O’Driscoll told Lin: “It is clear to me that there has been a breach of trust on your part. You are a mother. You had a duty and responsibility to nurture, to care, and to love your son, and you let him down.”

When he finished his sentencing, he asked Lin through an interpreter if she had any questions or comments, and she said: “I promise I will be a good mother in the future and I am really remorseful for what I did.”

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Category: Focus

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