Topics:  ipswich, ipswich magistrates court, parents, pub

Kids home alone, parents at pub

AN IPSWICH couple left their four young children at home so they could go to the pub and play pool.

The children, aged between 12 months and 10 years, were reported as being home alone at Goodna about 5pm on February 20.

The Ipswich Child Protection Investigation Unit attended and spoke to the three eldest children about their parents' whereabouts.

The children said they didn't know where their mum and dad were, and they had been home alone since after school.

They told police they didn't know how to contact them but their mum told them to "stay in the back room" while they were gone.

At about 7pm the 34-year-old mother and 26-year-old father, who cannot be named, returned home and confessed they had been playing snooker at the Goodna RSL.

Ipswich Magistrates Court was told CCTV footage from the RSL showed the couple there from between about 4.30pm and 6.45pm.

Police Prosecutor Constable Allison Davies said to leave four children home alone to go out for a recreational purpose was not acceptable.

Const Davies said the mother initially lied about where they had been, telling police she was picking up her husband and renting DVDs.

Defence lawyer Yasser Khan said the couple had no criminal history and ultimately both co-operated with police.

Mr Khan said the family was being supervised by the Department of Child Safety which directed the parents to undertake parenting courses.

Magistrate Donna MacCallum said leaving children unsupervised carried a maximum penalty of three years jail, reflecting just how serious the legislation regarded the offence.

The couple pleaded guilty to four counts each of leaving a child under 12 for an unreasonable time without making provisions for the supervision and care for the child.

They were fined $600 each without a conviction recorded.

The court was told the father had an optometry degree and hoped to gain employment in that industry soon.

The mother was studying a Diploma of Justice and wanted to be a police officer.



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