Newcastle courthouse. A HUNTER mother accused of “gross criminal negligence” in the death of her 12-year-old daughter will face a manslaughter trial in Newcastle Supreme Court.
The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was represented by solicitor Mark Ramsland when she appeared in Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday.
The woman pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and the matter was committed for trial to the Sydney Supreme Court in June.
The girl’s step-father, who also cannot be identified for legal reasons, was committed for trial on charges of murder and reckless grievous bodily harm during a court appearance on April 12.
A raft of other alleged offences, including seven counts of common assault and 10 counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm,will serve as back-up and related offences when the man faces a trial in the Newcastle Supreme Court either later this year or early in 2018.
The man was arrested several kilometres from the family home on September 23, 2015, two hours after the girl’s mother discovered her daughter dead in her bed.
“I woke up about 5.40pm,” the girl’s mother allegedly told detectives.
“I went into [the girl’s] room and she wouldn’t wake up.
“I touched her and she was cold.”
Prosecutors will allege the girl hadbeen continually physically abused by her step-fatherin the lead-up to her death beforeshe was allegedly bashed by her stepfather and put to bed in the family home.
“He has hit her before,” the mother allegedly told the detectives after the girl’s death.
“He mostly takes her into the bedroom and won’t let me in.
“Sometimes he uses something to hit her with.”
The girl’s mother was arrested in June last year andcharged with her manslaughter after detectives conductedan eight-month investigation into the girl’s life in the lead-up to her death.
It will be alleged the mother showed “gross criminal negligence” by knowing that the girl was being continually physically abused.
According to a statement in the brief of evidence, detectives investigating the death alleged that it “became apparent that [the mother] was complicit in [the girl’s] death”.
“There was further evidence alleging [the step-father] had assaulted the victim a number of times prior to her death,” the statement reads.
The step-father remains in custody, where he has been since his arrest in September, 2015, while the mother remains on conditional bail.
Both will appear in Sydney Supreme Court on June 2 to set a trial date in the Newcastle Supreme Court.