What happened when Casino childcare appealed guilty verdict
A CASINO childcare operator has won its appeal to overturn a conviction which found it had failed to report hazards that left children in harm's way to authorities.
The operator of Rainbow Station Early Education Centre in Casino, LPN Childcare Pty Ltd ATF Liesl Pyke-Nott Family Trust, was found guilty in March of not protecting children from harm or hazard and failing to notify the regulatory authority about complaints raised.
The childcare's director, Liesl Pyke-Nott, was also found guilty on two counts of liability when body corporate contravenes.
Magistrate Brett Thomas had found the childcare operator had failed to report certain incidents to the regulatory authority, including complaints made about broken Perspex in the playground, a parent's concern after they'd found a handprint on their child's back and the alleged lack of supervision by staff member, Anthony Purcell.
But Judge Jeffery McLennan overturned those convictions on Wednesday in the Lismore District Court.
He stated that in all three incidents the prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt any of the incidents occurred.
In relation the handprint complaint, Judge McLennan said while he did not dispute the mother of the child had contacted Pyke-Nott about the handprint, she had simply made "inquiries" and not an official complaint to Pyke-Nott and therefore the childcare operator did not have to report the case to the Department of Education.
Judge McLennan said the allegations about Mr Purcell's actions in the playground was
based on a difference of opinions as to what amount of "unprofessional conduct" was carried out.
He said the prosecution failed to show any evidence to state the children in his care at the time were at risk.
Meanwhile, Pyke-Nott, 46, lost her appeal to overturn a conviction of giving false information in an interview, where she was questioned about the employment record of Mr Purcell prior to June 2017.
Judge McLennan said both verbal and written evidence showing Mr Purcell was employed at the childcare centre from February to June 2017 gave reason that Ms Pyke-Nott lied during her interview.
He said Pyke-Nott was the sole person responsible for rosters, had the only access to CCTV footage of the centre which she could view from her mobile and it was "not reasonably possible" that she did not know Mr Purcell was working there.
The matter will return to Lismore District Court on October 16, where both parties will discuss costs.
Mr Purcell has never been charged in relation to these allegations.