Maximum $22,000 fine for leaving a child locked in car
IF THE mother of an eight-year-old Coraki boy who was left locked in a police paddy wagon for three hours had locked her son in her car for the same time she would face a maximum fine of $22,000.
Last Wednesday, Mundhra Williams and his cousins were picked up by police at Coraki for throwing rocks and eggs at a car at the sewerage treatment plant.
The other boys were taken home by the officer, but because Mundhra’s mother Jane was at work, he was taken back to the police station and left locked in the back of the paddy wagon for three hours.
Meanwhile, the officer who locked him in the paddy wagon left in another police vehicle to go to a job at Evans Head.
Ms Williams complained to police about how her son was treated and an investigation has been launched, which will be overseen by the NSW Ombudsman.
Laws governing leaving children and young people in cars come under the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.
Section 231 of the act concerns leaving children and young persons unsupervised in motor vehicles.
For the purposes of the act, a child is defined as a person under the age of 16 and a young person is a person between the age of 16 and 18.
“A person who leaves any child or young person in the person’s care in a motor vehicle without proper supervision for such period or in such circumstances that:
(a) the child or young person becomes or is likely to become emotionally distressed, or
(b) the child’s or young person’s health becomes or is likely to become permanently or temporarily impaired, is guilty of an offence,” the act states.
The maximum penalty for the offence is 200 penalty units (one penalty unit equals $110).
Brad Hazzard is the NSW minister responsible for the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998.