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A woman was sentenced to 18 months in prison for assaulting her stepdaughter with a cricket ball in a sock, causing severe injuries. The girl, who weighed only 22 kilograms at the time, initially lied about how she got the injuries, claiming she slipped and fell. However, doctors were suspicious of her explanation and alerted the child protection unit at Perth Children’s Hospital. The injuries were deemed severe, with concerns of a skull fracture. The woman was convicted of unlawful assault and neglect, with potential sentences of seven to 10 years.

The court heard that the girl returned to her mother the day after the assault with visible injuries, including a black eye, bruising on her cheeks, and swelling on her head. The mother was distraught at the sight of her child’s injuries and immediately took her to Busselton Hospital for treatment. Despite the girl’s initial lies about the cause of her injuries, doctors were able to determine that the injuries were not consistent with a fall and were likely the result of multiple blows to the head.

During the woman’s trial, a pediatrician testified that the injuries were suspicious, further supporting the case against the stepmother. The woman’s lawyer argued for a suspended sentence, citing the special needs of two of her other children who would have to live with their grandparents if she were incarcerated. However, the judge determined that the seriousness of the offenses warranted a custodial sentence, as the woman showed little remorse and refused to accept responsibility for her actions.

The judge sentenced the woman to 18 months for the assault charge and 12 months for neglect, to be served concurrently with a possibility of parole after nine months. Despite the legal outcome, the impact of the assault on the girl and her family has been significant, with lasting trauma for the child. A family friend expressed relief that the stepmother received a custodial sentence, but acknowledged that no sentence could fully account for the emotional toll on the victim and her loved ones.

Outside of court, the family expressed gratitude for the medical professionals who recognized the severity of the girl’s injuries and took action to protect her. A lifetime violence restraining order was issued against the stepmother to ensure that she would never have contact with the girl again. The family emphasized the importance of the doctors who saw through the lies and deception, ultimately leading to the conviction of the stepmother for her abusive actions.

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