The Department of Public Prosecution will review its options to launch an appeal after a child neglect case was dismissed in Orange Local Court on Wednesday due to a date error.
The DPP was prosecuting a case against a man and woman for failing to provide reasonable and proper food or medical treatment to twin toddler girls.
Reading from the fact sheet tendered by the prosecution as evidence, magistrate Elizabeth Ellis said the man requested medical assistance because one of the children had "stopped breathing and had gone stiff".
The child was flown to Westmead Children's Hospital and scans and testing showed a skull fracture, "old and new head injuries", acute and chronic subdural hematoma, raised intercranial pressure from an "untreated head injury", and she was severely malnourished.
The charges are serious and I'm not going to lightly walk away from them.Magistrate Elizabeth Ellis
The second child was also discovered to have an occipital skull fracture, she was less malnourished but was in "sub-optimal health and nutrition", was underweight and she had 32 bruises on different parts of her body.
The pair pleaded not guilty to the neglect charges, which would have been fine-only offences if they were found guilty, however changes to the law would now make this a jailable offence.
"The charges are serious and I'm not going to lightly walk away from them," Ms Ellis said.
However, the allegations of neglect were not defended because the case was dismissed due to the wrong dates being listed on court attendance notices.
The Crown is the sole party that must accept responsibility.Magistrate Elizabeth Ellis
The dates were from when the girls were in hospital while under the care of the minister, on November 15 and 17, 2016, rather than for when they were in the care of either the man or woman.
The prosecutor requested to change the dates saying it would not change the Crown case, which was based on the medical material detailed in the fact sheet and there were no specific times because "malnourishment cannot happen in one hour".
However, Ms Ellis said the date range was clear in the indictment and court attendance notices and made up the basis for the defence arguments.
She said it would be "prejudicial" to the defence if she allowed the matter to proceed without taking the dates into account considering the DPP had 15 previous court dates to discover and remedy the problem.
"The Crown is the sole party that must accept responsibility," Ms Ellis said.
The DPP was also ordered to pay two days worth of legal costs for the pair.
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