Dad 'should have been most protective person in her life’
THE sentencing in a Queensland court of a single parent who failed to properly feed and care for his severely disabled daughter in the months before she died has been delayed.
Ronald Gary Smith was to learn of his fate for his role in the death of four-year-old Jade from pneumonia today.
But the 42-year-old was unable to face Brisbane District Court after being admitted to hospital.
The court previously heard Smith hoped moving his family from Sydney to Queensland's warmth would improve his girl's health.
But days after arriving in Brisbane in mid-2014, her mother fled the family, leaving Smith - a former furniture removalist who didn't attend high school - to care for their daughter alone.
It was the first in a series of events that ended when Jade died of acute aspiration pneumonia in June 2015, the court heard.
A post-mortem examination found she was severely malnourished with deep bed sores and bone erosion, prosecutor Julie Aylwardsaid.
"(Jade) was denied the necessities of life because she was not adequately fed and her painful injuries were not addressed," she said, quoting a doctor's report.
The court heard Jade suffered a number of serious conditions from birth, including brain abnormalities, and was unable to move or communicate.
She needed to be tube-fed a specially prepared diet co-ordinated by health authorities, which Smith failed to access after the family moved, Ms Aylward said.
Instead, he fed her nutritionally incomplete toddler formula bought from a chemist.
It was wilful neglect that made an already vulnerable child more susceptible to infection, Ms Aylward said.
"Her care was entrusted to her father and he should have been the most protective person in her life."
Smith has pleaded guilty to one count of child cruelty. He will now be sentenced on October 10.