HORRIFIC INJURIES: Maryborough man Jesse Lee James caused horrific injuries to a two-year-old girl in 2017.
HORRIFIC INJURIES: Maryborough man Jesse Lee James caused horrific injuries to a two-year-old girl in 2017. Contributed

'Worse than Mason Lee': Carer on toddler attack

THE two-year-old girl, who suffered broken bones and a ruptured bowel at the hands of a Maryborough man, had injuries "far worse" than those of slain Sunshine Coast toddler Mason Jet Lee.

That's according to the two-year-old's former foster carer who says the child should never had been returned home in the first place.

It comes as Queensland's Shadow Attorney General calls on the Palaszczuk Government to immediately appeal the sentence handed down to Jesse Lee James in Maryborough District Court which heard his tiny victim had suffered a broken back, pelvis and damaged bowel.

The 29-year-old, who was not related to the child, was sentenced to six years in jail for the offence of grievous bodily harm but taking into account the two years already served, was given immediate parole eligibility.

This is despite a previous conviction for bashing a three-year-old child.

While he remains behind bars for now, he can apply to the parole board for his freedom.

The girl's former foster carer yesterday told the Chronicle medical records showed her stomach lining had been completely ripped away as if she had been "hit with a blunt instrument".

"It's the same force as a car going about 60km an hour," she said

"The doctors told police her injuries were worse than Mason Lee."

Mason Jet Lee
Mason Jet Lee

22-month-old Mason was found dead by paramedics in 2016. He had suffered a fatal blow to his stomach by his mothers' partner William Andrew O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan was jailed for nine years for Mason's manslaughter in 2018.

Queensland Children's Hospital was contacted for comment but said they could not confirm as the toddler had been in the care of child safety at the time of her admission.

The carer said the child had previously turned up to her house with a black eye and she had repeatedly expressed concerns to the department about the risk the child would be exposed to if she was returned.

The court heard that on the day the child was taken to hospital, it was a child safety worker who found her.

Judge Tony Moynihan described the injuries as having been caused by a "high energy force" and that James had shown "callous disregard for the welfare of the child".

A petition calling on Director of Public Prosecutions to appeal the sentence had last night gathered more than 4000 signatures.

The State Opposition has also called on Attorney General Yvette D'ath to appeal the "totally inadequate" sentence.

"James used sickening force against his poor victim and the full force of the law should have been used against him," Shadow Attorney General David Janetzkis said.

"This despicable grub broke the spine and pelvis of a tiny girl and he doesn't deserve a shred of sympathy.

"This man had a previous conviction for bashing a three-year-old and is clearly a grave threat to children."

A spokesperson for the Attorney-General said the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions reviewed all sentences once matters were finalised and "had up to a month to determine whether any appeal of a matter had a reasonable chance of succeeding and advise the Attorney-General accordingly."

Queensland Child Safety Minister Di Farmer was asked whether an investigation would be carried out into the Department of Child Safety's handling of the case and their involvement with the child from the moment she became known to the department to when she was discovered with her injuries.

Ms Farmer replied "there is nothing more important than the safety of children, and it is always a terrible thing when a child comes to harm.

"The Child Protection Act 1999 prevents me from talking about individual cases."