Rocky teacher locked child in car while she played pokies
A ROCKHAMPTON teacher has had a child taken out of her care after she locked them in a car while she played pokies.
The woman, in her 60s, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fronted Rockhampton Magistrates Court today, pleading guilty to one count of leaving a child under the age of 12 unattended.
Police prosecutor Sergeant Shaun Janes said the woman entered the Berserker Tavern at 6.40pm on November 18, parking her car near the bistro area, leaving the child in a booster seat with a 25mm gap of open window.
He said the temperatures on the day were 21.2 to 32.3 degrees celcius.
Sgt Janes said the woman played the pokies between 6.40pm and 6.55pm, on three different machines making two withdrawals.
The court heard tavern staff were alerted to the child in the car and the duty manager took the child into their custody while waiting for police to arrive.
Staff told the woman to stop playing the pokies and the woman got into an argument with the duty manager about her actions.
Sgt Janes said the woman told police she had gone into the tavern to use the ATM to withdraw cash for her daughter for medication.
He said she claimed she only put "one note" in a machine and got "stuck in a win pattern".
Sgt Janes said the defendant also told police she only played one machine during a 10 minute period.
He said she changed her version of events after being shown CCTV footage of her playing more than one machine and for more than 10 minutes.
Defence lawyer Grant Cagney said his client had cared for the child for a number of years, but the child had now been taken out of her care.
He said his client had been a registered teacher and a foster carer for years.
Magistrate Cameron Press said he could not help but feel there was a gambling problem, due to the woman's lack of criminal record and personal background.
Mr Cagney said his client's daughter, who was a psychologist, had raised this with his client, however the defendant did not feel she had a problem.
Mr Press said the defendant's actions of leaving the child in a car at sunset for 20 minutes was selfish.
The court heard the child suffered no injuries and Queensland Ambulance Service was not called.
Mr Press ordered the defendant pay a $1200 fine and no conviction was recorded.