A Wanganui health professional who pleaded guilty to manslaughter after her child was left in a hot car has been discharged without conviction.
Before Justice Simon France in the High Court at Wanganui this morning, the woman began crying at the first mention of the boy's name.
The court heard the boy died of heatstroke and dehydration. He was discovered only after his creche texted and then phoned to inquire where he was.
The defendant sobbed as the summary of facts was read out in court.
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About 20 people attended in the public gallery, many sharing tearful hugs during a morning adjournment.
The 16-month-old boy, whose name has been suppressed, died outside her workplace on January 16. Police have not publicly confirmed the circumstances of his death, but charged the 35-year-old mother with his manslaughter in April.
The charging document stated she "omitted without lawful excuse to perform her legal duty to provide that child with necessaries, thereby bringing the death of the child in circumstances where her omission was a major departure from the standard of care expected of a reasonable person to whom that legal duty applied".
She pleaded guilty to the charge last month and was referred to Restorative Justice. Her lawyer, Debbie Goodlet, applied for a discharge without a conviction.
Justice France began proceedings this morning by ordering permanent name suppression for the toddler, the defendant and her place of work.
After the sentencing, Crown Prosecutor Lance Rowe said the court had to balance the premium that the law placed on the vulnerability of children versus the "exceptional circumstances" in this case.