A NSW woman jailed for neglecting her cancer-stricken former partner, who was covered in lice and his own faeces when healthcare workers found him, is appealing against her conviction and sentence.
Libby Jade Baker, 44, was charged with manslaughter over the 2012 death of 58-year-old Johnathan Young.
She was found guilty of the charge in 2021 and sentenced in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court late last year to a prison term of five years, with a non-parole period of three years.
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Baker was taken into custody at that time and appeared in the Court of Criminal Appeal on Friday via audiovisual link.
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Baker’s lawyer Madeleine Avenell SC submitted while her client was responsible for some of the injuries Young sustained due to negligence, his cause of death was not proved.
She questioned whether the prosecution, at trial, proved beyond reasonable doubt how the injuries Baker caused contributed to Young’s death.
Avenell submitted there was a reasonable possibility the cause of death could have been attributed to an independent health condition or event and not caused by the injuries Baker is responsible for.
“If it’s possible … then that means causation is not proved beyond reasonable doubt,” she told the court.
Avenell also submitted the sentence was manifestly excessive.
Johnathan Young died in hospital. Credit: 7NEWS
Crown prosecutor Ann Bonnor argued otherwise.
“When the court considers all of the evidence, including the views of all the experts, the court would not have a reasonable doubt that the effects of neglect … contributed to Mr Young’s death,” she told the court.
Young was diagnosed with terminal rectal and renal cancer in April 2012. He had already suffered multiple strokes and was unable to care for himself, leaving him to rely on Baker to help provide palliative care at his home in Windsor, in Sydney’s northwest.
In October 2012, a healthcare worker found Young covered in his own faeces and with various untreated wounds and organised for him to be taken to hospital.
Libby Baker during a police interview. Credit: 7NEWS
At the hospital, nurses also discovered Young was riddled with lice, including in his armpits, and was suffering wounds in such severe necrosis one had eaten down to the dying man’s bones.
He weighed 35kg at the time.
Young was described as severely malnourished, despite having a good appetite upon admission to hospital. He had not been cleaned or fed properly for weeks.
A coroner found Young’s neglect contributed to his death.
The hearing continues.
– With AAP
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