Trial begins for mother charged with manslaughter

TRIAL BEGINS: Jayde Poole (centre) arriving at the Supreme Court in Bendigo.
TRIAL BEGINS: Jayde Poole (centre) arriving at the Supreme Court in Bendigo.

Day 1: A SUPREME Court jury has been asked to decide whether a Bendigo mother whose baby daughter died after being left in a hot car was criminally negligent.

Jayde Poole, 29, was charged with the manslaughter of her five-month-old daughter Bella, who died from heatstroke on a hot evening in December, 2012.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court trial in Bendigo heard opening addresses from the prosecution and defence.

The court was told that on the day of the death Poole took the baby and her older sibling to buy takeaway food.

When they returned to the house a short time later, Poole and the older child went inside, leaving the baby in the car.

About two hours later, Poole went to check on Bella, who she believed was asleep in her cot, and discovered her missing.

Police were called and soon after they arrived, Bella was discovered in her capsule in the rear of Poole's car, parked at the front of the property.

Paramedics worked to revive the infant before she was declared dead at the hospital.

The court heard the outside temperature while Bella was in the car averaged about 30 degrees.

On Wednesday, Crown prosecutor Nicholas Papas QC told the court Poole was a good mother who had unknowingly left her child in the car.

"The accused was a good mum, I am not suggesting she abandoned her child," Mr Papas said.

"The Crown case is not that she deliberately left the baby. She completely forgot the baby was in the car."

But Mr Papas said Poole breached her duty of care and showed gross negligence by failing to remove Bella from the vehicle and not checking on her sufficiently during the following two hours.

"It's not enough to say you forgot. The baby should have been taken out immediately."

Defence barrister Shane Gardner told the court there was very little dispute about the facts of the case.

He said it was conceded Poole owed a duty of care to her daughter and that the infant had died from heatstroke.

But he said the defence would argue Poole had not been criminally negligent and urged the jury to find his client not guilty of manslaughter.

After opening addresses the jury visited the scene of the alleged crime and the fast-food venue, before viewing footage of the house and car filmed as part of the Homicide Squad's investigation.

The trial, before Justice Bernard Bongiorno is expected to continue for more than a week.

EARLIER: THE trial of Bendigo mother Jayde Poole has started in the Supreme Court in Bendigo.

A jury was selected this morning and the Crown has started its opening address.

Poole was arraigned in the Supreme Court yesterday morning and pleaded not guilty to one count of manslaughter.

Poole has been charged with the manslaughter of her five-month-old daughter Bella, who died after being left in a car for two hours on a hot evening on December 11, 2012.

Prosecutor Nicholas Papas this morning told the court Poole was a good mother and the Crown was not suggesting she abandoned her child. 

He said the Crown case was not that she deliberately left the baby, but completely forgot the baby was in the car.

He said Poole breached her duty of care by failing to remove Bella from the car.

"She was the parent of Bella and as such, as does every parent, owes a duty of care,'' he said.


A previous version of this story reported defence counsel Mr Shane Gardner as having conceded that the deceased child died as a result of a breach of the accused’s duty of care to her. That report was wrong.

No such concession was made.

The key areas of dispute in the trial are whether the accused breached her duty of care to her child, and whether that breach was conscious, voluntary and deliberate. 

We apologise for any misunderstanding.