‘Duty of care’: Decision delayed over daycare death tragedy

A MAGISTRATE has reserved his decision over whether a daycare worker will be committed to stand trial over the death of a little boy left on a bus.

Dionne Batrice Grills' barrister Tony Kimmins has argued she was not responsible for the death of Maliq (Meeky) Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, 3, who was allegedly left on the Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning centre bus for six hours in February last year.

The 34-year-old and the centre director Michael Lewis, 45, were both charged with manslaughter as both were allegedly on the bus when he was collected from his house and driven to the centre.

 

Police officers attend Hambledon State School at Edmonton, where a 3 year old was found dead in a Goodstart Early Learning Centre minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Police officers attend Hambledon State School at Edmonton, where a 3 year old was found dead in a Goodstart Early Learning Centre minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE


Mr Kimmins made a "no case" submission on Tuesday in the Cairns Magistrates Court during Ms Grills' committal hearing, and said Mr Lewis was driving the bus and, according to the company's policies, responsible for the boy.

But police prosecutor Megan Howard said all educators at the centre were responsible for the children's safety and the pair were both on the bus so each had a duty of care.

"It can't be that there are two people in the vehicle … and only one of them assumes responsibility," she said.

"As the outside school hours co-ordinator, she would have a duty of care to not only the children in her room, but all the children in the centre generally.

The boy attended the Goodstart Early Learning Centre at Edmonton. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
The boy attended the Goodstart Early Learning Centre at Edmonton. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"That she was on the bus is enough to satisfy your honour, in my submission, that she was capable of owing the child a duty of care.

"There can't be a fluid changing of the extent of someone's responsibility when a child is in your care."

The court had previously heard Meeky was initially forgotten on the morning run with the pair both travelling in the bus to collect him with Mr Lewis at the wheel.

The court was told after the boy was found dead later that afternoon when Mr Lewis returned to the vehicle, neither of the pair took part in a police interview.

Ms Howard said "in the absence" of either of their versions of events, it was uncertain if they alighted from the bus at the same time or separately.

She said that meant the only evidence they could rely on was from staff who saw both of them in the centre a short time after the bus returned.

Magistrate Kevin Priestly reserved his decision until January 20.

Originally published as 'Duty of care': Decision delayed over daycare bus death tragedy



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