Child deserted by chicken man

A HERVEY Bay man who left his three-year-old child alone in a caravan to go drinking, became so intoxicated he started talking to roast chickens, a court has heard.

The 37-year-old, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his child, faced the Hervey Bay District Court yesterday charged with leaving a minor unattended, breaking and entering, and stealing.

On April 2 this year police found the man stumbling along the Esplanade.

The alarm was raised by a Scarness shop owner who witnessed the defendant grab a bag stand before taking it up to the counter and “introducing” the bags to the roast chickens in a bain-marie.

The shop owner had also had complaints from people who had seen the defendant untying boats from their moorings nearby.

He had also been seen stealing a tent from the back seat of a parked car.

When police arrested the man he told them he had no idea where his three-year-old son was.

Eventually the child was found riding his tricycle around the caravan park where he had been left for at least two hours.

The child was wearing soiled clothing and the hot plate in the caravan had been left on high.

Defence barrister Kylie Gillard said her client had a broken foot at the time and been on pain medication.

She also said he had suffered ill health since, including a heart attack and had recently been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Judge Leanne Clare told the defendant it was a miracle his child had not been harmed.

“I have no doubt you love your son, but on this day you put him at risk,” Judge Clare said. “He was at the mercy of anyone ...”

“Even without the risk of a predator, there are an infinite amount of ways he could have hurt himself.”

The man was sentenced to 12 months probation and 100 hours of community service.

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