The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from a woman in Kaohsiung sentenced to seven years and six months in prison over the death of her five-month-old child, who was left at home alone for two days in 2019.
The 21-year-old defendant, surnamed Yang (楊), was the sole caregiver of the child, who had been diagnosed with a congenital heart condition often associated with malnutrition.
On the night of Dec. 25, 2019, Yang went out with her elder daughter, leaving the younger child at home alone without having made any arrangements for someone to feed or care for her, the High Court’s Kaohsiung branch said in its ruling on Oct. 20 last year.
Photo: Taipei Times
When Yang returned home two days later at 5:35pm on Dec. 27, 2019, she found that the younger daughter had stopped breathing, the high court said.
However, she did not call an ambulance until 6:23pm, it said.
A forensic medical examination determined that congenital heart disease was the leading cause of the infant’s death, coupled with rhabdomyolysis and acute tubular necrosis, both of which are associated with acute kidney failure.
The Ciaotou District Court had originally sentenced Yang to six years in prison for abandonment resulting in death, but the verdict was appealed by prosecutors on the grounds that it was too light.
The Ciaotou District Prosecutors’ Office said that despite being aware of her younger daughter’s health problems and regular medication needs, Yang had intentionally abandoned her.
The High Court on Feb. 14 ruled that Yang had routinely neglected to feed her younger daughter on a regular basis, thus failing to fulfill even the most basic duties as a parent.
However, it said it would only increase Yang’s sentence to seven-and-a-half years as she had confessed and reported the infant’s death.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is final.
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