A 39-year-old mother of four young children was fined €10,000 by a court in Larnaca on Tuesday after she apparently got drunk and left her newborn child unattended for hours and exposed to the cold.
The court censured the mother who in different circumstances would have faced a custodial sentence. The law bans the imprisonment of women with children unless the nature of the offence is deemed serious by the court combined with the circumstances of the case or a woman is deemed a danger to society.
“It is inconceivable for a minor, especially a newborn, to be neglected by their mother in the family home where they should find care, protection and affection,” the court said. “Under other circumstances, the court would have been looking at imposing a jail sentence of many months.”
The court added that it lacked such capability in the case in question because the defendant was a mother of a child under three-years-old and of three other young children.
The 39-year-old was charged after letting her baby cry for hours in a cold and unhygienic environment next to the open balcony door while it was raining in the early hours of December 15, 2018.
Concerned neighbours who heard the baby’s cries notified the Aradippou police station whose officers went to the apartment where the woman lived.
The court heard that the officers found the baby cold, blue in the face from crying, inside a dirty pram, clothes wet with urine.
The mother stank of alcohol and had difficulty communicating with the officers who said she could not stand on her two feet.
Beer cans, cigarette butts and trash were found strewn in various parts of the flat, the court heard.
The baby was taken to hospital by a welfare officer and the mother was arrested for exposing the child to danger and abuse.