It is sheer luck that a three-year-old who was trapped on a bus from a daycare center in southeast Queensland and suffered no serious injuries in over an hour, according to a court hearing.
Andrew Parker, executive director of Guppys Elc Pty Ltd, pleaded guilty to Caboolture Magistrates Court on March 23.
The court heard that on November 12, 2019, a three-year-old boy picked up from duty at around 9:40 a.m. was left on a bus at the operator’s Caboolture Center on Jubilee Street for an hour and a half.
An Education Department prosecutor told the court it was just lucky that the child was found unharmed.
« The child was on the bus that was parked an hour and a half before being found by another adult entering the facility, » prosecutors told the court.
The child was hospitalized but did not suffer any physical injuries from the incident.
« It was really more of a stroke of luck than good management that the child was found, » said the prosecutor.
The court heard that it was an informant at Caboolture Hospital who had called the police about the incident.
« This is something that recently surfaced in Cairns, where a young child died under the same circumstances. The child has been left behind for much longer, but these are the consequences these mistakes can have, » she said.
« The management staff and the board of directors were ashamed and it is fortunate indeed that the child was not injured, it could have been otherwise and this is recognized and accepted by the defendant, » Forrest told the court.
The court heard that there was a policy in place to avoid such cases, but a system failure and lack of training led to the incident.
The bus driver and another employee did not check the inside of the bus, there was no roll call or no handover.
Mr Forrest said the center has continued to operate under the department’s oversight since the incident, implementing any changes the department put forward to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
The court heard that two employees, including the bus driver, had since left the center.
Hasted Magistrate said the ruling should deter other agencies working with the most vulnerable people in society.
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