Mother pleads not guilty of poisoning daughter

A MOTHER accused of endangering the life of her daughter by poisoning her in a Newcastle hospital had her bail varied on Tuesday so she can have access to both of her children under strict supervision.

The woman, who cannot be identified, was arrested and charged earlier this month with poisoning the girl in July and slapping her in the face on two separate occasions in May.

She pleaded not guilty to the poisoning charge on Tuesday and will enter pleas to two counts of assault when the case returns to Newcastle Local Court in September.

The NSW child abuse squad began investigating the mother earlier this year when a doctor became suspicious about a number of health issues the girl was experiencing, court documents revealed.

The girl, 7, has had a number of ailments since birth and was taking a number of medications.

Police alleged that the mother administered extra doses of the sedative chloral hydrate while the girl was in hospital and had already received doses of the drug from nursing staff.

When police interviewed the mother she denied poisoning the girl and denied slapping her.

Her solicitor, Kevin Pearce, said the mother’s son and daughter, both primary school aged, had asked to see their mother since she was refused access to them after she was charged.

‘‘[The son] asks ‘When can I see mummy’,’’ Mr Pearce said.

There was no suggestion that the son was in danger from the mother while the charge relating to the girl involved injecting 15 millilitre doses of chloral hydrate in circumstances where nursing staff were administering 25 millilitre doses of the drug, Mr Pearce added.

Magistrate Robert Stone varied the bail so the mother can visit the children under the supervision of their grandparents so long as the Department of Family and Community Services agrees.

The department may wish to send their own representative to the visits, Mr Stone said.

The case was adjourned.

The girl is still receiving treatment.