Court hears mother refused to feed son, 8

RAIDED: Five people were charged after an alleged cannabis operation was discovered after raids on this property. Picture: NSW Police

RAIDED: Five people were charged after an alleged cannabis operation was discovered after raids on this property. Picture: NSW Police

A MOTHER and stepfather are alleged to have endangered the life of their eight-year-old son by refusing to give him food as well as detaining him so authorities did not become involved and attend their property where cannabis plants were grown.

Charges against a woman, 26, and a man, 28, both from Elands, and another three people who it is alleged were involved in the cultivation of a large commercial quantity of cannabis at a property at Elands last year, were presented before magistrate Shaughan McCosker in Taree Local Court on Tuesday.

Also charged are a man, 32, from Elands, a 19-year-old man from Coolah and a woman, 25, from North Gosford. All five are alleged to have cultivated or knowingly taken part in cultivating 225 cannabis plants between March 1 and December 18, 2015.

The 26-year-old woman, the 28-year-old man and the 32-year-old man are charged with detaining the eight-year-old boy to obtain advantage between November 1 and December 18.

The court papers allege the mother did so to ensure authorities would not attend the home address if the alleged incident was reported, to ensure she kept all family members on side and the victim was kept away from the other children.

RAIDED: An alleged cannabis operation was discovered after raids on this property.

RAIDED: An alleged cannabis operation was discovered after raids on this property.

The stepfather was alleged to have done the same by keeping him away from the other children and to ensure authorities were not involved.

They both also allegedly refused to feed him food at night and charge papers indicated their neglect in giving the child "the necessities of life" was likely to cause the danger of death. It is also alleged the eight-year-old was assaulted between November 1 and December 18, resulting in actual bodily harm.

The 32-year-old man was additionally charged with a number of firearms offences relating to a shortened Anschutz 22 calibre bolt action rifle, which police say he was unauthorised to hold. It is alleged the rifle was unregistered, not being kept safely, had the number identification mark defaced and been shortened without being authorised to do so.

None of the accused appeared in court and were represented by legal counsel. No applications for bail were made and they were formally refused by the magistrate.

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