An Australian woman accused of trying to burn down her house with her and her two children inside in an effort to carry out a murder-suicide tried to convince a judge that she doesn’t belong in jail because she might contract the coronavirus inside, ABC News (Australia) reports. The judge put her in jail anyway.
Many of the details of the case, including the woman’s name and the ages of her children, are being withheld from the media to protect the kids’ identities.
What is known is that at the time of the incident, the woman allegedly put her two school-aged children to bed, then cried and laid down on the floor in her children’s bedroom after having allegedly set the house on fire. As flames began to engulf the house, one of the children purportedly asked for a cup of water.
“Stay calm and lie on your bed,” the woman allegedly responded.
Fortunately, firefighters arrived in time and pulled the woman and her children, by this time unconscious, from the burning house. All three were taken to a Sydney hospital, and they all survived.
“This is effectively a murder-suicide that was stopped,” the prosecutor said.
Indeed, the woman was charged with two counts of attempted murder.
This week, the woman appeared in court and, through her attorney, Stephen Whybrow, asked Australia’s Supreme Court not to be placed in jail while awaiting her trial because she’s at risk of contracting the coronavirus inside.
Specifically, her attorney says that the woman has asthma and type 2 diabetes, two health factors that put a patient at greater risk of developing complications from the novel coronavirus. The layer did concede, however, that the jail where the woman would be held has not had any confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, but said that his client’s life would be at risk should the virus make its way inside.
The concern about the virus and its effects on the incarcerated, and those who work inside prisons and jails, has led to the justice system, at least in some areas, reconsidering who does and does not belong in prison. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, some jurisdictions are identifying prisoners who are most at risk of developing complications from the coronavirus and are letting them go, and/or are not putting non-violent offenders in jail in the first place.
Back in Australia, however, Justice David Mossop did not agree that the possibility of the woman contracting COVID-19 in jail was reason enough to grant her bail.
“A person who was willing to sacrifice her own life is unlikely to be deterred by conditions of her bail,” he said in his motion to deny her bail.