An Indian couple in Australia have been charged with criminal negligence over the death of their child. Prosecution says Thomas Sam, a homeopath, and his wife Manju Anna Sam did not ensure proper treatment for their ten-month-old baby.
Gloria Thomas was born a healthy child at 3.09kg, but she was soon visited by a raft of problems - acute eczema, severe malnourishment, delayed development, conjunctivitis and an abnormal left cornea.
But her father persisted with homeopathic drops and the couple went about their social life as usual, ignoring medical advice. Eventually the poor Gloria died of septicemia in May 2002 at a Sydney Children's hospital, weighing only 5.4kg.
At the New South Wales Supreme Court yesterday, senior prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC said Mr and Ms Sam had repeatedly ignored the advice of medical professionals to seek specialist treatment for their daughter.
"We say ... a reasonable parent in their position, knowing what they knew, seeing what they saw, being told what they had been told, would have obtained proper medical care and attention for Gloria," Mr Tedeschi said in his opening address to the jury.
He recalled that Manju Sam had arrived in India on February 23 in 2002 to stay with her family as she was not coping with Gloria.
On her parents' suggestion, she took the baby to the local hospital where she was seen by two doctors who noted her severe eczema and prescribed medication.
The second doctor was so concerned he told Manju Sam he wanted to see Gloria every second day, but Mr Tedeschi said the baby was never taken back to the hospital.
The family arrived back in Sydney on April 27, but they did not take Gloria to hospital until May 5, and she died on May 8.
"If she had been brought to proper medical care in the last two-and-a-half weeks in India, her life and health would have been saved,'' Mr Tedeschi said.
The 42-year-old father and 36-year-old mother appeared before the court and pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge brought up against them.
The case continues.