Woman faces court on 20 charges including assault of child

WOKEN from her sleep Francis Bell struck the child who crawled on to her back and stomach.

The charge of assault was one of more than 20 charges the 42-year-old woman was sentenced for when she appeared in custody before Ipswich Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Senior Constable Bernard Elmore told the court how Bell would steal unattended gamblers' wallets at clubs.

Francis Devina Lee Bell, 42, from Atkinson Dam, pleaded guilty to assault; three counts of stealing; two counts of fare evasion; two counts of drug possession; two frauds; three counts of illegal possession of restricted drugs; three counts of failing to take reasonable care/precautions with needle/syringe; possession of property suspected of being used in a drug offence; six counts of breaching her bail; and failing to attend court.

Magistrate Andy Cridland said the assault was the more serious charge because it involved a child.

He said the child was trying to crawl to a couch when it woke the sleeping Bell who became angry and slapped the child twice on the back and on the stomach.

Mr Cridland said it was also alleged by police the child had marks on its face. The offence raised the prospects of a jail sentence.

He said Bell's criminal history included offences in 2013 and 2014 when she was sentenced to jail terms (both suspended) for stealing and fraud offences.

Mr Cridland said the three stealing charges in each case involved people, twice at gaming facilities and once at a food court, who had put their wallets down then discover the wallet had disappeared.

He said Bell had taken advantage of that and seemed to be looking for such an opportunity.

He took into account Bell had since spent 11 days held in pre-sentence custody.

For the offences of assault, stealing and fraud, Bell was sentenced to five months' jail.

She was given one month jail for failing to appear at court - making it a six-month term.

She was convicted only of some offences and received one month jail (concurrent) for fare evasion and drug possession.