An Adelaide court has heard a mother who criminally neglected her infant son did not seek medical help as soon as she should have because of domestic violence fears.

Key points:

  • Ebanee Gayl Coad and Jeremy Neil Capper were charged with criminal neglect in 2018
  • The couple’s four-month-old son suffered significant physical injuries, dehydration and kidney failure
  • According to her lawyer, Ms Coad could not get her son help due to Mr Capper’s controlling behaviour

Ebanee Gayl Coad, 33, and Jeremy Neil Capper, 34, were charged with the criminal neglect of their four-month-old baby boy in November 2018, after an investigation by South Australia Police and the Department of Child Protection (DCP).

Their arrest came two months after they took their four-month-old baby to the Port Pirie Hospital.

The court previously heard the boy was “very close to death” and suffering from significant physical injuries, dehydration and kidney failure.

He was airlifted to Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital, where he received intensive treatment.

The Port Pirie couple — who appeared today in the South Australia District Court — have both pleaded guilty to criminal neglect.

Ms Coad’s lawyer, Chris Allen, today told the court his client admits she could have done more to protect her child and was aware for “some weeks” that her baby was not feeding properly, and that there was a rapid decline in his condition prior to taking him to hospital.

Ebanee Gayl Coad’s lawyer, Chris Allen, outside court.(ABC News: Mahalia Carter)

“She had an opportunity to disclose that potential risk to various nurses and midwives between June and September of 2018, to her general practitioner, [who] was also the practitioner who cared for the child, and other professionals, and indeed SAPOL,” he said.

Mr Allen said she could not take the steps she needed to because of Mr Capper’s “coercive, paranoid and controlling behaviour”.

“It was not just [the infant child] but potentially a risk to the other children.”

Mr Allen asked the court to consider a suspended sentence because, while his client did plead guilty at a late stage, she has experienced great anguish and had suffered significantly.

“She is a mother who is riddled with guilt … she has not seen her children at all since February 2020.”

The court was also told that the pair’s relationship was “irretrievably irreconcilable”.

Ms Coad remains on bail, while Mr Capper today had his bail revoked.

Sentencing submissions will be heard for Mr Capper when the pair both appear in court again in December.