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Couple given 7.5 years for death of child through neglect

2012/06/14 19:16:38

Taipei, June 14 (CNA) A young couple was sentenced to 7.5 years in prison by the Taiwan High Court on Thursday for causing the death of their one-year-old daughter last year through neglect.

The Taiwan High Court ruled that the couple, in their 20s, had deliberately committed offenses related to abandonment.

The parents, surnamed Wang, were engrossed in online games and neglected the baby, which led to her death from malnutrition and dehydration on Feb. 23, 2011, the court said.

The court found that the infant, who was born prematurely in February 2010 and was developmentally delayed, weighed less than four kilograms at the age of one because she was underfed.

In their defense, the couple said they had not deliberately neglected the baby, but simply did not know enough about child care.

Both parents claimed that they suffer from mild mental retardationand the husband, the sole breadwinner, was earning less than NT$10,000 (US$ 332.90) per month.

They said that it was difficult for them to care for a baby on the money they had.

The High Court ruling overturned a reduced sentence given in a previous trial in early March, which cut the usual seven year prison sentence for abandonment to five years and four months.

In its ruling in March, the court took into consideration the couple's socioeconomic situation. The latest sentence can still be appealed.

(By Huang Yi-han and C.J. Lin)