Capel's mother, Cassandra Doohan, pleads guilty to having killed her daughter Anastasia Hand



May 23, 2019 13:43:29

A woman from Perth pleaded guilty to killing her daughter at the family home in Capel, southwest Washington, but could escape a life-long prison in what her lawyer described as an "exceptional" case.

Key points:

  • Anastasia Hand suffered a catastrophic "non accidental" brain injury in 2017
  • Her mother, Cassandra Doohan, should have been tried but convicted of murder
  • Doohan's lawyer asked for a non-life sentence, which would make history in WA

Cassandra Rose Doohan, 20, was due to be tried next month for the death of Anastasia Hand, four months, in May 2017.

But during a brief appearance in the Supreme Court today, he admitted the charge of murder.

No further details were provided, but a request for bail when she was charged for the first time was informed that Doohan was alone with the child for about 15 minutes and when his partner returned from a shower the child did not respond .

He died two days later at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

The court was told that the child had suffered catastrophic brain damage which was described as not accidental.

The bail application at the time was rejected and Doohan was arrested from his arrest not long after the child's death.

Press to avoid life imprisonment

Today his lawyer, Seamus Rafferty, told the court that the case was "of such an exceptional nature" that he alleged that his client received a fixed custodial sentence, rather than a life sentence, which is usually imposed for crime of murder.

If Doohan had a fixed term, she would become one of the few people in Western Australia convicted of murder not receiving a life sentence.

This follows the changes to the 2008 law under which judges can impose a death sentence in which it is believed that the perpetrator of the crime does not constitute a threat to the safety of the community, such as in cases of mercy murder or infanticide.

The sentencing judge may instead impose a finite sentence of up to 20 years.

Psychological and psychiatric reports will be prepared on Doohan in preparation for his September hearing.

She was returned to custody after her appearance in court today.






First published

May 23, 2019 13:18:17

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