Joanne Quinn outside the Napier District Court. Photo /
Hawke's Bay Today
A Hawkes Bay woman found guilty of failing to provide the
necessaries of life for her elderly mother was slapped by
another woman in court this morning.
Joanne Quinn, 51, was Maureen Quinn's older daughter and sole
caregiver, and was on trial in the Napier District Court this
Medical staff discovered 82-year-old Maureen Quinn on
November 15, 2011 on a couch in a blanket with maggots
covering her leg wounds.
Maureen died six weeks after being admitted to hospital on
November 15, 2011 from bronchial pneumonia.
Prior to this morning's verdict being handed down, Quinn was
approached by another woman and slapped, before the woman,
believed to be a family member, fled from the court and was
pursued by security. She managed to escape the court house.
During his deliberations, Judge Jonathan Down said in the
context of the case, nourishment, hydration and medical care
were the necessaries of life.
Judge Down said the Crown argued Quinn clearly owed and had a
duty to override the wishes of her mother and provide those
necessaries of life.
"This is the sort of case that can give rise to the feelings
of prejudice and sympathy,'' Judge Down said. "One only has
to look at the photo evidence and listen to the medical
"What I was struck by was a very broad and deep agreement by
all the medical witnesses about the state and condition of
He said all the medical evidence appeared reliable and
Judge Down said Maureen Quinn was severely dehydrated,
severely malnourished and showed signs of severe neglect,
while not being able to withdraw from her daughter's care.
In light of "compelling medical evidence", the judge reached
an "inevitable conclusion''.
Judge Down was struck by one moment when witness Detective
Toni Leppien gave an account of holding hands with Maureen
Quinn in hospital.
"Your hand is so warm. I can't remember the last time someone
touched me,'' Maureen told the detective.
Judge Down said the 82-year-old was referring to the "warmth
and comfort'' that must have been missing from her home
He had no doubt Maureen's life was in imminent danger and had
she not been admitted to hospital on November 15, 2011 her
death would have come at a much earlier stage.
"It was obvious to the defendant and to all, beyond any
reasonable doubt, that much greater care was required.''
Quinn was granted bail until sentencing on May 16.
- By Sam Hurley of Hawke's Bay Today