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Queensland prison lockdowns delay resentence of child-killer mum

Prison lockdowns triggered by positive COVID-19 testing at south-east Queensland correctional centres have delayed the resentencing of a Gold Coast mum jailed for the unlawful killing of her son in 2009.

Heidi Strbak was scheduled to appear in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on Monday for resentencing over the manslaughter of four-year-old son, Tyrell Cobb.

Strbak, 37, pleaded guilty to Tyrell’s killing in late 2017 and was found to have been responsible for the blunt force trauma that led to his death on 24 May 2009.

In sentencing her to nine years’ jail almost three years ago, Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth found there was “a compelling circumstantial case that Strbak inflicted serious injuries that weekend on her son, including the fatal injuries”.

In March this year Strbak made a successful application against her sentence to the High Court of Australia, which found the sentencing judge had accepted unproven evidence as fact.

Strbak won her appeal on the basis that the judge should not have drawn an “adverse inference” against her because she had not given evidence in her original contested sentencing hearing.

She was listed to be resentenced in the Supreme Court on Monday, but the hearing had to be adjourned due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases, particularly in Queensland correctional centres, and triggered a lockdown of the state’s prisons.

Strbak‘s hearing has been relisted for 26 October.

This week Queensland Corrective Services announced a suspension of ‘in-person’ court appearances of people detained in Stage 4 sites. There have been no in-person appearances on Monday or Tuesday of this week for south-east Queensland centres up to and including Capricornia.

See the ‘Profession updates’ section for more information, including a list of the latest correctional centre restrictions.

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