How child exposed Mason Lee’s ‘bad guy’ before death
A CHILD known to slain toddler Mason Lee hinted at the little boy being abused in an interview with Child Safety officers, telling them a "bad guy" might hurt him by punching, smacking or pushing him over.
The inquest which began on Monday and had been scheduled to run for two weeks will now be forced to proceed via written submissions instead of in court due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Three lawyers involved in the matter did not attend court yesterday due to COVID-19 fears but Coroner Jane Bentley said it was in the best interest not to completely adjourn the matter but continue "on the papers".
A Mission Australia worker assigned to Mason's family was called as a witness during yesterday's hearing in the Brisbane Coroner's Court.
Counsel assisting Jacoba Brasch QC read a transcript of an interview a child known to Mason had with Child Safety officers and police before the 21-month-old died.
"If Mason gets hurt, I'll save him," the child said.
When asked how he might be hurt and who by the child said "smacking him"…"a bad guy".
When asked why the child was worried about Mason, they said "because if it does happen he might die" ... "he's going to get hurt".
Despite the child's comments and numerous concerns raised about Mason's mum Anne Maree Lee using and selling drugs and "couch surfing" with her children, the little boy was still in her care when he died.
In June of 2016, Mason's stepfather William O'Sullivan struck the neglected boy so hard that his organs ruptured and left him to die a slow and painful death over days, refusing to seek help.
The Mission Australia said the allegations relating to abuse, drugs and domestic violence were never passed on to her.
"That's really concerning information," she said.
"It would have helped me to have a much better idea of the family's history."
The woman conceded that Lee had been "gaming the system" and "playing" support workers by withholding information about her family.
The support worker also said if she had known about the serious allegations of drugs and violence and confronted Lee about it, she may have disengaged with the service earlier.
The case will now continue on the papers as the Brisbane Magistrates Court attempts to implement social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.