Woman appeals manslaughter decision after throwing hot water

A TOOWOOMBA woman jailed for throwing boiling water on a 70-year-old man, who later died from treatment complications, is trying to have her manslaughter conviction overturned.

Lawyers for Peggy Louise Wyborn, 32, argued in the Queensland Court of Appeal that the burns Neil McCarthy suffered were not connected to what eventually caused his death.

During her sentence in July, the Brisbane Supreme Court heard the hot water burned Mr McCarthy's face and airways, resulting in life-threatening injuries requiring hospitalisation.

Medical treatment included immobilisation which the Crown said led to deep vein thrombosis in his legs.

Blood clots dislodged and moved to his heart and lungs, leading to his death.

But barrister John Allen is arguing on appeal that the evidence at trial did not establish beyond reasonable doubt that Wyborn's actions caused the death and did not negate the excuse of accident.

He said a burns unit doctor testified a patient could not die from the burns alone and causation was a major issue.

"It's stretching the bounds of reasonable foreseeability to the point where one would have to say that if any injury that is sufficient to require hospitalisation is rendered to someone then it is reasonably foreseeable that they would die," he said.

"My submission is that, in these circumstances, death as a result of throwing boiling water in face of the deceased could only be regarded as a remote possibility and that is insufficient to negatise the excuse (of accident)."

Crown prosecutor Brendan Campbell said it was possible to exclude the hypothesis Mr McCarthy had a stroke completely independent of his burns injuries.

He said the burns led to immobility which led to DVTs and then the pulmonary embolism that caused his death.

"It's impossible to exclude any view that the burns were a substantial cause," he said.

Wyborn was sentenced to serve three years of a 7½ year jail sentence.

The court has reserved its decision.


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