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Aunt and partner charged over boy's death

AAP logoAAP 14/12/2016

An 11-year-old Queensland boy found dead with suspicious injuries received no medical care for almost five years despite being cared for by his aunt who was an experienced nurse, a court has heard.

His aunt, Jodie Maree Powell, 43, and her de facto partner, James Colin Burnham, were on Wednesday charged over the boy's July 2015 death after relatives found his body in the bedroom of a home in the Brisbane suburb of Mackenzie.

The Brisbane Magistrates Court heard on the morning of the discovery, the boy had been vomiting and was found with "non-accidental" injuries.

Powell worked as the head of infection control at Brisbane's Mater Hospital and had been a nurse for 16 years.

During a bail application her solicitor, Brittany White, told the court her client had no criminal history and was aware of the police investigation for 18 months.

"She has not attempted to abscond in any way from the jurisdiction," she said.

Ms White said Powell had significant ties to the community, a job and a mortgage.

If convicted, Powell could face a jail term of between eight and 10 years.

Both she and Burnham, 35, were charged with manslaughter, child cruelty and interfering with a corpse.

Powell sat with her back to the public gallery for the duration of the hearing.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Josh Kelly opposed bail.

"The deceased child did not receive any treatment for any illness or injury since September 2010," he said.

The boy was found with injuries to his back, groin and legs that appeared to be caused by blunt force trauma, Sgt Kelly said.

"The deceased child, prior to the death, had many bruises to his body inconsistent with normal sibling or pet interactions, or even child's play," he said.

Police also alleged Powell, who has been in hospital with suicidal ideation since the incident, attempted to sway witnesses.

Magistrate Penelope Hay denied bail and said there was a strong prima facie case against Powell.

"It is also concerning that the defendant poses ... a risk to herself because of her mental state," she said.

"The risk of interference with witnesses is concerning, particularly given in circumstances where the defendant is suffering from a mental health condition."

Powell's matter will next be mentioned on February 13 next year.

Burnham was remanded in custody until December 23 for a bail application.

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