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Mother sues over Vic snake bite death

AAP logoAAP 5/10/2016 Genevieve Gannon

A Melbourne mother whose seven-year-old son died after being bitten by what was believed to be a brown snake during a Grade 1 school excursion is suing the state for negligence.

Jungpen Tan was on the trip to the Mount Morton Camp in Belgrave Heights when he was bitten by a snake, according to a writ filed in the Victorian County Court.

Jungpen's teachers performed CPR, but he died at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on October 15, 2013.

His mother, Xiaoying Tan, says the state-run Rowville Primary School and the operators of the camp failed in their duty of care to her only child.

The school did not adequately protect or supervise Jungpen, or warn him of the dangers, the writ says.

The camp operators did not sufficiently ensure the premises were safe and without hazards that may cause injury or death, the claim also says.

The pathologist who conducted Jungpen's autopsy said there was no evidence of any injury that would have contributed or led to death, however it seemed reasonable to determine the "unfortunate young fellow" succumbed to a snake bite, Ms Tan's lawyers say.

Ms Tan now suffers from a severe major depressive disorder, chronic post traumatic stress disorder, flashbacks and nightmares, according to her statement of claim.

She is suing the state and the operators of the camp for damages.

She and her son had moved to Australia from China only two months before the Jungpen died.

Maurice Blackburn public safety lawyer Dimi Ioannou said she believes the boy's death was preventable.

"We allege that the school failed to adequately supervise, protect and take proper care of Jungpen," Ms Ioannou said.

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