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R v Thomas

Gloria Thomas - R v Thomas Sam - R v Manju Sam - Manslaughter by criminal negligence

Nine month old Gloria Thomas died in May 2002, from severe sepsis or bacterial infections which had caused bleeding in her lungs and airways. She suffered from severe eczema which her father, Thomas Sam a homeopathic practitioner had been treating using homeopathic remedies. Both parents, Thomas and Manju Sam, had been warned by nursing staff, a doctor and paediatrician that they should be treating the eczema using prescribed medication – but these warnings were ignored. They also failed to take her to two appointments that had been made with a specialist dermatologist.

A coronial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding her death was held in November 2007. The State Coroner terminated the inquest on 18 November 2007 after finding that there was reasonable prospect the evidence presented to the inquiry could convince a jury to convict “a known person or persons of a serious crime.”

In June 2009 a jury found Sam and his wife Manju guilty of the manslaughter of their daughter by failing to get her proper medical care before her death in May 2002. On 28 September 2009, Justice Johnson sentenced Thomas Sam to a non-parole period of six years from 2 July 2009 to expire on 1 July 2015, with a balance of term of two years to commence on 2 July 2015 and to expire on 1 July 2017. Manju Sam was sentenced to a non-parole period of four years from 28 September 2009 and to expire on 27 September 2013 with a balance of one year and four months to commence on 28 September 2013 and to expire on 27 January 2015.

Finding this case

Commentary and media reports

1. Newspaper articles on Proquest ANZ Newsstand, available remotely to registered clients of the State Library of NSW.  Type in Gloria Thomas and Sam.

2. "Manslaughter by criminal negligence - whether cultural factors are relevant to the 'reasonable person test'" (2011) 18 (4) Criminal Law News 63-64 (available at the State Library).

Legal information at the Library

This guide has been developed by staff of the Legal Information Access Centre (LIAC), State Library of NSW. The State Library holds an extensive collection of case law, legislation and looseleaf publications.

Name of victim

Gloria Thomas

Criminal justice issues

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