Scammer of parents of dying baby in court
A woman who attempted to blackmail the parents of a dying baby in Melbourne for $1000 through a cruel hoax is trying to argue she should get out of jail early.
Siti Kamal was jailed for three years for blackmail in March for trying to get cash from a Boronia couple desperate to retrieve their phone with photos of their terminally-ill 11-month-old child.
The 26-year-old messaged desperate parents Jay and Dee Windross after they launched a public appeal in 2019 to find their lost phone containing hundreds of images of their daughter Amiyah.
Kamal never had the phone but demanded $1000 from the couple even as they told her their daughter was "in her last minutes".
"Please transfer me money I will return u the phone or maybe I just sell it," she told them and threatened to delete the photos.
Kamal is appealing her sentence in the Court of Appeal arguing the original judge erred in finding her and the offending "amoral" and the jail time was manifestly excessive.
Her lawyer Tim Marsh argued the County Court judge who sentenced his client was wrong to have found his client's remorse did not detract from the "cruelty" of her actions.
He said Kamal's rehabilitation prospects were not unfavourable given her age and lack of prior criminal history.
It was suggested the judge was "overwhelmed" by the nature of the offence and gave too much weight to aggravating features, according to court documents.
Mr Marsh also argued her sentence was "manifestly excessive" but conceded the nature of the crime against extremely vulnerable people was "odious".
But crown prosecutor Justin Lewis said it was a particularly grave example of blackmail.
"There was a willingness to exploit people who were facing the imminent death of their 11-month-old daughter for the purposes of making money," he said.
He argued the offending did indicate an absence of moral principles and it was not controversial to label Kamal's actions "amoral".
The prosecutor also said the sentence imposed was within range of sentences available.
The judges reserved their decision for a later date.
Originally published as Scammer of parents of dying baby in court