Staffer sacked over Mason’s death ‘accidentally rehired’



The Department of Child Safety has refused to comment on claims it reinstated a worker dismissed just days before the release of a scathing coroner's report into the horrific death of toddler Mason Jet Lee.

The Courier-Mail understands the woman - one of 21 people identified as having failed the toddler in the months before his death - was reinstated because of a procedural blunder.

The dispute over her employment is being fought in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

The Department of Child Safety has refused to comment on the matter or on the progress of a report into whether further action is being taken against any of the 21.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk early last month said the report from yet another investigation - this one by the Public Service Commissioner - would be ready in "a couple of weeks, as soon as possible".

Mason Jet Lee lived most of his short 21-month life neglected and abused.

He died on June 11, 2016, and was already dead when paramedics arrived at his stepfather's Caboolture home.

An autopsy found he had suffered severe bowel injuries - later discovered to have been inflicted by his stepfather William O'Sullivan punching him in the stomach - as well as displacement of his rectum, a fractured coccyx and a broken leg.

He also had 46 bruises all over his body, mouth and ear ulcers and scalp haemorrhages consistent with head trauma and his hair being pulled.



In February of that year, Mason spent nearly a month in hospital where he was treated for a severe infection of his leg.

He also had an untreated fracture of his tibia, needed blood transfusions and had "anal injuries … described by an experienced paediatrician as the worst he had seen in over 40 years of practice".

Mason's mother Anne-Maree Lee visited him only once, with a social worker from Caboolture Hospital telling a child safety staffer the little boy had been "very lonely".

Doctors also told department staff they were highly concerned about Mason being released back into the care of his mother and stepfather, ­saying they believed he'd been neglected and abused.

The last time a child safety officer saw Mason was 10 days after his discharge when he was spotted from the doorway of his home.

Three months later he was dead.

His mother and stepfather both pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Deputy state coroner Jane Bentley found the department had failed in its duty to protect Mason from the risk of serious harm that he faced in the months prior to his death.

When asked about the staff member's dismissal, a spokesman from the Department of Child Safety said: "These matters have been referred to the Public Service Commissioner."





Originally published as Staffer sacked over Mason's death 'accidentally rehired'