A mentally-ill mother who cut the throats and wrists of her two young children before trying to kill herself has been ordered to serve a 25-year custodial term in a psychiatric hospital. However Mrs Steinberg’s lawyers are confident the 43 year-old could be released in as soon as six months.
Due to mental impairment Mrs Steinberg was found not guilty of attempting to murder her three year-old daughter and seven month-old son at her parents’ Glen Waverley home on April 29 last year. Supreme Court Justice Ross Robson heard she was suffering from a major depressive disorder with probable psychotic symptoms at the time of the offences.
She had cut her own wrists and was lying on top of her children when her mother returned home and found them. Justice Robson, on Wednesday, ordered Mrs Steinberg to serve a mandatory 25-year custodial term under the Crimes (Mental Impairment and Unfitness to be Tried) Act 1997. But the court heard one of two psychiatrists had suggested that her custodial order be reviewed in six months.
One of the lawyers representing Mrs Steinberg, George Defteros, said a nominal order for 25 years does not mean the Greek Australian mother-of-three is going to be in custody for 25 years, but that she will be in supervision for 25 years. “After six months we will apply for her to be supervised and treated in the community. We have an excellent chance to have her out within the next six months,” he said.
Based on the evidence of the psychiatrist it is advised Mrs Steinberg needs another six month’s treatment in Thomas Embling, but in the meantime she can apply for day release also. “Hopefully she will very soon get a day release to go and see her parents,” Mr Defteros said.
“This terrible incident happened when she was suffering from severe, severe depression; it’s a very sad story.” The lawyer said Mrs Steinberg’s family is relieved the court case is over and continues to be supportive of their daughter. “They themselves want to have a little bit more access to their grandchildren as they were very close to them in the past.
They are very anxious to see her out of the hospital as soon as possible,” Mr Defteros said. Mrs Steinberg’s ex-husband, who was in court with his lawyer, did not comment after the sentencing. “I did the committal and the ex-husband asked to be excused from being cross examined at the committal,” Mr Defteros said.
“He was supportive initially, and he did make a statement to the police that my client was a good mother and he has been a little concerned for my client not to have access to the children at this stage.”
Source: Neos Kosmos