THE horror of what can happen when a child is left alone was on full display in the Proserpine Magistrate's Court on Monday.
A Cannonvale man was charged with leaving a child under 12 without proper supervision after dropping his child at a local gym and returning half an hour later to find that he was gone.
Police prosecutor Kevin Carmont said police responded to reports of a child running in and out of traffic on Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach, at around 7.10pm on March 17.
The eight-year-old was not wearing a shirt or shoes and was found in only in a pair of shorts.
He was found more than 2km from where he had been left.
The man charged with the offence told police he had spoken to staff at the gym and asked them to look after the child.
However when police interviewed the staff, they were informed the man had not spoken to anyone there or made any arrangements for supervision of the boy.
The man was seen walking out of the gym around 6pm with the boy walking out directly behind him.
The man returned 30 minutes later and was reported to appear affected by drugs.
The child was found before he had been officially reported missing and was placed in temporary foster care.
The man, who represented himself, said the child had "refused" to return home with him when they were at the gym.
He then said the boy had left to ask staff if he could stay.
"He ran back to me and said it was OK," he said.
The man said he had left his child at the gym a few weeks before this particular incident and staff had agreed to supervise him.
The court heard the man was later admitted to hospital following the incident and said they lived close to the gym.
"It was a mistake. I should have referred to management and not him," the man told the court.
In handing down his sentence, Magistrate Simon Young said "I will accept that (the boy) has given you information that is wrong".
"He's lied to you basically and you suffered some personal consequences as a result," he said.
The man was fined $500 but did not have a conviction recorded.
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