A naturopath and former midwife will fight charges arising from a health treatment plan that allegedly left a baby boy fighting for life.
Marilyn Bodnar, 59, who has been a naturopath for almost three decades, was arrested earlier this month after a client’s son fell seriously ill.
Police allege the eight-month-old’s mother sought alternative health treatment for her son’s eczema in April from Bodnar.
It will be alleged the mother was advised to stop all medical and dermatological treatment for the boy.
A month later, he was hospitalised suffering from severe malnutrition and developmental issues.
The boy, who police allege was near death, has since been released from hospital.
Child Abuse Squad detectives charged his mother with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm and failing to provide for her baby, and causing danger of life.
Bodnar, who appeared in Fairfield Local Court on Monday, was arrested this month at her Leppington practice.
She pleaded not guilty to two charges, including recklessly causing grievous bodily harm in the second degree.
The second charge relates to Bodnar’s advice to the mother and without a reasonable excuse, failing to provide the baby with “the necessities of life, which caused danger of death or serious injury”.
Bodnar, who specialises in children’s health and infertility, also runs wellness workshops and sells organic products through her Sweet Succulent business, according to court documents.
The mother-of-two will strenuously fight the charges, her lawyer Ricky Mitry said outside court.
Asked whether Bodnar’s business was still running, Mr Mitry said: “There is nothing in the rules that says she can’t practise any more.”
Mr Mitry said his client wanted “balanced reporting and not trial by media”.
“I think in this situation, particularly in a case where there is such intense media interest, that balanced reporting be preserved,” he said.
Under Bodnar’s bail conditions, the naturopath must not provide certain alternative health treatments to children under 16 or parents with children under that age.
Her case was adjourned to September 9 in Campbelltown Local Court.
The mother’s case is due to be mentioned in August.