In late 2015 an eight-year-old boy was found locked in an uninsulated metal shed, allegedly starved, beaten and only let outside to help on the family cannabis farm by his mother and her boyfriend.
Police arrived at the home to search for drugs, and found the boy who was reportedly only given chips and museli bars to eat and locked inside the shed for "days at a time."
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that his mother told police that the boy was locked away as punishment for "inappropriately' touching another boy.
The boy's mother, uncle and the mother's fiance have all been sentenced to jail this week for their part in the abuse, and for the elaborate cannabis growing set-up found at their home.
The boy and his three siblings were living on the property in Elands NSW with their 26-year-old mother, her 30-year-old fiance, their uncle and various extended family members.
The children were quickly moved into protective custody when it was found the boy had spent almost a month in the small, 2.4m by a 2m shed and with only a thin mattress and a paint tin, used a toilet, inside with him.
The court heard in a victim statement week that while the boy has recovered psychically from his ordeal, the mental scars remain.
"It was terrible being in the shipping container. I felt sad and lonely … I felt very scared. Now sometimes it's like everything in my mind is dead," the boy's statement read, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
As police raided the property and found a commercial scale cannabis farm, they also discovered that the children had been helping to cultivate the cannabis on the property.
The mother's fiance was found to the leader in the slog crimes and charged with growing and exposing the children to cannabis, assault, false imprisonment and multiple weapons convictions.
He is expected to serve a six and 1/2 year sentence.
The child's mother will serve a maximum sentence of three years and eight months.