A Chinese nurse has been handed a two-year community service order for her role in a fatal breast enlargement procedure at a Sydney beauty clinic.
Yueqiong Fu pleaded guilty to recklessly administering poison and providing false statements after the death of the manager of the beauty salon where she worked.
The 31-year-old, also known as Caroline Fu, assisted in carrying out a breast enlargement procedure on her 35-year-old manager Jean Huang at a Chippendale beauty clinic in August 2017.
During the surgery Ms Huang had a seizure and was taken to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where she later died.
Fu maintained she helped carry out the botched operation under the instructions of her employer, Ms Huang, and a Chinese surgeon who has been charged with manslaughter and is expected to face trial later this year.
Fu was sentenced to a two-year community service work condition and will have to undergo psychological treatment.
District Court Judge Sharon Harris said Fu had expressed remorse for her offending, was unlikely to reoffend and had assisted police in their investigation.
But she said the two convictions would be recorded as a deterrent to cosmetic clinics where patients were entitled to assume they would receive proper medical treatment.
The judge referred to evidence given both by Fu and her husband as to the "cultural tendency to follow orders and obey instructions" and that Ms Fu had since realised she needed to engage critical thinking.
Fu faced a maximum of 10 years for the offence of recklessly administering poison.
Justice Harris said she had weighed up several factors — including a 40 per cent discount for her early plea, her assistance to police and time already served in custody — when deciding not to impose a prison sentence.
Fu is currently on a Criminal Justice Visa and is expected to give evidence against the Chinese surgeon when the case goes to trial before her eventual deportation back to China.
'I feel so sorry'
During a previous court appearance, Fu said she had been following "Chinese thinking" of obeying her manager's orders by assisting with the operation.
She told the court she made it clear to her employer Ms Huang, and the Chinese surgeon that she had not assisted in operations before, but they wanted her to do it anyway.
Fu expressed deep regret and remorse for her actions.
"I feel so so sorry for my boss' family," she told the court as the victim's husband wiped away tears while he stared at the ground.
He did not wish to be named but sobbed as he described to the court how he found the "meaning of life" when he met his wife.
"I was there when my wife's surgery [when the] accident happened ... the doctor told me 'it's just a small injection, she is still breathing', but after three days, my hope for our life was breaking down," he said.
"Everyday I will miss the bit of living with my wife together ... I still wish she can respond to me even just one more time."