Child Abuse Punishment of 16mths Labeled ‘Pathetic’

Family First NZ is labeling a sentence handed down in the Taupo District Court to a step-father for almost killing a child as “pathetic” and sends a dangerous message to potential child abusers.

“According to the report, the 19-year old Taupo man threw the three month old across the living room causing a life-threatening head injury. It was only the expertise of the medical staff that prevented the child dying. Yet the offender will spend less than a year in prison after being sentenced to 16 months,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “That is pathetic and shows no value for the wellbeing of the child or the community’s disgust with abhorrent child abuse like this.”

“Aggravating circumstances were that the man made no attempt to resuscitate the child, abandoned the child, and according to the judge had ‘limited insight into the seriousness of his offending and displayed a troubling lack of perception regarding the seriousness of his offence’. There was also some concern expressed by medical staff about previous head injuries.”

“Ironically, at the same time, politicians are rushing around passing the Animal Welfare Amendment Bill which increases the maximum sentence for wilful ill-treatment of an animal from three years to five years.”

Family First NZ has consistently been calling for sentencing for those who abuse and kill our children to be substantially toughened to provide both a deterrent and a clear message of our community’s disgust with the actions of people who abuse children.

“This judgment shows that we are yet to get serious with child abusers and that the court is out of sync with public concern and opinion,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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