Sentence Against Child Killer Devalues Children

Media Release 11 June 2012
Family First NZ says that the sentencing of Trent Hapuku to nine years for killing his partner’s five month old child Mikara Reti devalues children, and should be appealed by the Crown. 

“To value a defenceless child’s short life at just nine years – and possibly less under our parole laws – is insulting, and sends a message that we value the life of children less than adults,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ. “If anything, the punishment for killing our most vulnerable and most defenseless should be greater.” 

“The decision is almost as insulting as stepfather Kerry Ratana being sentenced earlier this year to prison for 16 years for killing and sexually violating his 5-year-old Sahara Baker-Koro in Hawke’s Bay, but up for parole after 8 years and 3 months.” 

“As a community, we are trying to say that the abuse of our young and most vulnerable is completely unacceptable, and that our responsibility as adults is even greater around these young children – yet the consequences given out by the courts are undermining that message.” 

“It is significant that the consequences for attacking a police officer or prison guard are being increased. It is time that children received the same increased level of protection,” says Mr McCoskrie. 

Last year, the Crown challenged a sentence of seven years in prison given to the killer of Palmerston North three-year-old Cash McKinnon, describing it as ‘manifestly unjust’.

 “This decision today also seems inconsistent with a decision last year where Rikki Ngatai-Check was jailed for at least 17 years for the murder of Whanganui 2 year old Karl Perigo-Check.” 

“We would call on the Crown to appeal the sentence in this current case. People who murder and maim our children need to know that children will be afforded greater protection by the judiciary,” says Mr McCoskrie.

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