Family group slams sentence for child abuser

TVNZ March 12 2010
A lobby group has slammed the courts for the 16-month jail sentence handed down to a young man who caused life threatening injuries to his three month old baby. Taupo District Court was told on Thursday that forestry worker Chevy Benjamin Leeward Cashell threw the child from chest height about one metre across his living room in August 2009. The court was told that the child was unresponsive on arrival at Taupo Hospital and was transferred to Waikato Hospital by helicopter for urgent treatment. Had it not been for the quick actions of the medical staff the child would have died, Judge James Weir says.

Family First NZ describes the 16-month sentence as “pathetic” and sent a dangerous message to potential child abusers. “That is pathetic and shows no value for the wellbeing of the child or the community’s disgust with abhorrent child abuse like this,” the lobby group’s national director Bob McCoskrie says. “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’,” he says. “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.”