Non-jail shaken baby sentence angers child advocates

Waikato Times 01/12/2010
A Cambridge man who severely injured his baby daughter by shaking her has avoided prison. The sentence has angered child advocates who say the country should be ashamed of its record of child abuse. Jacob Patrick Tatana, 21, was yesterday sentenced to three months’ home detention and 150 hours’ community work when he appeared in the Hamilton District Court. He earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of injuring by unlawful act related to shaking his three-month-old daughter Kayla Anne Tatana. Judge Glen Marshall originally considered a sentence of seven months in jail – the maximum penalty is three years – but reduced it due to mitigating factors. Sensible Sentencing Trust national spokesman Garth McVicar said the starting point should have been five years, and judges should focus on deterrence, not just the circumstances of individual cases. “We are very high in world standards now with assaults on babies and deaths of babies,” Mr McVicar said. “We should be absolutely ashamed of it and our judges should consider it.” …Family First national director Bob McCoskrie said: “This outcome sends all the wrong messages about the communities’ stand against violence, and sets a dangerous precedent for future cases.”