Abuser’s sentence outrages lobbyists

Hawkes Bay Today 15 August 2012
Two prominent lobby groups have expressed outrage at a judge’s decision to give a young Hawke’s Bay father home detention for breaking his daughter’s legs and causing other injuries during assaults from birth until she was 4 months old.

…Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar said Hall’s punishment in no way reflected the seriousness of his actions and called for a tougher penalty.
“We have become used to the judiciary handing down ridiculous sentences, but this one takes the cake in recent memory,” he said. “For a crime that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of seven years, the sentence of a year’s home detention for such serious, repeated violence against a helpless infant by the person who should have been her protector, beggars belief. Even the defendant’s own lawyer argued for a starting point of two years’ imprisonment, while the Crown called for four years.” Mr McVicar asked that the Crown immediately appeal the sentence, which Family First New Zealand described as a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket.

Family First claimed the justice system was perpetuating the problem of child abuse and sending the wrong message by handing out weak sentences in response to serious cases. “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 completely undermining that message,” national director Bob McCoskrie said. He called home detention a “pathetic sentence [for a] cold, calculated and grotesque,” instance of abuse. “We simply don’t value the life and protection of our vulnerable young children, based on the response of our justice system. To put a value on that as a ‘homestay’ for 12 months is insulting and pathetic.” Mr McCoskrie argued consequences for harming a child should come in line with those for attacking a police officer or prison guard.
“It is time that children received the same increased level of protection … People who murder and maim our children need to know that children will be afforded greater protection by the judiciary.”

Crown urged to appeal baby leg breaker’s sentence
Newstalk ZB 14 August 2012
The Crown’s being urged to appeal the sentence handed down to a Napier man who broke his baby daughter’s legs. James Hall has been sentenced to a year’s home detention after fracturing both her legs and breaking her shin. Family First national director Bob McCoskrie says it’s a pathetic sentence that sends a dangerous message. He says people who murder and maim our children need to know children will be given greater protection by the judiciary.