Media Release 11 April 2017
Family First NZ will be writing to the Solicitor General to ask them to appeal the weak and dangerous sentence handed to Tamehana Huata for the manslaughter of two-year-old Matiu Wereta.
“Most New Zealanders will read about this sentence of just seven and a half years and think that it is ‘Fake News’ – a cruel joke. Yet it is the sad reality, and a weak and dangerous sentence for a shocking attack involving multiple bruises, bite marks and fatal head injuries of a little 2-year-old – and a pathetic attempt by the defendant to try and excuse the behaviour. The judgement seems totally out of kilter with the community outrage which resulted in a more realistic sentence for the killers of Moko,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“The message has to be clear – if you violently abuse a child in such a way that it results in their death, then it will be treated as murder. Violent child abusers should not get ‘manslaughter’ when the child victim gets a life sentence,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“This offender-friendly sentence sends a dangerous message and sets a dangerous precedent. We simply don’t value the protection of vulnerable young children – based on the response of our justice system.”
“The finger is often pointed at communities to do more and speak up, but politicians and the legal system must also reflect the revulsion that NZ families have towards the violent murders of defenceless and vulnerable children. The wrong message is currently being sent to society as to how much value is placed on the life of a child. This is just another example. This is not the first time. But it has to be the last,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is continuing to call for a review of child abuse laws and for changes to the legal system to avoid ‘plea bargains’ and child abuse killers having their charges reduced from murder to manslaughter.