Lawmakers have been urged to appeal the “pathetic” sentence handed down by Judge Alan MacKenzie on Friday in the Palmerston North High Court to a man who killed his former partner’s toddler because she wouldn’t listen to him. She suffered horrific injuries after Sean James Donnelly, 23, a former security guard, swung her around by her ankles as punishment, before letting the wee girl go after he became dizzy.
He initially denied any wrong-doing, claiming Cash had suffered the injuries after his own four-year-old daughter had hit her with a doll. As the Judge noted, Donnelly chose not to treat the toddler’s sickening injuries until a friend arrived at his house about 90 minutes after the incident.
Donnelly was handed a seven-year jail sentence on Friday after earlier pleading guilty to three-year-old Cash McKinnon’s manslaughter. But as judge Alan MacKenzie did not impose a statutory non-parole period, Donnelly could be released back into the community in as little as 18 months. In summing up the judge noted that Donnelly did not intend to kill the girl and had yet to face up to the totality of what he had done.
Sensible Sentencing Trust boss Garth McVicar last night hit out at the sentence imposed, saying it was abhorrent and needed to be reviewed. He said the sentence failed to send a strong message to the community that horrendous offences of child abuse would not be tolerated.
“What is the message in this pathetic sentence that children don’t matter, that we as a society accept and tolerate this sort of behaviour? With a stroke of the pen our judiciary has single-handedly underwritten and endorsed New Zealand’s horrendous child abuse statistics. The high level of child abuse in New Zealand is already eyed with disdain by the rest of the world. We are a pathetic little country that does not treasure its children and simply allows them to be treated as cannon fodder,” McVicar said.
Full story by Neil Reid – Stuff News: 26 March 2011 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/4813808/Lawmakers-urged-to-appeal-pathetic-sentence