WE’VE FAILED A LITTLE BOY
MATTHEW Scown made a huge mistake in laughing when he walked free from court on a suspended sentence despite pleading guilty to the manslaughter of a child.
The Supreme Court had its reasons for letting him walk this week, since Scown had already spent two years and eight months in custody. Justice Martin Burns also said Scown was not responsible for the injuries that killed little Tyrell Cobb, 4, but he had failed in his duty of care to the child.
Scown’s amusement outside court might have been sparked by a cameraman stumbling over a bin, as was being reported yesterday, but given the gravity of the case it was a poor choice. In the court of public opinion, Scown has been condemned for not showing contrition for his part in a tragic case.
Whatever the reason for his amusement, the real depth of outrage still stems from the point that the little boy was dying and Scown did nothing until it was too late. That is unforgivable.
This matter has put the spotlight firmly on an issue that has caused much public concern – that the system appears soft on criminals. Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnson is outraged by plea bargaining that she says keeps shifting cases through the system “at the cost of these kids’’.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has sought a review of the case, and the Government wants its sentencing advisory council to consider harsher sentencing options generally.
The Gold Coast public is already sickened by a tsunami of domestic violence cases. When it comes to the death of children, we’ve surely all had enough. If we lose just one more, society has failed in its duty.