WE’VE FAILED A LIT­TLE BOY

The Gold Coast Bulletin - - OPINION -

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.

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