Thursday, 12 June 2008

Sentence for boy's killer to stay

An appeal against the sentence handed down to Stuart McMaster has failed

AN appeal against the leniency of a man's jail term for the manslaughter of a five-year-old boy has been dismissed.

Stuart John McMaster, 30, of Hoppers Crossing in Victoria, was jailed last August for 12 years and six months after pleading guilty to the manslaughter of Cody Hutchings, his fiancee's son.

The Victorian Supreme Court was told McMaster subjected Cody to brutal bashings to discipline the boy, who had a genetic condition that caused delayed development and behavioural difficulties.

On the last day of Cody's life - March 25, 2006 - McMaster hit the child up to 25 times in attacks that were savagely cruel, Justice David Harper said.

Victoria's chief prosecutor appealed against the length of the jail term, saying it should have been 15 years or more.

That appeal was dismissed today by Victorian Court of Appeal justices David Ashley, Marcia Neave and Lex Lasry, who ruled the sentencing judge correctly applied all legal principles.

The judges said that while McMaster assaulted the child many times and inflicted many bruises and cuts to his body over time, none of the injuries contributed to his death.

The judges said the unlawful and dangerous act to which McMaster admitted was thrusting his foot into the boy's stomach and he had to be punished for that single act.

"The fact that McMaster admitted assaulting the child many times did not mean that the judge could punish him for offences with which he had not been charged," they said.

McMaster was jailed for 12 years and six months for manslaughter and another six months for intentionally causing injury to the child's mother.

The judge fixed a non-parole term of 10 years.

McMaster had pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a jury failed to reach a verdict when he was tried for the boy's murder in June last year.


Ten years for beating infant to death
A 31-year-old West Australian man has been jailed for 10 years for bashing a three-year-old boy to death after inflicting injuries described by a judge as "almost beyond belief".

Criminal Code legtimises violence against kids: MP

A Queensland state Labor MP says new statistics showing the extent of child physical abuse by parents support his case for a review of the criminal code. Dean Wells says figures compiled by a parliamentary intern found almost 700 assault charges were laid against parents disciplining their children in the 2005/06 financial year.

Dad denies abuse claims as stepson says he's sorry
Accused stepson abused by cruel and brutal man, jury told
Australia grappling with child abuse 'epidemic'
Smacking children 'allowable': minister
DOCS insiders blow whistle on tragedy
Man jailed for bashing girl to death
SA row over smacking children
NZ passes anti-smacking law

No comments: