Review of dad's abuse sentence called for

By MORGAN TAIT

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The Sensible Sentencing Trust has written to the Solicitor General demanding the home detention sentence of the Hawke's Bay father who admitted breaking his baby daughter's legs be reconsidered.

James Robert Hall, of Napier, was sentenced to 12 months' home detention when he appeared before Justice Mary Peters in the Napier High Court this month after causing the injuries to his daughter before she was 4 months old.

Lobbyist Garth McVicar said the trust's letter was the result of dozens of phone calls, emails and text messages it had received from people condemning Hall's sentence. Hundreds of people also expressed their disdain on Facebook and social media.

"My aim is that we want the whole verdict appealed and the sentence appealed," Mr McVicar said. "It also gives people a vehicle to vent their frustration and anger at the sentence."

The letter disagreed with the reasoning for Hall's home detention sentence and questioned the message it sent about child abuse.

"The court has a responsibility to denounce actions of this type and to deter others by holding offenders such as Hall accountable," the trust said in its letter.

"As evidenced by some of the comments we have been receiving, society demands that this type of behaviour is appropriately punished and the rights of the victims considered.

"Judges have been delegated the task of sentencing by the community and the expectations of the community should be taken into account."

Mr McVicar said he hoped the trust's campaign would prove to be a catalyst for law reform.

"I can't say we are optimistic but we will do the best we possibly can, to do anything else would be to roll over and accept it - it's our country, our children, our future that's at stake here."

A representative for the Solicitor General could not be reached for comment.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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