Anna Leask

Anna Leask is a police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Child abuser's sentence slammed as 'pathetic'

Child advocates are calling for a tougher, jail sentence, instead of the 12 month home detention. Photo / Thinkstock
Child advocates are calling for a tougher, jail sentence, instead of the 12 month home detention. Photo / Thinkstock

Child advocates are calling for a man who tortured his newborn daughter, biting her and breaking her bones over two months, to be jailed.

Jack Alexander Booker, 22, was sentenced to 12 months' home detention in the North Shore District Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to assaulting and injuring his baby daughter with intent this year.

He started abusing her when she was just a month old, "angry and frustrated" at the newborn's colic.

Judge Nevin Dawson said he had intended sending Booker to prison but decided to sentence him to home detention after considering his remorse, willingness to be rehabilitated and lack of criminal history.

Family First NZ has written to the Solicitor-General asking for the sentence to be appealed. It wrote a similar letter when James Robert Hall, 21, was sentenced to home detention after breaking his baby's legs.

The Solicitor-General said the sentence was manifestly inadequate and it was replaced with jail time.

Family First NZ spokesman Bob McCoskrie told the Weekend Herald Booker's sentence was unacceptable.

"This is another pathetic sentence that sends a dangerous message. We simply don't value the life and protection of our vulnerable young children, based on the response of our justice system," he said.

"This latest case involved significant and repetitive violence, and was described by the judge as abhorrent. The father attempted to cover up his actions and only appears to have shown remorse when caught - otherwise the abuse could be continuing today. To put a value on that as a 'homestay' for 12 months is insulting and pathetic."

The community was told that child abuse was unacceptable and that our most vulnerable people needed protection. "Yet the consequences given out by the courts are completely undermining that message ... People who murder, maim and torture our children need to know children will be afforded greater protection by the judiciary."

Crown Solicitor Simon Moore, SC, said: "The Crown will need to examine the judge's sentencing comments before deciding on any further course."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n1 at 22 Jul 2014 23:36:40 Processing Time: 2368ms