Russell Blackstock is a senior reporter at the Weekend Herald and Herald on Sunday.

Rallies to call for change

Three year old Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri
Three year old Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri

Thousands of people will join a nationwide series of courthouse rallies tomorrow morning to protest the death of Moko Rangitoheriri.

The 9am gatherings are timed to coincide with the sentencing of the abused child's killers in the Rotorua High Court.

People supporting the Stand Up NZ campaign will gather outside 34 courtrooms from Whangarei to Dunedin.

National rally organiser Jayne Crothall said supporters would be asked to sign a petition to change the law that allowed the pair's charges to be downgraded.

"An amazing number of people from all over New Zealand have stepped forward to back this rally," Crothall said.

"The tragic death of Moko has opened a lot of people's minds to the issue of plea bargaining. People are disgusted by this practice and are sick of it. We won't stop tomorrow, we will keep going until the law gets changed.

Crothall's 3-year-old daughter Brittany was murdered in February 1997. Luke Fredrick Sibley was sentenced to life imprisonment after he suffocated and strangled the toddler while she slept at her home in Christchurch.

"If we do nothing, nothing changes so we stand up and start."

The Facebook page Stand UP NZ - Justice for Moko has rally details.

- Herald on Sunday

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