Matthew Scown angered the nation yesterday when he was pictured laughing after walking free from court despite watching his stepson die in agonising pain.

The Queenslander was convicted of manslaughter over the death of four-year-old Tyrell Cobb but walked free from court yesterday after a plea deal saw his sentence reduced.

The sentence was then suspended because he had served almost three years on remand, meaning that on Wednesday he walked away from the Supreme Court in Brisbane a free man.

Scown has since been confronted about the obvious delight he showed about being let go, with a reporter from 9 News asking him if he was "still laughing".


"I've already spoken with my lawyers and I've spoken with the other family, so what youse (sic) need to do now is leave me alone," he said.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk expressed her outrage over the light sentence in an interview yesterday.

"I am angry too, how insensitive is that for the man to be laughing after the death of his stepson," she said.

When 9 News asked Scown what exactly he found so funny, he said he was laughing at the media, specifically when a cameraman accidentally backed into a bin.

A TV reporter is knocked over by a member of Scown's family. Photo / Channel 9
A TV reporter is knocked over by a member of Scown's family. Photo / Channel 9

However, numerous eyewitnesses and TV cameras pictured him laughing and smirking well before that.

When Scown was asked if he felt "lucky" about serving such a short sentence, he said he'd "done the right thing" and told them to "speak to the Supreme Court judge".

According to 9 News, Scown's previous charges include multiple serious assaults, wilful damage, multiple breaches of bail and multiple failures to appear at court.

In extraordinary scenes yesterday, the 34-year-old smiled for the cameras and laughed to himself as he walked away from court through a media scrum. Even when asked directly about the death of four-year-old Tyrell, he giggled to himself.

Matthew Scown smiled and laughed as he left the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Photo / AAP
Matthew Scown smiled and laughed as he left the Supreme Court in Brisbane. Photo / AAP

Victim advocates say "soft" prosecutors are using plea bargains to speed up cases, but are letting child killers free.

The founder of child protection agency Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, told The Courier Mail the downgrading of Scown's charge from murder left offenders "laughing" at the system.

"They're doing all these plea bargains just to move cases through ... (it's) expedition at the cost of these kids."

"Child abuse is ignored is child abuse so if you know it's happening and you haven't done anything to stop it, you're as guilty as the perpetrator," Ms Johnston told 9 News.

Tyrell died on the Gold Coast in May 2009 from internal bleeding and stomach injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

The judge said Tyrell Cobb
The judge said Tyrell Cobb "would have survived if he received treatment".

A post-mortem revealed he had 53 bruises and 17 abrasions from head to legs when he died.

Scown was charged with murder a day after the boy's death in 2009, but the case was dismissed at a committal hearing in 2010.

Committal hearings are held to see if there is sufficient evidence for a case to advance to trial.

Tyrell's mum Heidi Strbak, who was Scown's partner, will face a manslaughter trial next month.

Scown was not accused of causing the fatal injury to Tyrell, but of standing back and watching the tiny boy die as his condition got worse. He called Triple 0 only after Tyrell had begun vomiting bile.