Part 4 – Murder versus Manslaughter.
As you have heard us say many times, our beautiful children are our most precious of all gifts. The joy they offer us as parents, as grandparents, aunties and uncles is absolutely priceless. I have always said the cherished smile from a child or the contagious laughter from a young baby can brighten the hardest of days. Their love is unconditional. Their gentle squeeze hugs provide a warmth that creates a treasured memory as adults our hearts and our minds never forget.
Sadly, our beautiful children are also our most vulnerable of all victims. New Zealand has one of the worst levels of child abuse in the developed world. A shameful, devastating statistic that is only getting worse! Why are so many childrens’ lives worth so little to so many? When will our Government, our Justice system open their eyes and open their hearts and respect the value of each and every child?
Our Justice system is failing our babies and children. The value of their lives has been dishonoured. Dishonoured in favour of the horrific offenders that made the intentional, deliberate choice to steal the life of an innocent, vulnerable child. Every child that is intentionally killed by an adult should be charged and sentenced with Murder. Instead, we are seeing so many child homicide cases being downgraded to Manslaughter.
When I wrote this four-part series, I read over 25 detailed cases of child homicide. Each and every child that was abused, beaten, and violently killed deserved to live a full and happy life. They deserved to be safe, to be protected and to be respected. They deserved to share the warmth of their beautiful smiles and their little giggles to be heard for all to hear. They all deserved to be honoured by our Justice system. I do not believe any of the adults whose cruel and violent choices should have been gifted sentences that allowed them the freedom to live outside a prison cell. There are never and excuses for child abuse.
Little Esme was only two years old when she passed away.
She died after being aggressively restrained, then her little face was forcefully pushed into a pillow which not only stopped her crying, but she was unable to breath. Esme was left face down, still and quiet. Her killer left her in this position for hours. When he finally checked on her, she was no longer moving and could not be resuscitated. Esme’s killer was found guilty of manslaughter.
Little James was only four years old when he passed away.
He was beaten to death with a hammer, a jug cord, and a steel pipe. He was punched and kicked. James had been beaten two years earlier by the same man who killed him. He had also suffered from a previous concussion. His body was covered in cuts, bruises, and damage to his private parts. James died of extensive damage to his internal organs. James killer was found guilty of manslaughter.
Baby Lincoln was only five months old when he passed away.
Lincoln died of an un-survivable brain bleed. He had been shaken so violently that this caused him to stop breathing. A post-mortem scan revealed Lincoln had suffered a previous brain bleed and had previously been forcefully struck on the side of the head. The killer was originally charged with manslaughter, but the family and the Crown fought for a murder conviction.
Lincoln’s killer was found guilty of murder.
I wanted to share these three cases with you today to ask – do you think our Justice system is getting it wrong?
– Karrin Coates
Waikato Victim Advisor of SSGT
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