Calls for baby killer's sentence to be appealed
IT was a sickening and potentially preventable crime that sparked outrage earlier this month when the man who killed his own baby was handed a 10-year prison term.
Now Queensland's Shadow Attorney-General David Janetzki is calling for an appeal against the sentence he says was too soft for such a reprehensible crime.
Christopher Holland moved from Gladstone to Rockhampton while his partner was pregnant.
On May 9 this year , he was sentenced for the violent killing of his newborn son, Lattrell Dodd at a Rockhampton property on May 31, 2013.
The baby was just 12 weeks old and for 31 days had suffered severe pain from injuries inflicted by both his parents.
He died from seven skull fractures, bilateral subretinal haemorrhages and 32 to fractures to his little body, including 17 to his ribs.
Lattrell had been in the care of a relative, Tanya Dodd, for two months before his biological parents, Holland and Megan Freeman, forcefully took him away to a place filled with drugs, alcohol and violence.
The last time Lattrell was seen unharmed by medical professionals was when he received a tuberculosis immunisation on April 22, 2013.
In the month before he died in Lady Cilento Children's Hospital, community nurses had twice unsuccessfully tried to visit him.
Tanya Dodd had sought assistance from the police to have the baby moved back to safe environment, but in the end it was too late.
During the hearing, Crown prosecutor Joshua Phillips called it a bad example of manslaughter by neglect.
Defence barrister Frank Richards said both Holland, 34, and Freeman, 26, spent their time largely sourcing and consuming drugs and alcohol and were "ill-equipped" to care for Lattrell.
Justice Crow said he had never seen a case like it.
Mr Janetzki has urgently written to Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath calling for an appeal against Holland's sentence.
"It's another example of the system failing to protect our precious children," Mr Janetzki said.
"This three-month-old boy was the victim of unspeakable violence ... this was an act of evil.
"This vulnerable child was betrayed by his own father and his life was cut short in the most horrendous way possible.
"A ten year jail sentence doesn't reflect the gravity of the offence committed."
Earlier this month the Queensland opposition sought to amend the criminal code to strengthen the homicide framework.
Mr Janetzki said the amendment would have given greater protection to vulnerable children by introducing a new offence of child homicide with a mandatory minimum 15-year jail tern and increased minimum non-parole period from 20-25 years, but Labor rejected the laws.
"Queenslanders have a right to be asking what more a person must do to get a lengthy jail term," he said.
"We must protect our kids but Labor's laws merely tinker at the edges of a system that is tipped too heavily in favour of offenders."
The court heard there were no previous cases of manslaughter of a child by neglect where the offender had such an extensive criminal history (15 pages) as Holland.
Holland was charged in December 2015 and at the time of sentencing he had spent 1247 days in pre-sentence custody.
Freeman pleaded guilty to one count of cruelty to a child under 16 and was sentenced on March 26 to 18 months in prison with parole release on September 25.
She was heavily pregnant when she was sentenced.
Yesterday Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath woulod not comment on Holland's 10-year sentence.
"While the LNP continues to play politics with the Government's bill expanding the definition of homicide, it's important to note that they voted in support of our bill in Parliament," she said.
"The State Government expanded the definition of murder so killers who show callous disregard for children will now face life in jail, if convicted.
"By contrast, the LNP proposed a mandatory 15 years in jail for those convicted of child manslaughter. That is one of the reasons why the Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee recommended that the LNP's legislation should not be passed, but the government's should.
"As part of its normal processes, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions reviews sentences and provides advice on whether there are legal grounds for appeals in any given matter."