A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of his four-year-old stepson laughed as he left court after being set free.
Matthew Scown, 34, grinned and laughed when questioned by reporters on Wednesday after the Supreme Court in Brisbane suspended his sentence.
Scown was sentenced to four years’ jail for the manslaughter of his stepson Tyrell Cobb, having already spent two years and eight months in custody.
Young Tyrell had 53 bruises and 17 abrasions from head to legs when he died, the court heard.
Hetty Johnston, founder of children’s charity Bravehearts, accused prosecutors of going soft on Scown to speed up the case, The Courier Mail reported.
She said offenders are ‘laughing’ after a series of cases in which child killers have had charges reduced, including a man who tortured his infant daughter to death.
‘They’re doing all these plea bargains just to move cases through … [it’s] expedition at the cost of these kids,’ she said.
‘I think if the DPP had the resources and the backbone they should have gone for him [Scown].’
Justice Martin Burns said Scown was not responsible for the injuries that killed Tyrell but failed in his duty of care.
Tyrell died in May 2009 from internal bleeding and stomach injuries caused by blunt force trauma.
While Scown did not cause the injuries he did not contact authorities or seek medical help, even when Tyrell was vomiting green bile the night before his death.
‘You ought to have acted,’ Justice Burns said.
‘From the time of injury until death every movement including breathing and vomiting would have caused extreme pain.’
Scown called Triple-0 in distress and performed CPR on the boy as paramedics made their way to the Gold Coast home where the pair were staying.
‘Looks like he’s going to die on me,’ Scown told a Triple 0 operator, the court heard.
When paramedics arrived Scown told them to hurry to the boy as he wasn’t breathing.
‘He’s turning blue,’ he said.
This, Justice Burns found, was evidence of Scown’s ‘extreme concern’ for Tyrell.
‘Clearly you were very worried about the little boy,’ he said.
Scone was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to lesser charge ahead of sentence on Wednesday.
‘The basis for your plea of guilty is an acceptance by you that you owed to Tyrell a duty of care, in particular to obtain medical assistance for him when you observed him to be so obviously and severely unwell,’ Justice Burns said.
‘Your failure to obtain medical assistance for him renders you criminally negligent for his death.’
Justice Burns stressed that Scown had not harmed Tyrell and did not have knowledge or suspicions of the attacks that caused his fatal injury.
During submissions, crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said Scown had offered ‘considerable co-operation.’