Child victims ‘treated as garbage by the courts’
THE grandmother of a toddler bashed to death by his babysitter says child victims have been "treated as garbage by the courts", in a scathing attack against state prosecutors and the Queensland Law Society.
Hemi Goodwin-Burke, an 18-month-old boy, was beaten to death by Matthew James Ireland in Moranbah in central Queensland in 2015.
Ireland pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was sentenced to 8½ years and is eligible for parole in March.
The toddler's grandmother Lyn Burke has written a submission to Queensland's Sentencing and Advisory Council, which is reviewing child murder sentences, stating the "injustice of the so-called justice system will never allow any form of peace".
"For nearly two years, we were told by the prosecution to not speak to journalists, don't rock the boat, you might hinder the murder charge," Ms Burke wrote.
"We obeyed only to be advised that the charge would now be manslaughter, which would ensure a conviction.
"What changed, who dropped the ball, the police or the prosecution? I would never have dreamt that killing a defenseless (sic) human being would account for so little."
Ms Burke said she learnt decisions were "really made behind closed doors and not in the courtroom".
She said there was enough evidence for Ireland to be committed to stand trial for murder and there were more than 20 witnesses to be used at trial.
"Were all these people wrong and incompetent or not worth bothering with?" she wrote.
Criminal lawyer Bill Potts said for juries to convict, they had to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt, while a committal to a higher court was on the basis that a properly instructed jury "could" convict.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions declined to comment.