NZ's anger over Moko sentencing

NZ's anger over Moko sentencing

Tania Shailer and David Haerewa have been sentenced to 17 years with a minimum of nine years for the manslaughter of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri.

They tortured and neglected him for two months before his death -- and Justice Sarah Katz told the court their offending was one of the worst cases of manslaughter she had dealt with.

Across New Zealand, demonstrators gathered today to express their shame and anger at Moko's death. Now, they are reacting to the sentencing, and the decision not to lay murder charges.

However, Attorney-General Chris Finlayson has defended this decision, saying the decision was made to ensure there would be a conviction.

New Zealand Bar Association President Clive Elliott QC agreed with him, saying "suggestions, reported in the media, that the process is flawed or that financial implications are relevant to the decision are misconceived and wrong."

Moko's mother, Nicola Dally-Paki, has attacked this.

"There is no remorse, there has been no apology, what there has been is lots of legal jargon and reduction of the charges to satisfy financial agendas," she said.

"They do not deserve mercy; they offered no Mercy to my son who suffered at their hands." 

Labour leader Andrew Little said at a rally that this must never happen to our children again.

There are now calls for legal reform to stop the use of plea bargaining; some say this is an institutional failing.

"The message has to be clear -- if you violently abuse a child in such a way that it results in their death, then it will be treated as murder," said Family First director Bob McCoskrie.

"Violent child abusers should not get 'manslaughter' when the child victim gets a life sentence."

Newshub.