Tyrell Cobb's Step Dad Walks Free From Court
The Queensland government will consider appealing the suspended sentence given to a man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of his four-year-old stepson, Tyrell Cobb, and smiled and laughed as he walked free.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says she'll ask Attorney-General Yvette D'ath to look at the sentence, which has angered child protection advocates who think the sentence was unacceptable and were appalled by Matthew Scown's response.
"I'm angry too. How insensitive is that for the man to be laughing after the death of his stepson. Absolutely, absolutely unacceptable," Ms Palaszczuk told Nine on Thursday.
Matthew Scown was sentenced on Wednesday to a maximum four years' jail.
The remainder of his sentence was suspended in Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday, having already spent two years and eight months in custody.
Justice Martin Burns said Scown was not responsible for the injuries that killed Tyrell but failed in his duty of care to the boy, who died in May 2009 from internal bleeding and stomach injuries caused by blunt force trauma.
Tyrell had 53 bruises and 17 abrasions from head to legs when he died, the court heard.
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.
Scown 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."