NZ Herald story here
A deliberate and sustained beating - the aerial was discarded due to insufficient stiffness, and the offender went out to the garage and cut the fanbelt as it was more effective...
From the Dominion 20th September 2001
Tougher sentencing guidelines for child-killers will not be imposed, the Court of Appeal has ruled, despite the disagreement of retiring Justice Ted Thomas.In a decision delivered yesterday by Justice Gault, the court declined applications by solicitor-general Terrence Arnold to set a 10-year minimum sentencing guideline for people convicted of the manslaughter of children and for those who kill people after they have armed themselves. To set a starting point for manslaughter cases in those categories would be "futile" given the varied circumstances in which those offences could be committed, the court said. However, in the two cases examined, the court decided to increase the sentences handed down.
In February, Francis Riaz Rauf, 22, was sentenced to seven years in prison after being found guilty of the manslaughter of Lower Hutt taxi driver Mohamed Raafi Fuard. His sentence was increased to nine years. In March, Sipea Leuta, 30, of Otara in Auckland, was sentenced to six years' jail after she was found guilty of the manslaughter of her five-year-old son, Liotta. She beat him with an aerial and a fan belt. He died later from shock. Leuta's six-year sentence was increased to seven years' jail. In a separate decision, Justice Thomas, who retired last week, called for new sentencing levels for child-killers.In the case of Leuta, Justice Thomas said a clear indication from the Court of Appeal was required, that in cases of child-killing, the sentencing range that had prevailed no longer applied.
"New tariff levels are required to reflect the true culpability in such offending." A sentence of eight to 10 years "would send an unequivocal message that physical violence against children will not be tolerated and will be met with a severe sentence of imprisonment where the violence leads to the death of a child". Child-abuse statistics made "disturbing reading" and justified public concern, Justice Thomas said. There were various reasons why the courts should reflect this concern. The community had delegated the task of sentencing to the courts and its norms and expectations should be taken into account. If sentences did not meet public expectations, confidence in the administration of justice would diminish, he said.
The courts had failed to recognise the level of public concern in what was seen to be inadequate sentencing for serious rape cases, he said. "Parliament was forced to pass legislation in 1993 increasing the maximum penalty for rape from 14 to 20 years". Justice Thomas said he believed the courts should respond to the widespread public concern about the unacceptable level of physical violence against children with a new sentencing structure to be applied in cases where a child was killed. "To adhere to the sentencing levels set in the past is to adhere to the community's norms and expectations of the past," he said.
Date of Birth
1970 (D.O.B. is approximate)
Three Strikes Status
Sentenced to just 6 years in March 2001
Increased by the Crown to 7 years on appeal
Released September 2005
Additional Photos & Files
Associated Media Links Mother sentenced to six years for whipping son to death
Sipea Leuta Appeal Notes
OFFENCES / CONVICTIONS
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