Child Protection Advocate Wants Appeal Of Laughing Killer's 4 Year Sentence

"Our system is wrong, it's not working"

Child Protection Advocate Wants Appeal Of Laughing Killer's 4 Year Sentence

Queensland prosecutors have been slammed as soft, after using a plea bargain deal to let a child killer off on what's been labelled an insultingly light sentence. 

Matthew Scown was sentenced to four years jail, after admitting to not getting help for his girlfriend's badly beaten son Tyrell Cobb

4 year old Tyrell died on the Gold Coast in May, 2009. Tyrell's body was covered in more than 50 bruises, and 17 cuts and abrasions. 

Tyrell's mother, and her partner at the time, Scown, were originally charged with the boy's murder, but the charges have since been downgraded.

In court, it wasn't alleged that Scown hurt the boy but rather that he didn't get him any medical help before it was far too late.  

Yesterday, Scown walked free from the Brisbane Supreme Court because of almost three years already served on remand. 

On his way out of the court, Scown broke out in callous fits of laughter. 


Child protection advocate and founder of Bravehearts, Hetty Johnston, says the whole situation makes her physically sick. 

"Our system is wrong, it's not working. It's certainly not reflecting community outrage. I mean, it's disgusting. How could anybody, I mean even a stranger, who knows a little boy has died under horrific circumstances laugh?", said Johnston. 

"This is so appalling and this person so revolting that we definitely need to appeal. This is a miscarriage of justice", she said. 

"This punishment does not fit the crime. This man should be in jail, this little boy's legacy should be honoured, and the message should be much I'm calling on the Attorney-General to appeal this sentence and to fight for justice"

The Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, meantime, has also weighed in on Scown's reaction. 

"How insensitive is that? For the man to be laughing after the death of his step son?" she said on Nine. 

"Absolutely unacceptable. I am quite sure that the Attorney-General will be looking at this case." 

The criticism comes after at least three other Queensland killers were sentenced for manslaughter as part of plea deals since the beginning of the year, including a man who tortured his 4 week old daughter to death, and a woman who beat her child with a vacuum cleaner. 

Johnston says a lot of it comes down to a lack of prosecution resources. 

"In the name of expediency, they're just plea bargaining these matters out. Meanwhile, we've lost a little boy and the message to everyone else out there that are beating children to a pulp in their homes, and this IS happening, is just 'don't worry about it'"

She says it sets a revolting precedent. 

"Because even if you get caught, the penalties aren't that great so y'know, it's like 'whatever'."