Trust to appeal Tamehana Huata sentence

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The Sensible Sentencing Trust is lodging an appeal with the Solicitor General against the 7.5 year sentence handed down to 19-year-old Tamehana Huata yesterday in the Napier High Court.

"What people don't understand is that 7 and a half years, to some people might think it's a reasonable sentence but when you take the fact that he can apply for parole at one third of that, that's an absolute pathetic sentence," says Garth McVicar, the trusts founder.

Huata was found guilty of killing his two and a half year old stepson Matiu Wereta in February this year by a jury trial. The boy known as MJ died of critical head injuries in 2015.

"Any child that dies under the age of five, there should be a mandatory sentence of 20 years in prison. That's where we stand and we're not going to budge on that," says the trusts child abuse spokesperson Scott Guthrie.

The trust says the light sentences handed down to those that kill children sends the message that there are no consequences for their actions.

"We're seeing inconsistencies around the country in the level of sentencing that is given so we as an organisation want to encourage crown law to appeal that to set a standard to set a precedent that other judges will be guided by," says McVicar.