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Nia Case Sparks Tougher Sentencing Call

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Nia Glassie
Nia Glassie

Wellington, Feb 4 NZPA - The sentencing of Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie's killers today has sparked calls for tougher sentences, earlier intervention in troubled families and wider reporting of abuse.

Brothers Wiremu and Michael Curtis were today sentenced for life with a minimum non-parole period of 17-1/2 years for Nia's murder.

Nia's mother, Lisa Kuka, 35, was sentenced to nine years for manslaughter, while Nia's cousin Michael Pearson, 20 and Michael Curtis' partner Oriwa Kemp, 18, were sentenced to three years and three years and four months respectively for wilful ill treatment.

The group was convicted in the High Court at Rotorua in November after a jury heard evidence of horrific ongoing abuse and beatings which equated to torture and eventually led to three-year-old Nia's death.

But Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesman Garth McVicar today said the sentences were not enough and an overhaul of the laws on violence against children were needed.

"This was not a one-off temper-induced killing, this was a prolonged systematic attack on a totally defenceless child. A more horrific murder would be hard to imagine."

Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro said preventing child abuse was a much more complex problem to solve.

She said those responsible for Nia's death needed to be punished, but more deaths would occur without a greater focus on early intervention in troubled families, education and employment.

"Preparing people to parent properly, supporting people to parent and taking responsibility for the safety of children in our families, these are some of the keys to ensuring our children are safe.

"If families or friends can't help, then ask social services in your area for help."

Preventing Violence in the Home executive director Jane Drumm today called on all those who suspected domestic abuse to immediately notify authorities.

"One of the many horrific pieces of information reported about this case is that so many people knew at least part of what was going on and none of them was prepared to take action."

Liz Kinley, chief executive of violence prevention group Jigsaw, said more children would die if people did not help when it was needed.

"She was surrounded by adults within the family and neighbourhood who knew she was being seriously harmed but didn't act to protect her.

"As a small voiceless child she depended entirely on those adults to make sure she was safe."

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