Father of victim calls for tougher sentences

Young father Matene Te Aho who lost his five-month-old son Mikara Ranui Jarius Reti to killer Trent Hapuku in 2011, says there needs to be tougher sentences. His son's killer was charged with manslaughter and sentenced to only nine years in prison.

Braving the crowds at the Hastings rally, Matene Te Aho shared his story of pain and loss.

Te Aho says, ““I lost my firstborn child I become a father when I met my son for the first time and 5 months after he was born I lost him and it changed me deeply.”

His son was killed by Trent Hapuku, who landed a fatal blow to five-month-old Mikara Ranui Jarius Reti when he became agitated with the baby while playing PlayStation. He was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Te Aho says, “I think the justice system is failing us, I feel failed, I feel like I can't even trust the justice system if they can't convict a murderer for murder how are they going to do anything I honestly I have no more faith in it anymore.”

Like thousands of others around the country, he's added his signature to the petition asking to outlaw plea bargaining practise when it comes to murder charges.

Justice for Moko regional coordinator Charles Rusk says, ““This petition is hopefully going to stop that, if we can get enough signatures and enough people stand up and say enough is enough.”

Though the petition comes too late for Te Aho and his family, he hopes his story will do some good in saving another baby's life.