The stepfather of four-year-old Tyrell Cobb, who died in his care, left the court laughing after he was set free, despite pleading guilty to manslaughter.
Matthew Scown, 34, grinned and laughed while being asked by reporters on Wednesday after the Supreme Court in Brisbane suspended his sentence.
Mr Scown, who was Tyrell’s mother’s boyfriend, was sentenced to four years in prison for the manslaughter of Tyrell, having already spent two years and eight months in custody.
Justice Martin Burns said Mr Scown was not responsible for the injuries that killed Tyrell but failed in his duty of care.
Tyrell had 53 bruises and 17 abrasions from head to legs when he died in May 2009 from internal bleeding and stomach injuries caused by blunt force trauma, the court heard.
Mr Scown did not immediately call up authorities or seek medical help, despite Tyrell vomiting green bile the night before his death, the court also heard.
“You ought to have acted,” Justice Burns said. “From the time of injury until death, every movement including breathing and vomiting would have caused extreme pain.”
However, Mr Scown called Triple-0 in distress and performed CPR on the boy as paramedics made their way to the Gold Coast home where the pair were staying. “Looks like he’s going to die on me,” Mr Scown told a Triple 0 operator.
When paramedics arrived, Mr Scown told them to hurry to the boy as he wasn’t breathing. “He’s turning blue,” he said, the court heard.
Justice Burns found that with the scenario, it was evident that Mr Scown had ‘extreme concern’ for Tyrell. “Clearly you were very worried about the little boy,” he said
Mr Scown was initially charged with murder but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge ahead of sentencing on Wednesday.
“The basis for your plea of guilty is an acceptance by you that you owed to Tyrell a duty of care, in particular to obtain medical assistance for him when you observed him to be so obviously and severely unwell,” Justice Burns said. “Your failure to obtain medical assistance for him renders you criminally negligent for his death.”
Justice Burns pointed out that Mr Scown did not harm Tyrell nor did he have knowledge or suspicions of the attacks that caused the boy’s fatal injury.
During submissions, crown prosecutor Phil McCarthy said Mr Scown had offered ‘considerable co-operation.