Plea bargain law focus of campaign

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Alexandra woman Jenny Cosgriff says she has always wanted to ‘‘do something’’ about child abuse in New Zealand.
Mrs Cosgriff, the mother of Tahlia (10) and Mac (21 months), is helping to coordinate the Central Otago component of the national campaign Stand Up NZ Day, a rally which will take place outside the Alexandra District Court building on Monday.
Cromwell woman Andrea Allison is also behind the event, one of several taking place around the country on the same day.
‘‘The campaign is being organised by the Sensible Sentencing Trust which is aiming to bring about a change in New Zealand’s plea bargain laws,’’ Mrs Cosgriff said.
‘‘The date is significant as it is the day the two people charged with the manslaughter of Moko Rangitoheriri will be sentenced.’’
Moko (3), of Taupo, died last August from injuries inflicted by his carers, Tania Shailer and David William Haerewa. The pair were originally charged with murder but the charge was changed by plea bargain from murder to manslaughter.
‘‘After the horrific death of Nia Glassie eight years ago, I knew I wanted to do something. Like other rallies around the country on Monday, we will be calling for justice for Moko. But it is also saying ‘enough is enough’ and there must be a law change,’’ Mrs Cosgriff said.
‘‘Plea bargaining is simply unacceptable in cases such as this. It is not just for Moko but all children who have suffered and will suffer in the future.’’
The rally will be held at 9am and include displays. People would also be able to sign a petition calling for a law change, Mrs Cosgriff said.