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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kristi Abrahams is finally sentenced

It always happens - the Defence lawyers of brutal murderers like Kristi Abrahams come up with a sob story of how they were mistreated as a child, and even though it shouldn't make a difference, it does.  They looked hard for a reason why this cruel woman made her daughter's life a misery by torturing and finally killing her and they found one - because of her Aboriginal background, she was placed in the indigenous care system that let her down.

Her barrister Janet Manuell, told the court that Abrahams' father was a violent Aboriginal drunk who spent most of his time in prison and when she was 10 years old, and found her mother dead in their home, she went into care.

"She was confronted with a system which said no, you're Aboriginal - it dictated the care structure, it dictated the level of care she got, or didn't get, and it stayed that way until the ages of 11 to 16 when she moved into girls' refuges.  She was never given the love and support which was so important for her development, she simply doesn't have the emotional coping skills and has punished herself and continues to punish herself for what she's done" Ms Manuell said.

Please stop Ms Manuell, you are breaking my heart.  Prosecutor Chris Maxwell's heart was breaking too because he said that her background should be taken into account when deciding what her sentence should be.

So we can assume that time will be taken off her sentence because she had a rough childhood, and time will also be taken off because she pleaded "guilty" and then there's the Aboriginal connection. That all adds up to letting her off with a light sentence. 

But there's one thing that Kristi Abrahams' barrister said yesterday that we can all agree with - "It's easy to hate Kristi Abrahams" and we do, passionately.  Our courts are letting us down, there's far too much compassion shown to the offender and not nearly enough for the victim - in this case, a little girl who had nobody to turn to.

Justice Ian Harrison will sentence Abrahams on July 18.

Edit July 18, 2013:  Justice Ian Harrison sentenced Abrahams to a minimum 16 years.  He said she lived a troubled life "beyond most people's understanding.”  There was a 25 year standard non parole period for the murder of a child, he said, but other factors could be taken into account when determining the sentence.  He felt she had been “publicly vilified” for three years and was entitled to a 10 per cent reduction for pleading guilty on the morning her trial was due to start. The general consensus is that 16 years is not long enough and that the judge gave more sympathy to the mother and not enough to the murdered child.