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Lawyer relieved no jail time for client

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/06/2017
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The lawyer for Shane Neil has spoken of his relief as his client avoided jail following the death of his 8-month-old son in 2015.

Isaiah Neil died after he was left alone in a car for three hours while his father, mother and grandmother smoked synthetic cannabis at a Ruatoki property in the Bay of Plenty.

Mr Neil discovered Isaiah in the vehicle at about 4pm that day and brought him inside before putting the baby to bed.

His lifeless body was found at 6.30pm, and a paramedic's attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Lacey-Marie Te Whetu, 27, and Neil, 30, pleaded guilty to their son's manslaughter in April while grandmother Donna Parangi, 52, was found guilty of the same charge following a trial in May.

They all appeared for sentencing at the Rotorua High Court on Friday.

The two women received three years' imprisonment while Mr Neil escaped a custodial sentence, which his lawyer Roger Laybourn was thrilled about.

"I did my best to get him that outcome - home detention is still jail and it's not a soft option," Mr Laybourn said.

"The theme that came through in this case is regardless of what penalty was imposed, these people are going to be torturing themselves for the rest of their lives."

Mr Laybourn revealed his client was ready to be sent to prison and fully acknowledged he should have sought urgent medical attention for Isaiah.

"He was prepared to deal with whatever sentence was given and he's dealing with his own guilt.

"That's the real tragedy of it - a little boy that should never have died and everybody knows that.

"I don't want to get into any detailed social commentary but it just shows you that drug addiction is very wide spread and it has to be taken seriously."

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