Toddler Mason Lee died in agony over several days.
Toddler Mason Lee died in agony over several days.

The system failed Mason Lee twice

PUBLIC outrage and disbelief over the nine-year sentence given to Mason Lee's stepfather has sparked calls for a "kid killer register" and an independent panel to assess dangerous prisoners before they are freed.

Child safety advocate Bruce Morcombe said the toddler's killing should serve as a watershed moment for the Queensland justice system and urged a court appeal.

William Andrew O'Sullivan could be out on parole in less than four years despite admitting that he hit his stepson so hard that his organs ruptured in a case that has shocked Queensland.

Mr Morcombe said he felt "total disgust and outrage" at the sentence, which carries a six-year non parole period.

"This is an opportunity for the decision makers to say 'we got it wrong and we won't do it again'," he said.

"Let's reflect on that young kid and the pain that he went through. Let's bring on an appeal and fix the system."

Toddler Mason Lee.
Toddler Mason Lee.

 

Mr Morcombe suggested a child-killer register would keep monsters such as O'Sullivan, who will be up for parole in four years, in check.

"(Wife) Denise and myself have beaten the drum for a publicly accessible violent offender website to be available," he said. "So when he is released he doesn't … do the same bloody thing again."

Mr Morcombe, whose son Daniel was murdered by Brett Cowan in 2003, said the register was all about awareness, not "retribution".

Criminal law specialist Bill Potts said people were "rightly outraged" at O'Sullivan's "failure of humanity" which involved leaving the 22-month-old to slowly die in agony over several days.

Bruce Morcombe wants a child-killer register to keep monsters in check after they are released. Picture: Tara Croser
Bruce Morcombe wants a child-killer register to keep monsters in check after they are released. Picture: Tara Croser

But the Queensland Law Society deputy president called for calm in responding to his sentence

"The injuries to Mason Jet Lee and his suffering would break the heart of any person," he said. "But the courts are not there to reflect mob mentality but rather have to base their views reflecting public expectation and the objective seriousness of the offending."

Mr Potts welcomed a sensible debate on sentencing "rather than just a visceral gut reaction".

Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston is pushing for new laws that would jail child killers indefinitely.

The horrific injuries inflicted on Mason Lee.
The horrific injuries inflicted on Mason Lee.

 

She claimed even "the toughest judges in the world" were hamstrung by weak previous sentences leaving strong jail terms getting overturned on appeal.

"How horrendous does it have to be before that top sentence is realised," she said.

"This is the sadistic torture of a child. We need a new law for child killers … whether it's manslaughter or murder you go to jail for life."

Ms Johnston also urged , which allows for indefinite detention.

Despite lobbying for the law, Ms Johnston said "super dangerous people" were still being released.

 

Andrew William O’Sullivan could be out in four years after timed served.
Andrew William O’Sullivan could be out in four years after timed served.

 

 

She called for dangerous inmates to be first vetted by an independent panel of three experts who all agreed the prisoner was a low risk of reoffending before being freed.

"This community angst will just dissipate when we know that when they're released, it's safe and they're being managed," she said.

LNP deputy leader Tim Mander said introducing harsher sentencing for child killers was "worth exploring".

"You wonder how you do get life for manslaughter if it doesn't apply to this particular case," he said.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath is considering an appeal of O'Sullivan's sentence.