Hemi Burke’s parents Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin say they are devastated by the court decision. Picture: Liam Kidston
Hemi Burke’s parents Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin say they are devastated by the court decision. Picture: Liam Kidston

No extra time for man who killed Hemi

A COURT has rejected an application by the Attorney-General to appeal the "lenient" sentence of a child killer convicted of assaulting a second child.

Matthew James Ireland was jailed in 2017 for the horrific killing of 18-month-old Hemi Burke while he was babysitting the little boy in March 2015 at Moranbah.

Ireland drunkenly beat Hemi over a two-hour period, leaving him with more than 78 bruises from being repeatedly punched and kicked, and a severed brain stem when Ireland jerked the boys' legs out from under him, causing the toddler's head to smash on the bathtub.

Hemi Burke.
Hemi Burke.

Ireland was sentenced to eight and a half years in jail for Hemi's manslaughter in 2017 but because of time already served, his parole eligibility was set at March this year.

That parole eligibility was pushed back by just two months this year when Ireland pleaded guilty to assaulting another child, a three-year-old girl, in 2015, the same year he killed little Hemi.

He was sentenced to six months in jail for the assault against the girl but will only have to serve two months of that time.

The Attorney-General appealed the "lenient sentence" imposed for the assault on the little girl, arguing it was "manifestly excessive" and that the killer had been shown "unjustifiable leniency".

But the Court of Appeal this morning rejected the appeal.

"No misapplication of principle having been established, there is no warrant for intervention by this court," the judge wrote.

Outside court, Hemi's parents Shane Burke and Kerri-Ann Goodwin said they were devastated by the court's decision.

Matthew Ireland.
Matthew Ireland.