The grieving mum of a three-year-old boy who died after being left on a daycare bus for six hours has spoken out about the sentence handed to man responsible.
The grieving mum of a three-year-old boy who died after being left on a daycare bus for six hours has spoken out about the sentence handed to man responsible.

Mum’s grief after sentence over manslaughter of her son

THE grieving mum of a three-year-old boy who died after being left on a daycare bus for six hours says that she is ­"content" with the sentence handed down to the centre ­director charged with his manslaughter.

Muriel Namok bravely spoke briefly outside the Cairns Supreme Court on Wednesday after former Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning Centre director Michael Glenn Lewis, 46, was handed a six-year jail sentence.

Lewis pleaded guilty on Monday to causing the death of Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, 3, on February 18 last year.

The court heard he was spurred on to have the case concluded quickly after hearing Ms Namok publicly speak of the family's ongoing heartache just before the anniversary of her son's death.

Former daycare centre director Michael Glenn Lewis, 46 sentenced for manslaughter over the death of Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, 3, who he left on a daycare bus. Meeky's family including mum Muriel Namok, centre, speaking to media outside the Cairns Court. Picture: Stewart McLean
Former daycare centre director Michael Glenn Lewis, 46 sentenced for manslaughter over the death of Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo, 3, who he left on a daycare bus. Meeky's family including mum Muriel Namok, centre, speaking to media outside the Cairns Court. Picture: Stewart McLean

 

The Canadian national was driving the bus that collected Maliq - known by his family as Meeky - that day, then ­forgot to remove him from the vehicle with the internal ­temperature of the bus likely reaching up to 56C before he was found.

Ms Namok praised the ­efforts of the police who ran the heartbreaking investigation and the Department of Public Prosecutions.

"I am thankful and contented by the decision handed down by Justice Henry," Ms Namok said.

"Please respect my privacy."

Michael Glenn Lewis (right) enters Cairns court house with his solicitor Derek Perkins prior to his sentencing. Picture: Brendan Radke
Michael Glenn Lewis (right) enters Cairns court house with his solicitor Derek Perkins prior to his sentencing. Picture: Brendan Radke

She and other family members wept in court when Justice Jim Henry handed down his decision, which will see Lewis eligible for parole in ­August next year.

Several members of Cairns' Child Protection and Investigation Unit, who led the investigation, were also in the public gallery to hear the decision.

The unit's boss Det Sen-Sgt Mick Gooiker said outside court it was one of the most traumatic investigations he had been involved in.

"It was one of the most stressful and confronting investigations I've seen," he said.

A police forensic officer inspects the van. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
A police forensic officer inspects the van. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"I'd like to give my compliments to the team involved for doing such a professional, competent investigation in very trying circumstances."

In handing down his decision, Justice Henry spoke of Lewis' failure to comply with the company's procedures, implemented only two weeks before Meeky's death, which required children to be signed on and off buses and a physical check to be performed.

"Had you complied with your obligations as driver to meet those requirements, Maliq would not have died," he said.

Members of the public laid flowers and left teddies at the Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Edmonton, following the tragic death of a boy, 3, left in a minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Members of the public laid flowers and left teddies at the Goodstart Early Learning Centre, Edmonton, following the tragic death of a boy, 3, left in a minibus. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE

"Maliq's defencelessness and vulnerability was itself the reason why you owed the duty of care which you breached.

"I accept of course that the breach of duty stemmed from unintended oversight," Justice Henry.

"However, it is the central importance of the duty of care in the context of activity literally described as childcare, which renders the breach of that duty so extreme as to constitute criminal negligence."

Meeky died after being left on a daycare bus for almost six hours. Picture Supplied
Meeky died after being left on a daycare bus for almost six hours. Picture Supplied

He said Meeky's family had suffered "unfathomable grief" with a "catastrophic and lasting impact".

Justice Henry also described Lewis, who has no criminal history and an eight-year career in the childcare ­industry, as an "improbable offender" who was "genuinely remorseful".

Lewis tearfully addressed Meeky's family in court on Tuesday, apologising "from the bottom of my heart".

 

 

 

Originally published as 'Catastrophic': Mum's grief after sentence over bus death of son


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