Judge calls gun parent 'grossly irresponsible'

Last updated 15:45 05/11/2012

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A mother who handed a rifle to her crying nine-year-old daughter and ordered her to shoot her alleged abuser has been labelled "cruel" and "grossly irresponsible" by a judge.

The 26-year-old Wairarapa woman was sentenced today at Masterton District Court to nine months' supervision and 150 hours' community work.

She was granted permanent name suppression by Judge Peter Hobbs to protect the identity of her daughter.

She was also ordered to attend a parenting course as well as a family violence programme.

The offending took place at Waitangi weekend after the girl told her mother she had been abused by the woman's partner.

Her mother did not believe her claims, instead handing her a rifle and telling her that, if the man had abused her, she should kill him.

"Shoot him . . . do it," she repeatedly shouted at the girl.

When the weeping girl kept refusing, her mother threatened to send her away to live with strangers.

Judge Hobbs said the offending was "incomprehensible".

"Your actions that day were... cruel and grossly irresponsible."

The girl was now staying with grandparents elsewhere in Wairarapa and was "doing OK" according to a statement from her teacher, he said.

Child, Youth and Family were also involved.

In September the woman pleaded guilty to charges of cruelty to a child and unlawful possession of a firearm.

The maximum penalty for cruelty or neglect of a child is five years in prison, while unlawful possession of a firearm carries a maximum penalty of four years' jail or a $5000 fine.

The woman's partner, 27, is also charged with the offences, as well as indecently assaulting the girl.

He has denied all the charges and was remanded on bail to reappear in court next month.

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- The Dominion Post

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