WARNING: Distressing content
A PETITION calling for the retrial of a South Australian mother who escaped a jail sentence for bashing her eight-month-old daughter is on the verge of reaching 50,000 supporters in less than four days.
Started late last week by a NSW woman demanding justice for baby Evie, the change.org petition has received more than 40,000 signatures — 10,000 shy of its goal.
Despite not having any relationship to the family or even living in Adelaide, Alexandra McDermott made an impassioned plea on the petition site for the 26-year-old mother Lorien Norman to be brought to justice.
And Ms McDermott’s plea isn’t the only change.org petition to go viral this week.
Started by Adam Smith, a petition calling for harsher penalties for crimes against children has received a whopping 160,000 signatures in less than four days — 40,000 shy of being presented to the Department of Public Prosecutions.
Last October, Miss Norman called police at 4am, threatening to throw Evie over the balcony of her unit.
When police arrived, they noticed significant bruising to Evie’s face and body. Both Miss Norman and her daughter were taken to hospital.
Court documents revealed Miss Norman initially “lied” to police, claiming Evie had taken a fall while at a play gym the day before.
But a paediatrician examination concluded that Evie had actually sustained “at least eight separate blows to her face and body” as a result of physical assault.
The judge, Jack Costello, found Norman’s offence did not warrant a jail term.
“Whilst any assault of a child, particularly one of such a tender age and vulnerability, by a parent stands as a gross breach of trust, your offending is nevertheless far from the most serious of offending of this type in terms of the degree of force involved and the duration of the offending,” Judge Costello told the court.
Adding, “You have also had a significant history of drug (particularly cannabis) and alcohol abuse. Despite your troubled and somewhat dissolute past life there is guarded cause for optimism in that you have taken steps to turn your life around.
“You are clearly remorseful for your actions,” he ended.
Shane McMahon, the father of eight-month-old Evie, recently spoke to news.com.au about being “disgusted” at the August 30 court outcome and revealing the texts Miss Norman sent to him after avoiding jail.
Despite pleading guilty to aggravated assault for bashing Evie with a spoon — facing a maximum sentence of 13 years behind bars — judge Jack Costello instead gave Miss Norman a good behaviour bond and $500 fine.
The 26-year-old will be under the supervision of a community corrections officer, and complete any counselling, assessment or therapy programs deemed appropriate by the officer.
“This is a game to her,” Mr McMahon said, speaking of text messages he received in the days following Miss Norman’s sentence.
Mr McMahon, whose photos of Evie’s injuries have gone viral, said his daughter is still suffering mentally from the ordeal.
“Physically she’s OK … but mentally it’s too early to tell,” he said.
“But she’s well aware of what happened. She doesn’t like things near her face and will put her arms up. How will I have a hair dresser go near her face one day?”
If the petition reaches 50,000 signatures it will be delivered to The Supreme Court of South Australia, The Director of Public Prosecutions and the Court of Criminal Appeal.