The mother of eight-month-old Nate Dunbar yesterday warned the three year and eight month jail term handed to her son's drink-driving killer would not deter others and urged tougher mandatory sentences for similar crimes.
Stacy Dunbar labelled the sentence given to mother of three Melissa Ann Waters "devastating" after it was handed down on Tuesday, saying it was like someone had suggested her baby's life was worth less than four years. Waters can apply for parole in one year and 10 months.
Attorney-General Michael Mischin said he could not comment specifically on the Waters case, but had requested a briefing on the matter from the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Mrs Dunbar further criticised the sentence on 6PR radio yesterday, suggesting while the judge was thorough and no sentence would ever feel enough, the system needed a "shake-up" and mandatory jail terms.
"I didn't feel it was any deterrent . . . and I also didn't feel it was justice for what we had to endure and what Nate had to endure," she said. "I think that there needs to be something like a mandatory jail sentence . . . you have killed someone."
Mrs Dunbar said mandatory jail would prevent the stress her family felt when they learnt Waters would likely apply for a suspended jail term.
District Court Judge Anthony Derrick rejected the bid, saying only immediate jail was appropriate and a deterrent. He acknowledged aggravating factors along with the Dunbars' grief, including Waters' decision to drive despite knowing she would drink that night and even after friends said to stay the night.
But the judge also had to take into account Waters' guilty plea, remorse, mostly clear record, and the emotional and financial effect her sentence would have on her family.
Yesterday, Mrs Dunbar accepted the judge had to consider such issues but said she felt disappointed with the result.
"In the final sentence . . . (it seemed) we will just sentence you according to how you should be sentenced, not for any deterrent or justice for Nate," she said.
Waters crashed her vehicle into the baby's Merriwa bedroom after driving with a 0.17 blood alcohol level and at excess speed in January.Her jail term is the same as Benjamin Alan Butler's after he drove hungover with a blood alcohol level of .166, crashed into a pram and killed 11-month-old Grace Moorby in Thornlie in 2008.