The family of a man who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of four-year-old Tyrrell Cobb say he's being unfairly portrayed as a monster.
As Matthew Scown walked towards freedom, he has also walked into a storm of outrage.
Caught smirking outside court on Wednesday, Mr Scown's family has told Seven News the reason he laughed was because a cameraman had fallen over, and they feel he has been unfairly depicted as a callous monster.
The controversy comes as Queensland's Attorney General calls for a sentencing review after criticism that judges are too soft on offenders involved in child deaths.
The Gold Coast man pleaded guilty to manslaughter over the death of his former girlfriend's son after Tyrrell Cobb's body was found covered with 53 bruises and 17 cuts.
Scown is not alleged to have caused the injuries, but failed to call for medical help in time to save him.
His four year sentence was suspended because of time already served.
"There is a growing concern from the general public about whether sentencing for criminal offences arising from the death of a child are meeting community's expectations," Queensland's Attorney General Yvette D'Ath said.
Both the Attorney General and the Premier condemned Mr Scown for smirking and laughing as he left court on Wednesday.
- Four-year-old boy's stepfather admits manslaughter
- Four-year-old boy's stepdad walks free after pleading guilty to manslaughter
"The public are rightly disturbed by the response of Mr Matthew Scown as he left court," the Attorney General said.
Child protection groups are now calling for a new, mandatory sentence for those involved in child deaths.
"They're walking away and children are dying," Bravehearts spokeswoman Hetty Johnston said.
"I feel confident that we'll get a hearing on this; I hope so, because our children deserve it."