Agonising new development in sentence for Meeky’s death
THE former boss of an Edmonton daycare centre who left a three-year-old boy on a bus will learn on Wednesday how long he will spend behind bars for his manslaughter.
Michael Glenn Lewis, 46, made a shock early guilty plea in the Cairns Supreme Court on Monday, just a year after the body of Maliq Nicholas Floyd Namok-Malamoo - known to family as "Meeky" - was found inside the bus belonging to the Edmonton Goodstart Early Learning Centre.
Justice Jim Henry adjourned his decision until Wednesday to consider it.
During Tuesday's proceedings Crown prosecutor Nathan Crane said the tragedy came about after a "series of disorganised and disfunctional events" by Lewis.
Meeky had been collected from his home by Lewis about 9.20am after initially being forgotten on the daycare's first collection run, but was then left inside the bus until 3.13pm that day - February 18 last year.
The boy had also incorrectly been logged into the centre's computer system as being present at 7.39am that morning which the court heard had been done 16 times in the three months prior so the family's childcare subsidy was not impacted.
The court was told Lewis had driven the bus to a meeting during the day where he parked the bus in full sunlight for almost four hours but still failed to realise the boy was still inside.
The court heard temperatures inside the bus likely reached up to 56 degrees during the day with Meeky's cause of death deemed "vehicular hyperthermia".
A large contingent of Meeky's family, including mother Muriel Namok, filled the public gallery for the sentencing.
Ms Namok read out a heartbreaking victim impact statement where she described her "cheeky" young son who loved dancing, Weetbix, bananas, Aquaman and his family, attending the same daycare as his cousins.
"We have a big gap in our lives and a piece of us is missing," she said.
"(His sisters say) Meeky was taken away to daycare and never returned.
"I am sad because I don't have a baby son anymore."
Meeky's paternal grandmother Lorrae "Dolly" Oui also penned a statement on behalf of that side of the family which was read to the court, where she described the impact as "crippling".
"Losing Maliq in such a tragic way has ripped us apart as a family," she said.
"I cry every day and every night.
"My little gam gam boy waiting for someone to come get him."
The court heard Lewis, a Canadian native, had been living in Australia for 20 years and had been working in the childcare industry for eight years.
The court heard the father of three had no criminal history and was deeply remorseful for the tragedy, weeping as he addressed the family in court.
"I'm so sorry, poor family, I'm so sorry," he said.
"From the bottom of my heart I'm so sorry this happened."
His barrister Peter Feeney said Lewis' life had become one of "self reproach and anguish" and he struggled to leave his house for months and was concerned about going to jail.
"The life he led was one of trying to live a good life, provide for his family and be kind to every person he met," he said.
Originally published as Agonising new development in sentence for Meeky's death