• Three-year-old Maliq Nicholas Lloyd Namok-Malamoo, "Meeky" was left alone on a childcare mini bus last year. (Supplied.)Source: Supplied.
A former Cairns childcare director has been sentenced to six years over the death of a three-year-old boy who was left locked in a minibus last year.
25 Feb 2021 - 12:18 PM  UPDATED 25 Feb 2021 - 12:18 PM

The mother of a child who died on a minibus in February last year said she was thankful for the decision to convict a former Cairns childcare director.

Mchael Lewis was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter over the death of three-year-old, Maliq Nicholas Lloyd Namok-Malamoo, known to his family as "Meeky". 

Meeky's mother, Muriel Namok said she was content with the decision handed down in court.

"Thank you to the Child Protection Investigation Unit and the DPP for their support," Ms Namok said.

Lewis had collected the boy with the Goodstart Early Learning Centre minibus but failed to take the boy off the minibus after arriving at the daycare centre.

Meeky was left alone on the bus where temperatures soared to 56 degrees Celsius. He was found dead later that day.

In his sentencing, Justice James Henry said if Michael Lewis had complied with the centre's sign-in and out methods Meeky would not have died.

He said the degree of criminal negligence performed by Lewis would concern any member of society, but the failings were also a result of understaffing at the centre.

"It is to be appreciated your failure occurred in the context of what was also an organisational or corporate failure," Justice Henry said.

"Just as this tragedy would not have happened if you had followed the sign-in sheet procedure, it is also unlikely to have happened if the centre had adequate relief staff."

The court also heard the result of the negligence was so severe, the punishment needed to be severe enough to show the community's denouncement of the actions.

"The sentence I will impose is not for deliberately dangerous conduct or deliberate infliction of harm," Justice Henry said.

"If it were, your sentence would of course be longer."

Michael Lewis offered a tearful apology to the family in court.

"I'm so sorry, poor family, I'm so sorry," Lewis said.

"He was such a light — you guys were so beautiful — from the bottom of my heart I am very sorry it happened."

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