Matthew James Ireland
Matthew James Ireland Contributed

Attorney-General to appeal against babysitter's sentence

ATTORNEY-GENERAL Yvette D'Ath will lodge an appeal against the sentence imposed on a babysitter who confessed to striking a child in Moranbah. 

Matthew James Ireland, 33, initially blamed the youngster's little brother for the issue four years ago.

But he did eventually admit to hitting the girl in the head while she was in his care on March 24, 2015.

Ireland was sentenced in Mackay District Court on January 31 this year to six months' imprisonment, with parole eligibility after serving two months, for assault occasioning bodily harm to a child.

Ireland has been behind bars over a serious offence dated to 2015, which we are legally unable to detail.

He could be freed from prison on parole by May 24.

But the Attorney-General has asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to lodge the appeal on the grounds that this new sentence is manifestly inadequate.

Watching from the public gallery on the sentence day last month, the girl's parents were surrounded by a group of supporters.

They read out poignant victim impact statements, including one from the victim, now aged six.

The girl expressed her fears "the bad man will come to get me again".

"I have nightmares. I sleep with my mum and dad now, because I'm too scared to sleep by myself," it read.

"Why did you hit me? I am little and you are a big, strong, brave man."

Crown prosecutor Alex Baker told the court Ireland had been drinking alcohol while caring for the girl and her young brother.

Ireland had been entrusted to look after the children while their parents were in Brisbane.

"The defendant struck the complainant child in the head with his hand," Ms Baker said.

"That ultimately resulted in a 4cm by 4cm bruise to her forehead. She sought refuge under a blanket in her bedroom."

Barrister Scott McLennan told the court Ireland had been repeatedly beaten in prison, and that his client had been diagnosed with PTSD, bipolar disorder and borderline schizophrenia.

He said Ireland, an alcoholic with a rough background, had undertaken a number of courses in jail.

A date is yet to be set for the appeal.