Child killer jailed for Baby Hunter murder received unduly lenient sentence, court told

Prosecutors described the murder as “among the most serious homicides one can begin to imagine”.

Sharyar Ali

Hunter McGleenon

Alan ErwinBelfast Telegraph

A man jailed for murdering his ex-girlfriend’s baby son received too much credit for his previous clear record, the Court of Appeal has heard.

Prosecution counsel claimed the minimum 13-year prison sentence imposed on Sharyar Ali for killing Hunter McGleenon in Keady, Co Armagh was unduly lenient.

Richard Weir KC described it as “among the most serious homicides one can begin to imagine”.

Ali, 34, admitted to murdering 11-month-old Hunter in November 2019.

A previous court heard the little boy died as a result of non-accidental injuries to his head and abdomen.

Ali, with an address at Westenra Terrace in Monaghan, had been in a relationship with Hunter’s mother and was looking after him.

He initially claimed the infant fell off a low sofa and struck his head on a concrete floor, but pleaded guilty to murder last year as he was set to go on trial.

The judge at Newry Crown Court imposed a life sentence, with a tariff of at least 13 years to be spent behind bars.

Victim impact statements, aggravating features and mitigating factors, including Ali’s good work history and lack of past criminal record, were all taken into account.

The Public Prosecution Service (PPS) referred the case to the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the term imposed was too lenient.

Hunter McGleenon

Senior judges were told there should have been a significantly higher starting point in the sentencing process due to the “overwhelming case” against Ali.

“The killing of a young child puts it in a category among the most serious homicides one can begin to imagine,” Mr Weir said.

“What has a good record got to do with mitigation in a case of this nature?

“The aggravating features were simply not given their appropriate weight, and mitigating features were given too much weight.”

Defence barrister Charles MacCreanor KC disputed the legal grounds advanced at the hearing, contending that issues about the starting point in sentencing were not fully set out in the PPS reference.

Reserving judgment in the appeal, Lady Chief Justice Dame Siobhan Keegan said: “This is an important case for all concerned.

“We will consider submissions made carefully and give our ruling as soon as we can.”

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