Richard Lawson represented John Alexander AndersonCriminal lawyer, Richard Lawson represented John Alexander Anderson who pled guilty to assaulting his two-year-old nephew, Reef Marley Dyson. The assault led to the death of the toddler.

Anderson admitted to becoming frustrated by his inability to quiet his two-year-old nephew. He reported shaking the young child and covering the child’s mouth with his hand to try and stop the crying.

During the emotional sentencing, Judge Julie Wagner heard the arguments against Anderson made by the prosecutor, Linda Petrusa. According to the prosecution, Anderson was under the influence of cannabis while playing online poker for 13 hours. Petrusa contended that aggravated is the correct term for the assault because Anderson created the situation where his own frustration and exhaustion got the best of him.


What Evidence Did Richard Lawson Present?

Attorney for the defence, Richard Lawson explained the extenuating circumstances involved in the tragic death.

  • Anderson was not aware that some small children do not breathe well through their noses and covering their mouths is potentially dangerous. Anderson, a father of four, had not experienced such difficulties with any of his own children.
  • Anderson’s actions were not premeditated nor intended to cause bodily harm.
  • Anderson and his partner attempted to resuscitate the toddler and sought medical help when they saw Reef was not breathing.
  • Without the details Anderson shared, a conviction of any sort would have been unlikely.
  • Anderson had experienced a campaign of harassment since the toddler’s death.

By clarifying the circumstances behind the extremely emotional case, Mr Lawson assured his client did not experience a punishment that was beyond the scope of the crime.