The lawyer for the man who murdered a baby he had nicknamed Zombie Boy says his client is truly sorry for what he did.
James Hemana was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years on Thursday for killing his girlfriend's six-month-old baby, Cezar Taylor.
In court his defence lawyer Steve Bonnar tried to argue for a shorter sentence, saying his client was being given the same sentence as more callous killers who carried out prolonged beatings.
Hemana killed the boy by shaking and dropping him.
Mr Bonnar told Checkpoint Hemana is remorseful and has to live with the fact he is responsible for baby Cezar's death.
He says there are a number of the same factors in this case that he has seen in other child abuse cases, such as poverty and a lack of support for people caring for children.
Hemana was found guilty at the High Court at Auckland of the murder of Cezar Taylor late last year.
The baby died from severe head injuries in hospital 10 days after being shaken and dropped by Hemana in July 2011.
Along with the minimum 17 year term for murder, Hemana was given a sentence of four years for failing to provide the necessaries of life, which he will serve concurrently.
Mr Bonnar said the judge recognised this was not a case where the baby was subject to prolonged beatings.
He said the judge found the shaking and dropping was an isolated incident and sentenced Hemana accordingly.