Rotorua Daily Post 4 May 2016
Family First Comment: It is disgraceful that our justice system is designed in such a way that prosecutors go for a lower charge in order to guarantee a conviction. Shameful.
Manslaughter convictions for the carers of a horrifically abused Taupo toddler show New Zealand’s homicide laws are a complete mess and a ground-up review is needed, a law expert says.
Moko Rangitoheriri, 3, was assaulted over a two-month period in Taupo after his mother left him with a couple while she was in Auckland looking after another child in Starship hospital.
Tania Shailer, 26, and David William Haerewa, 43, pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges on Monday in the High Court at Rotorua on what was supposed to be the first day of their murder trial.
The pair tortured the child by kicking him, stomping on him and slapping him. They rubbed his own faeces in his face. He was eventually beaten to the point where he suffered facial swelling, internal bleeding, septic shock from his leaking bowel and swelling of the brain.
Moko was left for four days suffering those injuries before the couple rang 111, saying he had fallen off a wood pile.
Canterbury University law professor Chris Gallavin is calling on the Law Commission to consider different degrees of murder for cases like this.
“New Zealand homicide laws are a complete mess, a total basketcase,” he said.
“They need a review right from the ground up.”
The Sensible Sentencing Trust also slammed the Crown’s decision to not pursue murder charges, with founder Garth McVicar saying plea bargaining was becoming a problem in the justice system.
“This was Nia Glassie and the Kahui twins all rolled into one.”
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