Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.
“This should never have been a case where a plea deal was done. I have looked over 40 cases of child abuse cases, and while manslaughter is a charge that features, it’s unfathomable that the Crown Prosecutors used it in this case.
“Shailer and Haerewa were originally charged with murder in October last year, only to have that downgraded to manslaughter – a charge they then pled guilty to in May.
“Our law was not the problem here. The plea deal was.
“Coroner Bain, who will conduct an inquest into this case, has drawn comparisons with Nia Glassie. Moko was the victim of a sustained attack, and what has been described as torture.
“The summary of facts presented in court tell of Moko being kicked, thrown, dropped face first on the floor, bitten, stomped on, and denied medical care. When he finally was admitted to hospital he had severe facial swelling, his abdomen was distended, and had both bruises and bite marks.
“With so many injuries the post-mortem wasn't even able to pinpoint one cause of death. A haemorrhage deep in Moko's abdomen, a bowel rupture and swelling to the brain were all contenders.
“This case was horrific, and it is hard to see how this could have been interpreted as anything other than murder.
“Justice would have been better served by allowing this case to go to trial, and allowing a jury to decide,” says Jacinda Ardern.