Experts call for review of manslaughter law in New Zealand
Legal experts in New Zealand have urged the authorities to review the country's manslaughter law after widespread outrage over recent cases involving killers pleading guilty to manslaughter andnot murder. They said that the country's criminal prosecution system require reforms urgently.
Michael TeKouarehuKereopa, who earlier faced the chances of a murder trial, pleaded guilty to manslaughter of Kapiti baby Gracie-May McSorley. Kereopa had fatally injured McSorleywith a backhand blow. The case comes after Taupo's three year old MokoRangitoheriri's caregivers were found to have been beating for weeks and later convicted of his manslaughter.
Justice Minister Amy Adams had asked for a report into manslaughter law following the widespread criticism over Taupo's case. Tania Shailer, who is 26 years old and David Haerewa, who is 43 years old, were entrusted by Moko's parents to take his care. They both pleaded guilty to Moko's manslaughter in May after the young boy suffered weeks of abuse, including being kicked, slapped and stomped on. He died of his injuries on August 10, 2015.
Experts said that under the current system, a murder charge scares defendant off fighting and entice them into an agreement with the prosecution to plead guilty to a lesser charge. They called for reforms to the legal system.
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