17 years for killing Moko

The Herald reports:

The man and woman who pleaded guilty to killing Taupo 3-year-old Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri have been sentenced to 17 years each with a minimum of nine years at the High Court in Rotorua.

Tania Shailer, 26, and David William Haerewa, 43, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and ill treating a child. They had originally been charged with murder.

Judge Sarah Katz said this was the highest sentence imposed in New Zealand for manslaughter against a child.

Good. The Attorney-General has noted:

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson today set out the reasons for the Crown’s decision to accept the manslaughter pleas of Tania Shailer and David Haerewa in substitution of murder charges for the killing of Moko Rangitoheriri.

Ms Shailer and Mr Haerewa were today both sentenced to 17 years in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of nine years. Until that sentencing took place, the Attorney-General and Solicitor-General were unable to comment on the specifics of the case, as the sentencing was a matter for the courts.

“The Crown’s decisions in this case, including the decision to accept the manslaughter pleas, were motivated by the need to secure convictions for this horrendous killing and to avoid the significant risk that either of the defendants could escape such a conviction because of evidential issues,” Mr Finlayson said.

“The guilty pleas and admitted facts enabled the Crown to argue for a sentence which reflected the nature of the crimes committed. Without the guilty pleas, the full details of the facts set out in the Statement of Facts may not have otherwise come to light.

“The decision to accept a plea of manslaughter in substitution of a murder charge is never taken lightly. A robust process is followed which ultimately requires the approval of the Solicitor-General.

“The overarching consideration is whether the interests of justice are met in accepting the plea and in particular, whether the charge can adequately reflect the criminal nature of the conduct as well as allow sufficient scope for sentencing.

 “Based on the evidence available for trial, there was a substantial risk that one or both of the defendants would not be convicted of the legal charge of murder or manslaughter.
I guess it may have been a case of a bird in the hand being worth two in the bush. A certainty of conviction for manslaughter vs a probability for murder.

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