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Concern No Charges Laid Regarding Death Of Baby

22 March 2002

Concern No Charges Are Being Laid Regarding Death Of Baby

According to Police, no charges are in the pipeline as a result of the death of Te Paa Manihera Rewhiti, a 12-week-old baby boy who may have been vomited on by his intoxicated mother before dying of pneumonia, giardia and probably septicaemia, says National's Associate Welfare Spokesperson Katherine Rich.

"To add insult to injury having been breast-fed before his death, the baby would have most certainly been intoxicated himself. That no charges are being considered is outrageous. A young baby has died and at the least an inquiry needs to be held.

"The Coroner has described the incident as a tragedy that mothers of young babies can learn from. In my view it's not just a tragedy. A baby has died and charges must be considered if there is to be any justice for the baby.

"Had a senior citizen been housed in unhygienic surroundings, fed rotten food, covered with a duvet and left to suffer at least three preventable severe medical conditions, charges would most certainly have been pressed.

"After all the publicity and all the work that health professionals do to tell mothers not to binge-drink and breastfeed, not to have the baby in bed, to keep their airwaves clear and how to maintain hygienic surroundings, there is no excuse for keeping a baby in these conditions. If someone can't understand these basics, they should not have pets, let alone children.

"My question is: Why are the police not considering charging Ms Rewiti-Davis with at the least failing to provide the necessities of life," asks Katherine Rich.


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