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Sensible Sentencing Trust wants plea bargaining abolished

Maree Kiwana-Makanihi Takuira-Mita Ngahere was only 4 weeks old when she was killed on the 19th of February 2019. After a homicide investigation, the Coroner found that Maree died after suffering a brain injury causing bleeding to the brain.

Today at the High Court in Whangārei, Maree’s birth father Jahcey Te Koha Aroha o te Raki Ngahere pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.

The Sensible Sentencing Trust says plea bargaining in Child Abuse cases must stop! National Spokesperson Jess McVicar says plea bargaining means the punishment is reduced and the offender is not held accountable or responsible for their actions.

“We understand that the Crown focus on working towards a conviction, however we believe plea bargaining and downgrading of charges are not acceptable in any Child Abuse case where it has resulted in a child being badly hurt or killed.”

“When a child is so violently beaten that they have bleeding on the brain, and they die as a result of the harm inflicted on them, that is murder - end of story! It is simple common sense to know that any violent act inflicted, particularly on a vulnerable child, will likely result in their death, so when you make the choice to violently attack, that is premeditated murder.”

Jess says “We seem to be like a broken record stuck on repeat, continually asking for plea bargaining to be removed in these horrific Child Abuse cases. In 2016 we presented a petition to Parliament that 1,000’s of people signed demanding an end to plea bargaining.”

Jess said SST have launched their Nationwide Child Abuse campaign and have promised it will continue until someone listens and makes the legislative changes needed in relation to Child Abuse cases. SST believe, in Child Abuse cases the ‘Right to Silence’ needs to be abolished along with the option of plea bargains.


To follow the SST Child Abuse campaign, signup via www.sst.org.nz or Sensible Sentencing Trust’s Facebook page.

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