25 Oct 2008

Child witness in Nia murder case talks of rough play

6:11 am on 25 October 2008

A child witness in the Nia Glassie murder case has twice reaffirmed that wrestling moves performed on the toddler and two other children were not a game.

However, under cross-examination by defence lawyers, the child was not sure and subsequently agreed with leading questions that such rough play was meant to be fun.

Nia Glassie died of bleeding on the brain at Starship Hospital on 3 August, 2007. The three-year-old had been in a coma for 14 days.

Five people face a collective 22 charges including murder, manslaughter, willful ill-treatment and assault.

The Crown says Nia died in hospital in August as a result of being kicked in the head by Wiremu Curtis and Michael Curtis on the evening of 20 July, 2007. The brothers deny her murder.

The Crown says manslaughter-accused Michael Pearson, Orewa Kemp and Nia's mother, Lisa Kuka, also bear criminal responsibility.

After lengthy questioning at the High Court in Rotorua on Friday, the child agreed the wrestling moves performed on a mattress and cushions were sometimes fun.

The child spoke of two children enjoying being spun on a washing line, but said Nia had only one go, falling through the wires and hitting her head on the ground.

When it was suggested that Michael Curtis had not kicked Nia in the head on 20 July last year, as the Crown contends, after a long pause, the child did not know.

The child also said they were on the roof of a Frank Street home that day, helping set up a tarpaulin for a party.

The trial continues on Tuesday with more evidence from the child.