22 Aug 2012

Lawyer for murder-accused says case based on prejudice

10:39 pm on 22 August 2012

A lawyer for a man accused of murder says the case against his client is based on prejudice and speculation.

Kefu Ikamanu is on trial in the Auckland High Court following the death of his daughter Seini in 2010. The two-year-old was admitted to hospital with severe injuries to her head, shoulder and pelvis.

The Crown says the accused inflicted the injuries by throwing the girl at a wall and stomping on her.

The defence agrees that Mr Ikamanu caused his daughter's injuries but says he grabbed her wrist, then lost his grip, causing her to hit the wall.

In closing submissions on Wednesday, Mr Ikamanu's lawyer, Simon Lance, told jurors police had tunnel vision when they pursued a prosecution and had made up their minds that his client was guilty.

"Prejudice, ladies and gentlemen, is a cancer to justice. And in this case, the defence team have to face that head-on, because really there can be no, in my submission to you, bigger or greater prejudice in that associated with the death of a child.

"Two days after Seini was admitted to hospital and before he even spoke to the police, they told him if she died, he would be charged with murder. Before the ESR had even come back with their findings, before there had been an autopsy - this was what was going to happen."

Mr Lance told the court there was no hard evidence to support the Crown's assertion that the child was beaten.

But the Crown submitted there is little doubt that Kefu Ikamanu threw his daughter into a wall and then stomped on her body.

In his closing statement, prosecutor Phil Hamlin said the girl's injuries were similar to those that can be suffered in a car crash or falling from a great height.

Mr Hamiln told jurors to put themselves in Mr Ikamanu's position.

"What must be going through the mind of a fully grown man when he takes his daughter and somehow violently impacts her with the wall in his living room?"

The jury was reminded that Mr Ikamanu told police two different stories about how Seini was injured and asked how long he would spend in jail.