11 Dec 2008

Jury in toddler murder trial retires for night

7:28 pm on 11 December 2008

The jury in the trial of five men charged over the death of a Wanganui toddler has retired for the night.

Four of the accused are charged with murdering two-year-old Jhia Te Tua in May last year, while the fifth man is charged with being an accessory to her murder.

On Thursday, the jury heard the final three closing addresses from lawyers for the accused before the judge summed up the case.

Justice Gendall told the jury that they should not draw adverse inferences against the accused from the fact that some witnesses gave evidence anonymously.

The jury will resume its deliberations on Friday morning.

Manslaughter pleas

A second man accused of murdering the Jhia has pleaded guilty to her manslaughter.

Erueti Nahona also pleaded guilty the High Court in Wellington to charges of assault and participating in an organised criminal group on the night the two-year-old was killed.

On Monday, Godfrey Muraahi also pleaded guilty pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter, and to participating in an organised criminal group.

Earlier, Justice Gendell had discharged him on a charge of assault.

Both men have been remanded in custody for sentencing at a later date.