21 Feb 2009

Crown appeals against Gwaze acquittal

9:32 am on 21 February 2009

The acquittal of a Christchurch man who faced charges of murdering and sexually violating his 10-year-old niece is being appealed by the Crown.

In a rare move, the Crown has appealed against a jury's decision to clear George Gwaze of killing his niece Charlene Makaza, who died in hospital in January 2007.

Most appeals are lodged by those convicted of crimes.

Mr Gwaze's lawyer Jonathan Eaton says he received confirmation of the appeal on Friday.

The Crown wants an appeal based on evidence it says the trial judge did not allow the jury to hear.

It says the judge should have stopped or delayed the trial so the jury could hear from an overseas-based witness.

Mr Eaton says the appeal was was not unexpected but acknowledges it is an unusual situation, and says Mr Gwaze remains stoic.

Mr Gwaze was acquitted on 21 May 2008.