21 Jan 2013

Hundreds turn out for domestic violence rally

7:41 pm on 21 January 2013

Hundreds of people have marched through Whangarei against domestic violence led by a man whose sister was assaulted and died two weeks ago.

Patricia McGrath was attacked on 4 January and died five days later after her life support was switched off.

Organiser John McGrath carried a poster of his sister, a 34-year-old mother of two, during the rally through the town centre on Monday.

Mr McGrath says hundreds of people, including the mayor, police and other organisations came out in support of the protest against violence towards women.

Steve Elliott, whose niece Sophie Elliott was stabbed to death five years ago by her former boyfriend in Dunedin, took part and praised the McGrath family for their involvement.

Meanwhile, John McGrath has criticised comments linking gay marriage to a rise in crime.

Mr McGrath says he disagrees completely with Sensible Sentencing Trust spokesperson Garth McVicar's statement in a submission on legalising gay marriage that the move could increase crime, saying he could not understand how people can think like that.

Manslaughter charge laid

A man charged in relation to the death Patricia McGrath has appeared in court charged with manslaughter.

Phillip Mahanga first appeared in the Whangarei District Court charged with assault and breaching bail conditions.

On Monday, he also faced the new charge of manslaughter and will reappear in court on 14 February.