8 Mar 2013

Court hears conflicting evidence from witness

7:45 pm on 8 March 2013

The Hamilton High Court has heard conflicting evidence from a witness in the trial of three people accused of the manslaughter of two teenage girls in a car crash.

Philippa Morehu, 37, Haki Davey, 19, and Hetaraka Reihana, 21, are charged with killing sisters Brooklyn and Merepeka Morehu-Clark, aged 13 and 14, at Welcome Bay near Tauranga on Christmas Day 2011.

Philippa Morehu is the mother of the two girls.

The Crown says the three accused were driving separate vehicles and racing each other at the time Mr Reihana ploughed into an oncoming vehicle, killing his two passengers.

On Friday, Nazarene Morehu read from her witness statement, taken the day after crash, saying they were all driving really fast and racing each other.

In evidence, given reluctantly in court, Ms Morehu said she had not seen the cars racing and estimated that the speeds the cars were doing was less than she first told police.

The prosecutor asked her if she was now lying and had been pressured into it. Ms Morehu replied: "No".

Ms Morehu told the court the accused were drunk before they set off to visit her grandmother's grave and that before the crash it looked like all three were racing.

She said at the crash scene, she told Mr Davey and Mr Reihana they were idiots to drive the way they did.