13 Nov 2012

Jury considers verdict in trial of man accused of killing toddler

7:05 pm on 13 November 2012

The jury has retired to consider its verdict in the trial of the man accused of murdering an Auckland toddler.

Joel Loffley is on trial in the High Court at Auckland accused of killing James Lawrence, known as JJ, at his home at Orakei on 14 November last year.

The Crown says the two-year-old suffered blunt force trauma to his stomach, severely damaging his internal organs including his liver and pancreas.

Justice Patrick Keane has directed the jury about the possibilities of finding Mr Loffley guilty of either the boy's murder or manslaughter.

He said JJ Lawrence's death was sudden and shocking and the jury needed to decide if it was Mr Loffley who was responsible for the injuries that caused his death.

Justice Keane said if jurors decided he was responsible, Mr Loffley could be found guilty of manslaughter.

However, if they believed Mr Loffley intended to kill the toddler, or knew the force he was using might be fatal, they should find him guilty of murder.

Justice Keane told them the primary evidence they should consider is what happened on the morning of 14 November, the day JJ Lawrence died, and to be cautious about evidence of Mr Loffley's history of violence.