15 Mar 2013

Jury finds two of accused in sisters' deaths not guilty

6:01 pm on 15 March 2013

Two family members accused of killing two teenage girls in a car crash near Tauranga on Christmas Day 2011 have been found not guilty of manslaughter.

Sisters Brooklyn and Merepeka Morehu-Clark, aged 13 and 14, died after the car they were in, driven by their cousin, Hetaraka Reihana, smashed into an oncoming vehicle head on.

Yesterday, Reihana pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter.

In the High Court at Hamilton on Friday the mother of the girls, Phillippa Morehu, and Haki Davey were both found not guilty by a jury .

The jurors came back with the verdicts after four hours' deliberation.

On Thursday the prosecutor, Greg Hollister-Jones, told the jury both were guilty because they participated in a race that led to the death of the two girls.

But the lawyer for Haki Davey, Paul Mabey QC, said the jury could not be sure he was a party to Reihana's actions.

Glen Dixon, representing Phillippa Morehu, said his client denied encouraging Reihana to drive dangerously.