Financial pressure on Crown prosecutors and public defenders could risk murder charges being downgraded for cost-saving reasons, a criminal law expert says.
A murder charge against Tania Shailer and David Haerewa over the death of three-year-old Moko Rangitoheriri was last week downgraded to manslaughter.
Criminal law lecturer Khylee Quince told our Maori issues correspondent Mihingarangi Forbes on TV3's The Hui that cost could well be a factor in such decisions.
"Anecdotally we know that a lot of the Crown prosecutors, public defenders are under the gun in terms of how much money they have, so it puts pressure on those people."
She said a case review management process required the Crown and defence to try to negotiate the number and nature of charges.
"That's a cost matter."