8 May 2016

Concerns over cost impact on criminal charges

4:31 pm on 8 May 2016

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."

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