17 years, 9 non-parole minimum for Moko’s death

Tania Shailer and David Haerewa

Tania Shailer and David Haerewa

Tania Shailer, 26, and David William Haerewa, 43, were jailed for 17 years, with a minimum non-parole period of nine years, in Rotorua High Court on Monday for their callous and fatal abuse of the boy in Taupo last year.

The pair were initially charged with murder, but that was downgraded and they pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Outside court, Sensible Sentencing’s legal adviser David Garrett said the high-end 17-year term for manslaughter was a “pleasant surprise”.

However, if the pair had been put on trial for murder and found guilty, they could have got life without parole or at least a minimum non-parole period of 17 years, Mr Garrett said.

“In other words, they’ve actually got off fairly lightly … the judge has done all she can, I think.”

Interestingly enough, according to the rules and practices, the judge had to give a discount for an early guilty plea. She thereby changed a life sentence without parole to 17 years with parole possible in 9. If you don’t think it is enough, that’s about as much as could be given under our current system. 

Family First also welcomed the 17-year sentence, but still wants a review of the legal system to avoid “plea bargains”.

“Violent child abusers should not get manslaughter when the child victim gets a life sentence,” said national director Bob McCoskrie in a statement.

The killers of three-year-old Ngatikauri Ngati, 13-month-old Trent Matthews, seven-week-old Milton Raroa, Lillybing, Delcelia Witika and James Whakaruru were also convicted of manslaughter rather than murder, he said.

“But these cases are not accidental. They are violent acts and extreme abuse of vulnerable defenceless children who deserve protection.”

I covered this on the weekend. To prove intent to murder would have put the conviction at risk. And the maximum sentence for manslaughter is the same as for murder.

We may all feel it is still not “enough”.  17 years is not as short as it sounds, but 9 will be a travesty.

RIP my little friend.

Moko Rangitoheriri

Moko Rangitoheriri

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.