With murder convictions handed down on Monday following a month-long trial over the violent death of Rotorua toddler Nia Glassie, the question of why she suffered is being asked.
Crown prosecutor Fletcher Pilditch told TV3’s Campbell Live he struggled to answer that question.
“Even though I was there for the three and a half weeks of the evidence that the jury heard, much of what the court is concerned with is the what happened to Nia and who was responsible for it.”
Pilditch said the question of why it happened was one he had started turning in his mind after the verdicts were announced.
“It’s a very important question and certainly a question that everyone needs to ask after a case like this, but I don’t really have an answer to that.”
Pilditch said it was a great relief to hear the guilty verdicts handed down to brothers Wiremu Curtis, 19, and Michael Curtis, 22, as well as the guilty verdict for the charge of manslaughter against Nia’s mother, Lisa Kuka, 35.
“Obviously no one takes great pleasure in a trial involving the death of a three-year-old child but there was relief to hear those verdicts.”
Outside court, Kuka’s lawyer Panama Le’au’Anae told TV3 his client was remorseful.
“She’s obviously upset about having lost her daughter so that’s something she’ll have to live with.”
Tuhoe Pearson, brother of Michael Pearson, who was found not guilty of manslaughter said he was going to give his brother a big hug.
“We need to get this out of the way so he can come home.”
With regard to the Curtis brothers, Tuhoe Pearson said he hoped they were locked up and the keys thrown away.
Trial witness Rawhiti Simiona, a neighbour to the house where Nia suffered, told TVNZ he regretted not calling the police when he saw the toddler being swung on the clothes line.
“I feel partially responsible in some sense, that maybe she’d still be alive if I had’ve rung the police that day ’cause not too long after that she passed away.”