UPDATE: Baby homicide case to be taken to High Court

By Jessica Tyson, Raniera Harrison

The man charged with the murder of four-week-old Maree Takuira Mita Ngahere wiped tears from his eyes during his court appearance today.

The 22-year-old was granted  interim name suppression this morning by Judge D. Orchard at the Kaitāia District Court.

His next appearance will be at the Whangārei High Court next Thursday at 9am.

Acting Detective Inspector Lloyd Schmid says the injuries inflicted upon baby Maree last month were “very serious”.

Results from a post-mortem indicated she suffered a brain injury and bleeding to her brain, according to Schmid.

There was also severe bruising on one arm and thigh.

The man also faces a charge of assault on a child in relation to a separate matter.

He wore a black and red hoodie during the 20-minute-long court session this morning.

The mother of the baby was also present, alongside 19 other members of her extended whānau, who sat in the public gallery.

Last week a spokesperson for Maree’s family, Bardia Matiu, said, “We want to know what happened to our mokopuna.

“Our whānau are united in our support of the police in their search for the truth.”

report released in 2018 found that children under 5 made up 12 per cent of homicide victims.

“These children represent the most vulnerable members of society, who are too often killed by the people whose job it is to keep them safe,” says Detective Superintendent Tim Anderson.

According to the report, Māori also account for around a third of homicide victims.

Schmid says he’d like to thank the Far North community for their information and support throughout the investigation.