March for Moko to deliver petition for murder charge

  • 14/09/2016
Moko Rangitoheriri
Moko Rangitoheriri

Rarely is there such overwhelming evidence for a case of murder as there was in the death of Rotorua toddler Moko Rangitoheriri, the Sensible Sentencing Trust says.

That's why there was such public outrage when his killers Tania Shailer, 26, and David Haerewa, 43, were able to plead guilty to manslaughter despite being charged with murder.

More than 6600 people have signed an online petition and thousands more in print, according to the Trust which will host a march to Parliament from Midland Park in Lambton Quay at midday on Thursday to hand deliver the community's concerns.

Trust spokeswoman Jayne Walker says momentum has not stopped growing in their campaign, which seeks to outlaw plea bargaining initiated by prosecutors and introduce a system where a High Court judge must approve the replacement of a murder charge with a lesser alternative.

"Ordinary Kiwis are absolutely outraged that the charges were downgraded from murder to that of manslaughter," she said.

"Should you actually have the stomach to read the statement of facts... there will be no doubt in your mind that he was indeed murdered."

Shailer and Haerewa were caring for three-year-old Moko for two months while their mother Nicola Dally-Paki accompanied another child to Auckland's Starship Hospital.

As their animosity toward him grew so too did the intensity of the beatings he received over those two months.

He was punched, kicked, slapped, bitten, had faeces rubbed on his face and the deadly blow was a stomp to the stomach.

When he was finally taken to hospital on August 10 his eyes were so badly swollen hospital staff couldn't open them to check his pupils and he was so cold doctors couldn't check his temperature.

Shailer and Haerewa were both jailed for 17 years in July, and have since sought to appeal the length of the sentences.