Jury retires in child abuse case
The jury has retired to decide whether a former Massey University student caused severe head injuries to his stepson.
Justice Lowell Goddard summed up the facts in the case against Peter Ross Moran this afternoon before sending asking jury to retire to consider a verdict.
Earlier in the day the court had heard defence lawyer Chris Wilkinson-Smith sum his the case that there was no evidence to suggest Moran had caused the near-fatal injuries of his stepson.
Indeed the 2-year-old's life had been saved by Moran he said.
Moran, 23, is on trial in the High Court at Palmerston North for injuring the boy, then aged 2 years and 9 months, overnight on May 16, 2011.
Moran, of Flaxmere, Hastings, was living in Palmerston North while he studied at Massey University.
He was sharing a house with the boy and her mother, Renee Robinson, whom he was in a relationship until about late March or early April 2011.
Wilkinson-Smith said that Moran had found the boy on the bedroom floor and did not, as the crown alleges, push his head silently into the ground, causing him severe head injuries.
The injuries had instead been inflicted in an accidental fall, or by Robinson, he said.
Moran had gone into the boy's bedroom and found the boy unconscious on the floor and had saved his life in doing so, Wilkinson-Smith said.
In addressing the jury he said the boy had a history of causing himself accidental harm, including falling out of a window in an accident that hospitalised him two days before the incident.
"He's climbing everything. He's climbing the cupboards, climbing the tree that is out of bounds at the kindergarten," Wilkinson-Smith said.
"I suggest to you that a serious accident was just a matter of time for him.
"It's the natural progression - not this bizarre theory of a silent assassin. That is a leap into a vacuum."
Moran was finishing a university assignment that night but was not overly stressed, and had never shown any signs of aggression towards the boy, Wilkinson-Smith said.
The crown's suggestion that Robinson was asleep between 10pm and 1am, and therefore not involved, was also false, he said.
"Peter was watching TV and he was talking on the phone to his sister during that time. There was a lot of noise round.
"His sister, through the phone, hears Renee ask for if he wants a coffee. The next thing she hears is a chink of mugs. So Renee was awake.
"And generally after you have drunk it coffee keeps you up, not puts you to sleep."
If the boy had not had a fall, the injuries were more likely to be caused by Robinson, who admitted under cross-examination she had slapped the child in the face when he spat at her, Wilkinson-Smith said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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