A woman who murdered her one-year-old godson has been jailed for life with 17 years before she can apply for parole.
Mariam Filihia, 33, killed her neighbour's grandson Terepo "Popo" Taura-Griffiths in November 2011, a week after his first birthday.
Filihia had formed a bond with the child, caring for him for long periods and eventually becoming the boy's godmother.
The Crown case was that during one of those periods of care, Filihia struck Popo's head against a hard, flat surface which led to his death.
Crown prosecutor Christine Gordon said due to the vulnerability of the victim and the seriousness of the crime a 17-year minimum non-parole period should apply.
Defence lawyer Mark Edgar argued the fatal injury should be seen as a one-off incident because the jury found Filihia not guilty of another count of causing grievous bodily harm to Popo.
Justice Murray Gilbert said the fatal injury was inflicted on the night of November 4 while Filihia gave Popo a bath.
Frustrated at his crying, Filihia hit the boy's head against a hard surface, probably the side of the cast-iron bath.
She carried Popo into the White Cross medical centre about 9.30 that night, pale, unresponsive and unconscious.
He was taken to Starship Children's Hospital where an MRI found he had suffered a skull fracture in the back of his head and a "massive" brain bleed. He also had bleeds on the surface of his brain and had extensive brain damage.
His life support was turned off on November 6, 2011.
The judge said as well as the "significant brutality", the crime was aggravated by the fact Filihia waited so long to get Popo medical help and then she lied to medical staff.
There were no mitigating factors and the statutory 17-year-minimum for brutal murders was engaged, he said.
Filihia was convicted after three witnesses who cannot be named for legal reasons testified in the trial that they had seen Filihia bang the baby's head against the floor when he wouldn't stop crying.
All three also said Filihia would "drown" Popo in the bath.
They reported Filihia smacking Popo and one of the witnesses said they saw Filihia punch Popo with a clenched fist.
The witness estimated the beatings occurred "five days a week".
Filihia, who had three children from a previous marriage, would often offer to look after Popo and it was not uncommon for him to stay with her for periods ranging from a week to months.
On three occasions she asked Popo's grandmother, Anna Taura Benioni, if she could adopt Popo - the last occasion was hours before he was taken to the medical centre.
Filihia's defence suggested the injuries may have arisen when Popo was dragged off a deck by a dog he was playing with or when Popo slipped over in the bath.
- © Fairfax NZ News