Christmas crash accused plead not guilty

By Sandra Conchie

Two of the people charged over a Christmas Day car crash that killed two teenage sisters in Welcome Bay will defend manslaughter charges at trial.

The girls' mother Phillippa Vanessa Morehu, 36, and Haki Tepuere Davey, 18, both pleaded not guilty to two counts of manslaughter through their lawyers when they were arraigned for trial in the High Court at Rotorua this morning.

Hetaraka Hikurangi Reihana, 20, who also faces two counts of manslaughter was not arraigned for trial because he was late to court but the process is expected to take place next month.

The manslaughter charges relate to the deaths of Merepeka Morehu-Clark, 14, and her 13-year-old sister Brooklyn Morehu-Clark.

The girls were sitting in the back seat of a vehicle driven by Reihana when it collided with a ute on Welcome Bay Rd and rolled on to its roof about 4.20pm on December 25, 2011.

Both girls, who were not wearing seatbelts, died at the scene.

All three accused were further remanded on bail and will be back in court on May 31. A trial date is yet to be set down.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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