Accused admits causing toddler's death, court told

Toddler Aaliyah Morrissey suffered extensive injuries prior to her death, a court was told today.

New Zealand's pre-eminent specialist on injuries inflicted on infants Dr Patrick Kelly will give evidence of 33 separate bruises to the girl's body.

These were to her face, neck, head, trunk and buttocks and includes bruises to both her cheeks and a puffy eye.

The man accused of murdering toddler Aaliyah Morrissey had his name suppression lifted when the trial started in the High Court at Rotorua today.

Michael John Curran, 28, of Tauranga has pleaded not guilty to murdering the two-year-old in September 2005.

Aaliyah died in Auckland's Starship Hospital two days after receiving the injuries.

In response to opening remarks by the prosecution, Curran's defence attorney Paul Mabey QC said he would simplify the case to the jury.

He told jurors Curran had admitted he caused the death of the child and their issue was to determine whether it was manslaughter or murder.

The court heard today that Curran was looking after the girl and his infant son on the day she was injured.

The girl's mother and Curran's wife Donna had gone into town shopping.

The defence will tell the court that be that Aaliyah fell off bunk onto a wooden toy box. The Crown says she was in a single bed.

A jury of eight women and four men were selected for trial which is expected to last until late next week with Justice Graham Lang presiding.

Curran denies murder.

- NZPA, NZ HERALD STAFF

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