Jury fails to reach verdict in trial of a man accused of killing baby

By Mark Story

A jury failed to return a verdict yesterday in the case of the man accused of killing his partner's baby when his PlayStation game was interrupted.

The jury lost a member on Friday and then saw its foreman dropped during deliberation in the case of Trent Hapuku, 22, accused of fatally assaulting 5-month-old Mikara Reti.

Justice Jill Mallon then discharged the jury and ordered a re-trial after getting a "firm no" on whether its members could reach a unanimous decision.

The hung decision came after a drama packed 10-hour deliberation.

Just before 6pm on Friday, the jury returned without one female juror, who the judge then discharged. "I have formed the view she is no longer capable of serving as a juror. I don't do it lightly."

About 1pm yesterday, the jury returned to court to tell the judge it was changing its foreman. They returned as a hung jury an hour later.

Hapuku would remain in custody until callover on August 30.

Earlier on Friday, prosecutor Steve Manning said Hapuku's admission he had been playing the PlayStation game Scarface for six days leading up the moment he was left alone with Mikara was key.

"If you've ever got between a teenager and a video game you'll know what I'm talking about."

Hapuku's lawyer Eric Forster said the Crown had asked the jury to find his client guilty by "speculation".

- Herald on Sunday

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