Jared Savage

Jared Savage is the New Zealand Herald's investigations editor.

Coroner points at Chris Kahui

Chris Kahui was acquitted on charges that he murdered his twin baby boys, Chris and Cru Kahui, but a new coroner's report released today takes a different conclusion. Photo / File
Chris Kahui was acquitted on charges that he murdered his twin baby boys, Chris and Cru Kahui, but a new coroner's report released today takes a different conclusion. Photo / File

A coroner has pointed the finger of blame for the deaths of the Kahui twins squarely at their father, Chris Kahui, saying he was the only person present when they suffered their fatal injuries.

The findings of Coroner Garry Evans are released today after Mr Kahui, who was acquitted in June 2008 of murdering the three-month-old twins, abandoned a legal battle to stop the report being made public.

"The traumatic brain injuries suffered by Chris and Cru Kahui were incurred by them during the afternoon/early evening of 12 June, 2006, whilst they were in the sole custody, care and control of their father," Mr Evans concluded in his report.

The coroner said he was satisfied on the "balance of probabilities", which is the standard of proof required in civil court cases.

In criminal cases, such as the murder trial of Mr Kahui, the standard of proof is the higher "beyond reasonable doubt".

Mr Evans said that if he was wrong about using the balance of probabilities as the standard of proof in this case, he was "satisfied to the point of being sure".

He said an inquest was an inquisitorial hearing to determine facts, not a murder trial.

"The question of how the twins came to meet their deaths is quite different to the question of whether Chris Kahui bears any responsibility in terms of the criminal law for their deaths. He has been found to bear no such responsibility."

Mr Kahui was found not guilty by a jury.

FINDING ANGERS DEFENCE TEAM

The coroner's conclusion angered Mr Kahui's defence team and supporters.

Barrister Lorraine Smith said her client "objected in the strongest possible terms to the coroner's findings and criticisms of him", which were "inconsistent with his previous acquittal of any involvement in causing the deaths of the twins".

"Mr Kahui also reaffirmed that he denies any involvement in the tragic and untimely deaths of the twins," Mrs Smith said.

Chris and Cru Kahui died in Starship Hospital on June 18, 2006 from head injuries.

Their 21-year-old father was charged with the murders after a four-month police investigation.

Mr Kahui was found not guilty after a seven-week trial at the High Court at Auckland which ended in June 2008.

The jury deliberated for only 10 minutes before delivering its verdict.

MACSYNA KING REACTION

The main plank of the defence case was that the twins' mother, Macsyna King, was the killer.

In his findings, Mr Evans said the theory that Ms King was responsible for the deaths was "unsupported by the evidence and is without substance in fact".

She is living in Gisborne and could not be contacted yesterday.

However journalist Ian Wishart, who co-authored the book Breaking Silence with Ms King, told RadioLive today the coroner's finding was "absolute vindication'' for the twins' mother.

"Macsyna King alerted me a little while ago that the final verdict was out and she was extremely relieved and the family was pleased that they finally had an answer,'' Wishart said.

Wishart said Ms King had known about the coroner's finding since Christmas when Mr Kahui first moved to stop the report being made public.

He said she was "extremely relieved'' by the finding's release.

Chris Kahui was interviewed three times during the 2006 police investigation but did not give evidence at the 2008 trial.

But he did give evidence during the inquest, and Mr Evans described his testimony as "unreliable, conflicting and, on many occasions, untrue".

"The Court formed a poor view of his credibility," he said.

"Different versions of events have been given by him on different occasions to different people."

- Additional reporting, APNZ

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

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