A man and woman accused of murdering a Taupo 3-year-old have today pleaded not guilty to two extra charges relating to the toddler.
Tania Shailer, 26, and David William Haerewa, 43, appeared in the High Court at Rotorua this morning for a callover.
They have previously pleaded not guilty to murdering Moko Sayviah Rangitoheriri.
This morning they pleaded not guilty to two additional joint charges of manslaughter and ill treating a child.
The manslaughter charge states that between August 1 and August 10 last year at Taupo being in the place of the parents of the child and having actual care of him failed to provide medical treatment and thereby caused his death.
The ill treatment of a child charge states that between June 12 and August 10 last year at Taupo assaulted the child while being in the care of him.
A three-week trial is scheduled to start on May 2 but defence lawyers Andy Schulze (acting for Shailer) and Harry Edward (acting for Haerewa) told Justice Simon Moore they were concerned the trial date was too soon given they were having difficulty finding a forensic pathologist in New Zealand who was able to give evidence at that time.
Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon said there were no other available trial dates in the High Court at Rotorua this year.
Justice Moore said he would note the urgency of this trial for the court in an effort to find another date later this year.
"Having regard to the nature of the charges and the prominence of this case, there is a real need to have this dealt with this year."
He further remanded Shailer and Haerewa in custody.
Another callover will be held at 9am on March 9. Their appearances at that callover are excused.
There were 16 people in the public gallery supported by a Victim Support worker during the court appearance.