Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Parents of dead baby face manslaughter charges

The Bay of Plenty parents of a baby who died last year have appeared in Tauranga District Court today accused of being responsible of the baby's death. Photo/file
The Bay of Plenty parents of a baby who died last year have appeared in Tauranga District Court today accused of being responsible of the baby's death. Photo/file

The Eastern Bay of Plenty parents accused of causing the death of their eight-month baby boy will defend the allegation at a jury trial.

Shane Christopher Neil, 29, and Lacey-Marie Te Whetu, 26, faced one count each of manslaughter when they appeared in Tauranga High Court today.

A third defendant Donna Catherine Parangi, 48, is similarly charged.

The trio are accused of causing the death of Isaiah Neil on November 2 last year at Taneatua.

Court documents revealed that Neil and Te Whetu are the deceased's parents.

The Crown has alleged that Neil and Te Whetu caused the death of their son after failing to perform legal duties as parents to provide the necessaries [of life] and take reasonable steps to protect him from injury.

But the Crown alleges Parangi failed in her duty as a caregiver acting in place of the child's parents to fulfil her legal duties towards the child.

Lawyers for Neil and Te Whetu asked for more time to go through the Crown disclosure before entering pleas to the charges.

But Justice Timothy Brewer declined the request, and entered not guilty pleas for all three defendants.

Justice Brewer also set down a two-week jury trial which will begin in the Hamilton High Court on May 15, 2017.

The defendants were further remanded on bail to next appear at a case review hearing in the High Court at Rotorua on August 17.

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