A man twice acquitted for the sexual violation and murder of his adopted niece says a new book tells the truth about how she died.
George Gwaze was tried and acquitted in 2008 and 2012 after the death of 10-year-old Charlene Makaza.
Three years on from the final verdict in the High Court at Christchurch, a medical adviser for Gwaze's defence team has written a book explaining why he was innocent and how he was wrongly targeted as the prime suspect throughout the lengthy and controversial investigation.
Gwaze created judicial history facing the same charges at two trials and being acquitted by a jury both times.
He told the Herald on Sunday he hoped the book, Murder That Wasn't, would be the final word surrounding Charlene's tragic death.
"The book is going to be telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth," he said.
Murder That Wasn't, written by Professor Felicity Goodyear-Smith, features scientific and medical evidence, court records and post-trial interviews with the Gwaze family.
Charlene died in January, 2007, the day after the Gwaze family had rushed her to Christchurch Hospital. Tests revealed she was HIV positive.
Goodyear-Smith contends police and medical professionals wrongly believed the unique symptoms she was suffering were the result of a sex attack, not the virus which had also claimed the life of Charlene's mother.
"This is a story that, if you made it up, would be hard to believe. It's an unusual story with a lot of complexity," she said. "What happened to this family caused huge distress that was essentially preventable.
"There was a misperception that she died from rape and murder rather than natural causes. The Gwaze family's story illustrates how a fixed mindset can emerge at the outset of an investigation and be perpetuated every step along the way.
"The consequences for George Gwaze and his family were devastating."
Gwaze said it had been a harrowing time for his family when he was accused of such a crime.
He said the treatment he had received from authorities after Charlene's death was biased from the outset. "It amounted to harassment and we were treated unfairly."
Eight years on, he was forging ahead with life in New Zealand and had gained registration as a veterinarian.
But the protracted courtroom ordeal was something not easily forgotten.
"We are managing but it's always going to be with us."
Gwaze said Goodyear-Smith had done a "great job" with the book and urged people to read it to discover the truth for themselves.
Goodyear-Smith said Murder That Wasn't would show Gwaze was a victim of misguided medical opinion that coloured the police investigation and how the media reported the story.
She hoped that understanding how mistakes were made in this case would serve as a lesson for the future.
• Murder that Wasn't, published by Otago University Press, goes on sale later this month for $35.