A Taranaki woman fell asleep after drinking and taking prescription drugs, before smothering her 6-week-old baby girl to death, a court has heard.

A 39-year-old woman went on trial today for the manslaughter of her baby girl.

She has interim name suppression and is accused of failing to provide the necessaries of life.

The Crown begun its opening statements today in the High Court at New Plymouth.


Crown prosecutor Justin Marinovich said the woman fell asleep while breastfeeding her 6-week-old daughter in February last year, smothering the child.

The court heard the woman had consumed alcohol and prescription medication the day the baby died.

The mother was brought to tears several times this afternoon during proceedings.

She consistently cried and yelled at the Crown prosecutor during his opening statement, calling him a liar. Security attempted to calm her down.

Defence lawyer Kelly Marriner said the woman was severely tired and suffering from pneumonia at the time of the baby's death, and therefore wasn't at fault.

The trial is expected to finish next week.