There's been a guilty verdict in the baby murder trial that began in the High Court at Rotorua seven days ago.

After deliberating for three-and-a-half hours on Tuesday the jury found Donovan (Donny) Michael Duff, 42, of Turangi, guilty of murdering his nine-month-old daughter Maija Puhi Duff at their home on March 12, 2016.

The seven men and five women heard evidence that baby Maija suffered unsurvivable injuries when she was in the sole care of Duff after he and his then 18-year-old partner, Melina Puhi, argued.

It was agreed by both the prosecution and defence it would never be known how the injuries were inflicted. Both were in accord that Maija was a much-loved child and well cared for by her parents and wider whānau.


Justice Mathew Downs remanded Duff in custody to reappear for sentencing on August 15.

Duff's lawyer, Moana Dorset, asked for a cultural report to be prepared before he was sentenced.

The judge told Maija's grandparents, who were in the public gallery for the verdict's announcement, that as a father he could only imagine how difficult the trial had been for them and offered his sincere condolences for their loss.

After the verdict was delivered, he told the jury he realised how distressing the proceedings had been for them and thanked them for their careful attention.

When Crown solicitor Amanda Gordon and Dorset argued their cases this morning Duff sat in the dock wearing a tee shirt with a picture of his dead daughter emblazoned across the front of it.

Until the closing arguments, the public gallery had remained empty throughout the trial although Maija's grandparents attended briefly this morning before leaving and returning to hear the verdict.

The trial had been set down for two weeks but proceedings were shortened after evidence from a number of witnesses was read to the court. The judge thanked both lawyers for allowing this, saying it had speeded up proceedings considerably.