By RNZ

Aaron Archer has been found not guilty of the murder of his former girlfriend's two-year old daughter, but guilty of manslaughter.

Two-year-old Ariah Roberts sustained an unsurvivable head injury while in the care of Aaron Archer, 31, in their Mangawhai home on 22 August 2018.

The 31-year-old was left to look after Ariah for 15 minutes while her mother popped out to the supermarket in August last year.

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During that period the girl sustained an unsurvivable head injury that quickly killed her and a postmortem later identified more than 20 bruises on her head.

The jury had to decide whether Ariah's injuries were the result of a deliberate assault or a tragic accident.

2-year-old Ariah Roberts was killed in Mangawhai Heads in 2018. Aaron Archer was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. Photo / Supplied
2-year-old Ariah Roberts was killed in Mangawhai Heads in 2018. Aaron Archer was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. Photo / Supplied

Three experts agreed her cause of death was a blunt force head injury but how the bruising to her head could be explained was disputed.

The Crown argued the nature, scale and pattern of bruising to the girl's head meant her injuries were non-accidental.

Archer declined to give a statement to the police - as is his right - but various witnesses said he told them he was swinging the girl around when she hit her head.

His defence team argued the sum of Ariah's bruises could be explained by an accidental impact, normal toddler tumbles and one incident when the girl was attacked by the pet cat and knocked her head on the coffee table.

During the course of the trial the court heard Ariah wasn't the first child her mother - who has permanent name suppression - has lost.

Ariah had been a twin but her brother was born premature and died.

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More to come.

- RNZ