A three-week jury trial has been set for a Rotorua father accused of murdering his 5-year-old son.

William James Sio, 25, who appeared in the Rotorua High Court today via an audiovisual link from prison, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder through his lawyer today.

Sio's lawyer Louis Te Kani also entered a not guilty plea on his client's behalf to a further joint charge of ill treatment/neglect of a child under 18 years.

The murder charge relates to the death of 5-year-old Ferro-James Sio who died on February 8.


Sio's partner Leza Rawiri, who also appeared in court by audio-visual link from prison, pleaded not guilty to the joint ill treatment/neglect charge through her lawyer Moana Dorset.

The matter is now heading to trial.

Justice Graham Laing confirmed a three-week jury trial would begin in the Rotorua High Court on June 14 next year and further remanded the two defendants in custody.

The next call of the matter will be on May 22 for a case review hearing to discuss any pre-trial matters.