A young man accused of murdering a baby during New Zealand's coronavirus lockdown has appeared in court today.

The 21-year-old appeared in the Manukau District Court this afternoon after Counties Manukau police last week charged him with murder.

Detective Inspector Shaun Vickers said the 3-month-old child died on April 13 at Middlemore Hospital after allegedly being assaulted at a Papatoetoe house.

The accused killer, who appeared via video-link and was represented by Nalesoni Tupou, offered no plea and did not seek bail.


However, Tupou did apply for his client's name to be temporarily suppressed, which was granted by Judge Alan Mina Wharepouri. The Herald is also prevented from publishing the reasons for the suppression order.

The case will next be called in the High Court in two weeks' time.

Vickers has said police are unable to comment further on the baby's death or the investigation, dubbed Operation Searcy, while the case is before the court.

Concerns were raised about an increase in family violence during the Covid-19 lockdown, with early police statistics showing a rise.

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