Taria, the maternal grandfather of the child, is charged with manslaughter under Sections 191 and 197 of the crimes act 1969, which carries a maximum penalty of imprisonment for life.
The boy had lived with Taria since December last year. He had suffered a series of assaults that led to his death.
On Wednesday, May 16 of this year the deceased was hit multiple times with a stick by Taria, with such force that he fell to the ground. The following day he was struck again.
A visitor to their home on the following Friday observed the boy’s hands were swollen and a bruise to the side of his head.
On Saturday, May 19 while on a drive to the beach sitting unattended at the back of a truck, the boy fell off landing on grass.
Later that evening after showing respiratory problems, he was transported to the hospital where he died before midnight.
The cause of death was unable to be determined, but a subsequent post-mortem revealed significant multiple bruises, abrasions and lacerations over his body.
The definitive cause of death was not determined due to resource and clinical constraints and decomposition.
Although the biochemical analysis on the ante-mortem blood sample was limited, it suggested that there had been a muscle breakdown that led to renal failure that was most likely the cause of death.
In court yesterday, the prosecution requested that the name suppression order of the accused be lifted which the court granted.
JP Georgina Williams, who presided in court stated the “summary of the facts” can now be released.
The court has ordered a probation report and Taria will continue with his usual strict bail conditions.
Taria returns to Aitutaki next week, and will be back in Rarotonga next month for sentencing.