Comments Off on Northland toddler death: Ex-partner blamed

A High Court jury has been told a trial’s evidence points to an accused woman’s ex-partner being responsible for the death of a Northland toddler.

In his closing submission on Friday, Norefjell Davis’ defence lawyer Steve Bonnar told the jury that all evidence of the horrific beatings suffered by 2-year-old Jacqui Davis pointed to her father Jade Petersen – an alleged alcoholic and methamphetamine user.

Davis is facing a charge of ill-treating Jacqui and another of murdering her on August 8, 2007.

The jury will retire after Justice Peter Woodhouse sums up the case in the High Court at Whangarei today.

Mr Bonnar said Jacqui’s injuries identified during the autopsy were consistent with evidence from witnesses in court who said they saw Mr Petersen punch, kick, stand on her with both feet and shovelling hot food into her mouth.

He said Mr Petersen had a nasty streak when drunk and has had a history of violence, including striking a person with a broken bottle.

Mr Bonnar said Mr Petersen had been on a three-day drinking binge and was high on methamphetamine the night before Jacqui died.

He lied on oath, saying he gave up violence and never physically abused or stood on Jacqui – contrary to evidence by a 13-year-old relative who saw him standing on the baby with both feet.

“An assault for which he’s never been charged by police,” Mr Bonnar reminded the jury.

He said Davis’ initial admission to police that she repeatedly punched and kicked Jacqui like a ball was a false confession to protect someone she loved.

It was up to the jury who they believed – a woman with no previous convictions, except when she refused to give police her name when she was 14, or a man with a history of violence.

Crown prosecutor Mike Smith said Davis first lied to nurses, doctors and later to police when she said Jacqui suffered horrific injuries after a fall.

In court, he said Davis was now trying to blame Mr Petersen to avoid consequences and responsibility for her actions that led to the baby’s death.

Mr Smith said Davis’ inconsistent evidence to police and in court should be a cause for concern.

He said Mr Petersen did not pressure Davis into saying that she kicked Jacqui like a ball.

“Do you let her change her version of what happened or should the true situation be accepted – that Jacqui died as a result of her actions and her actions alone?” Mr Smith asked the court..

Mr Petersen was a broken man when he heard about Jacqui’s death, he submitted.

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