Jury retires in Little Waihi murder case

Aaron George Izett had admitted killing his daughter, but denied he committed murder. Photo: Benn Bathgate/Stuff

The judge presiding over the murder trial of Aaron George Izett has summed up the case for the jury, telling them they have five possible verdicts they can reach on the murder charge.

Over the course of two hours at the High Court in Rotorua on Wednesday, Justice Christine Gordon QC told the jury of seven men and five women they can find Izett guilty of murder, not guilty of murder by reason of insanity, guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of manslaughter by reason of insanity or simply not guilty.

Izett is on trial at the High Court in Rotorua facing a number of assault and wounding charges, and one charge that between March 20 and March 21 last year he murdered Nevaeh​ Ager at Little Waihi in the Bay of Plenty.

It’s a killing Izett admitted responsibility for on the first day of the trial.

“Mr Izett accepted he killed his daughter, he accepts he’s responsible for her death ... the physical act is not in dispute,” defence lawyer Nicholas Chisnall said.​

Chisnall claimed, however, that his client should be found not guilty by reason of insanity.

The Crown alleged Izett, a regular methamphetamine user, killed his daughter in a “meth rage” after assaulting her with a weapon or weapons then placing her in the estuary behind their home to drown.

Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett said the toddler had been subjected to “assault on assault on assault” before her drowning.

Gordon also addressed the jury on the importance of reaching verdicts beyond reasonable doubt.

“It does not mean a vague or fanciful doubt, a reasonable doubt is an honest and reasonable uncertainty left in your minds about the guilt of Mr Izett.”

Gordon also told the jury they must be sure Izett “had the intent to kill”.

The jury were also told “your task is to seek a unanimous verdict”.

“Please do not rush, the verdicts are important to everyone in the courtroom,” she said.

“It’s a serious matter and you should give it as much time as it needs.”

-Stuff/Benn Bathgate.

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