A 12-year-old boy pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter in the High Court at Gisborne this morning, making him one of the country's youngest killers.
The boy, who has name suppression, entered the dock with his father.
The boy had been charged with murder but entered the plea on what was meant to be the first day of his trial.
Heavy suppression surrounds the case, but it can be revealed the boy's father was also to face a charge of being an accessory to murder after the fact.
However, the Crown, police and defence counsel struck a deal which saw the pair plead guilty to lesser charges. The father pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The victim's name remains suppressed, as is their relationship with the accused and where or when the killing took place. The Waikato Times is fighting to lift the suppression order.
We wonder if this is one case where the public interest would be better served if some of the details of the case remained suppressed. Already we know that the deceased was shot, and that as noted in the story above, the 12-year-old was initially charged with murder.
But it horrifies us that another pre-teen will, in all likelihood, go to prison for takling another person's life. We're all only too familiar with the case of Bailey Junior Kurariki, who served around seven years in prison for the manslaughter of pizza deliveryman Michael Choy. Kurariki was part of a gang of youths in a robbery which went wrong, with fatal consquences. Kurariki continues to lve on the edge of the law, and will more than likely spend much of his now-adult life in prison.
It is, however, an indictment on our society that people so young are committing such brutal crimes. Sadly, we don't have any answers. Does anyone who might be out there?