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No conviction after daughter's pool death

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 14/12/2016 Sean Martin
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The father of an 18-month-old who drowned in an inflatable pool on Christmas Day has been discharged without conviction after admitting to manslaughter.

Imogen Saleupolu-Mataafi died after falling into the pool during a family gathering at her home in Manurewa in 2014.

Her father, James Mataafi, 34, pleaded guilty to her manslaughter and in the High Court at Auckland on Thursday was given a discharged without conviction.

Both the Crown and defence have said it was a tragic case where the defendants were victims themselves.

Charges against Mataafi's father-in-law, Mosala Saleupolu, were dropped.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ross Ellwood said the decision to lay charges was made after a lengthy investigation and legal opinion.

He said swimming pools and young children can be a dangerous mix and this is no different for paddling pools.

"We urge anyone buying a paddling pool for their children to ensure they are adhering to swimming pool laws around pool fencing and safety,' he said.

The sentencing comes as government officials warn of the danger inflatable swimming pools pose.

"The inflatable pool might just be for wading, paddling and splashing about, but check the depth - if the pool is 400mm or deeper it must be fenced and comply with the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act," said MBIE spokesman Martin Rushton.

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