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Rotorua manslaughter case draws to a close

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/05/2017

The jury will retire on Monday afternoon to consider a verdict in the manslaughter trial of Donna Catherine Parangi.

Parangi, 48, of Ruatoki, is on trial in the High Court in Rotorua, accused of the manslaughter of her 8-month-old grandson Isaiah Neil by depriving him of the necessaries of life and failing to take reasonable steps to protect him.

Isaiah was left in a station wagon at Parangi's home in November 2015 while Parangi and his parents smoked synthetic cannabis and passed out.

Parangi's daughter, Lacey Te Whetu, and her on-again off-again partner Shane Neil have pleaded guilty to manslaughter for their role in his death.

The defence called one witness on Monday morning, to allow a pathologist from the UK to give evidence on Parangi's behalf.

Dr Stuart Hamilton took issue with the findings of the pathologist who conducted the autopsy on Isaiah, which were that his death was due to hyperthermia - heat stroke.

He said that finding was indicative but not necessarily definitive.

Closing the Crown's case, prosecutor Anna Pollett said it was clear Parangi had left Isaiah in the vehicle and that she consumed synthetic cannabis while taking no steps to ensure he was safe.

Ms Pollett pinpointed evidence from other family members that, along with Te Whetu, Parangi was regarded as his main caregiver.

Referring to the temperature inside the vehicle Isaiah was in for at least three hours, Ms Pollett reminded jurors expert evidence was that it would have been as high as 45C for at least 90 minutes to two hours during that period.

Justice Graham Lang will sum up on Monday afternoon and then the jury will retire to consider a verdict.

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