Murder charge over Hokitika baby’s death

A 30-year-old man has been charged with murder after the death of a 10-month-old baby boy allegedly injured in Hokitika on Tuesday.

The baby was airlifted to Christchurch Hospital in a critical condition but died at 11.45am on Wednesday.

The Hokitika man was originally charged with intentionally causing grievous bodily harm to the boy for a brief court appearance before a community magistrate on Wednesday morning, but the charge was replaced with murder later the same day.

Christchurch District Court Judge Alistair Garland remanded the man in custody for an appearance in the High Court in Greymouth on July 30.

He granted interim name suppression, and refused media applications to film or photograph the man’s court appearance. The defence and police both sought the interim suppression order because the inquiry was still in its early stages, and because family members were still being told.

The judge also heard submissions on whether the man should be granted bail, which was opposed by police. He declined to release the man on bail and remanded him in custody for the High Court appearance.

The man appeared in court by video-link from the cells, and wept almost constantly throughout the 30 minute hearing.