30 May 2012

HIV experts should have been consulted - lawyer

3:25 pm on 30 May 2012

The lawyer for George Gwaze says police should have consulted experts in HIV before laying charges against him over the death of his adopted daughter.

Mr Gwaze 60, has again been acquitted of the murder and sexual violation of Charlene Makaza, aged 10. He was found not guilty by a jury in the High Court in Christchurch on Tuesday.

The defence argued her death was the result of advanced HIV.

Lawyer Jonathan Eaton said the case may never have got to court in the first place had the police gone to experts in HIV.

He says the overseas experts who gave evidence on behalf of the defence created more than reasonable doubt.

Mr Eaton says Mr Gwaze will not seek compensation from the Government.

Aids Foundation comment

The Aids Foundation says it is unusual a child would die of the disease in modern New Zealand.

The Gwaze family say they did not know Charlene had HIV until she was tested at the hospital before she died in 2007.

Foundation director Shaun Robinson says New Zealand has a good record of treating HIV and it's very sad this case occurred.

He says there are only about 40 children living with the disease and for most, treatment keeps them very well.