25 Feb 2014

No justice for Leilani 'very sad'

12:28 pm on 25 February 2014

The child abuse education service Child Matters says having no one brought to justice over the death of two-year-old Leilani Lotonu'u is very sad.

The girl died after an organ in her abdomen was almost split in two in June 2012.

At the High Court in Auckland last week, a jury found her stepfather Michael Martin not guilty of her murder, manslaughter, or ill-treatment. The police say they are no longer investigating the case.

Mr Martin's lawyer, Lorraine Smith, says the police will now be able to make progress only if someone comes forward with new evidence.

"As far as Leilani is concerned it's just a horrible, horrible tragedy. And justice has not been done for that poor girl. The person that did this needs to come forward and admit it."

Child Matters national manager Amanda Meynell says that is very sad for the family.

"I guess this is a really difficult situation for the family and that no-one has been brought to account will be really hard for them.

"I think that the fact that Leilani has been killed, in itself, is just a tragedy and we really need to focus on what we can do to support other children in our communities to make sure they that they don't have the same fate."

Ms Meynell says adults need to intervene early if they suspect a child is being abused.