30 Oct 2017

Babysitter murder trial: 'Injuries inflicted in moment of anger'

1:37 pm on 30 October 2017

A babysitter accused of the murder of a one-year-old child told police the fatal injuries were caused by falling off a couch, a court has been told.

Shayal Upashna Sami at the High Court in Christchurch.

Shayal Upashna Sami at the High Court in Christchurch today. Photo: Pool / Fairfax NZ

Shayal Upashna Sami, 20, is accused of killing Aaliyah Ashlyn Chand in January 2015 at her home on Worcester Street. She has denied the charges.

Her trial began this morning at the High Court in Christchurch.

Crown prosecutor Mark Zerifeh said Aaliyah's injuries - two skull fractures, internal head and retina bleeding and extensive bruising - were inconsistent with Ms Sami's statement to police that the child fell off the couch.

He said the injuries were inflicted in a moment of anger and frustration, and the murder was reckless.

The court was told Ms Sami, who was five months pregnant at the time, had told police she had put the baby on a couch in the living room while she cooked dinner in the kitchen and that she believed Aaliyah fell off the couch.

A neighbour took the pair to Christchurch Hospital, where an off-duty nurse saw the baby and rushed her into the emergency department. Aaliyah was put on life support and taken into the intensive care unit but did not regain consciousness.

Defence lawyer Jonathan Eaton said the death was a result of a tragic accident, and not a criminal act.

Mr Eaton told the court the baby "toppled" off the couch, causing the injuries.

"There was no crime committed here."

Mr Eaton said deaths like this were rare, but not unheard of.

The trial is expected to last two weeks.