A jury has been directed to put aside personal feelings when
deciding whether Joel Loffley murdered baby JJ.
Justice Patrick Keane has summed up the three-week murder
trial in the High Court at Auckland today, telling the jury
to consider only the evidence when reaching a verdict.
Loffley is charged with killing 2-year-old James Joseph Ruhe
Lawrence, known as JJ, who died on 14 November last year
"suddenly, unexpectedly and shockingly", from injuries to his
liver and pancreas, he said.
The jury must decide if Loffley deliberately killed JJ with
The Crown alleges Loffley murdered the boy by delivering a
violent act - "a punch, a kick a stomp, or something of that
nature," said Judge Keane in his summing up.
This happened while JJ's mother Josephine Lawrence was away
from the house and the boy was in Loffley's sole care,
according to the Crown.
Loffley has maintained his innocence.
He said JJ accidentally fell off the bed while in his care on
November 14, but these were only minor injuries.
The defence said while Loffley was away from the house with
his brother, someone entered JJ's bedroom and fatally injured
the baby - most likely his mother.
The defence also pointed to Ms Lawrence's failure to show
signs of grief after JJ's death.
Justice Keane directed the jury to not take any meaning from
Loffley's decision to not give evidence in his defence.
"He's not bound to give evidence - that is a right that
anyone accused of a crime has."
The jury then retired to consider its verdict just after 2pm.
- Abby Gillies of APNZ