The father who allegedly killed his 2-year-old daughter because she never smiled at him pleaded not guilty in a New Zealand high court Wednesday.
Crown Prosecutor Phil Hamlin told the jury that Kefu Ikamanu, the father, threw his daughter, Seini, against a wall and then stomped on her, the New Zealand Herald reported.
"It appears Mr. Ikamanu himself was not able to form a close bond with her,” the paper quoted from his opening. “He became frustrated and angry with what he thought was the spoiled behavior of his young daughter.”
Hamlin said it was the daughter’s lack of smiles that made Ikamanu angry.
The girl had spent most of her life living with grandparents in Tonga, an impoverished island kingdom, just over a thousand miles north of New Zealand, which has traditionally sent many immigrants to and received economic aid from both Australia and New Zealand.
Seini was only recently reintroduced to life with her parents in New Zealand. Although the injuries she received did not kill her right away, she died eight months later due to pneumonia, Hamlin said.
Ikamanu’s lawyer, however, argued that Hamil’s allegations were based on speculation, according to the Herald. "What we know is that Mr. Ikamanu attempted CPR. Doctors will say the bruising on the chest is consistent with someone attempting CPR,” lawyer Simon Lance said.
Lance also stated that Ikamanu’s anger and resentment was overstated by the other side.
"Not all deaths are a murder and this is one of the cases where it is not,” the Herald quoted from his response.