Two children were found dead in Ruakākā, Whangārei, on Monday. Photo / Tania Whyte
A woman facing murder charges after the deaths of two children in Ruakākā, Northland, has appeared in court.
No plea was taken when the woman appeared in the Whangārei District Court this morning, flanked by a public gallery full of wailing family and friends.
Emotions ran high as she took the dock and threw kisses at her close family members sitting in the front row of the public gallery. The woman was visibly distressed and looked up and moved from side to side before she calmed down shortly after the proceedings began.
She was flanked by three security officers while court security and police kept a close eye on the proceedings. Some of her family members left the courtroom in tears midway through the case.
Duty lawyer Victor Heather requested Judge Gene Tomlinson to remand her in custody without pleas to appear in the High Court at a later date.
He said in the meantime, the services of lawyer Catherine Cull KC have been requested through legal aid.
Heather also asked for suppression of all the details from this morning’s appearance – including the woman’s name and age – on the basis of undue hardship to her and to prevent a potential prejudice to a fair trial.
He did not ask for a health assessment report under Section 38 of the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act 2003 but said the defence would seek an independent report later.
Therefore, Judge Tomlinson did not make an order for the report.
She was remanded in custody to appear in the High Court at Whangarei on June 2.
As the woman left the dock, a woman in the front of the public gallery shouted “love you babe”.
Police were called to the Ruakākā property, south of Whangarei, around 6.25am on Monday, where officers discovered the children’s bodies.
Earlier today, a family friend of the Ruakākā whānau described seeing the “lovely kids” the day before they died.