Sina Nerisa Solomona was murdered in her Ashburton home in the early hours of the morning, on the 15th of December 2012. She was just 22-years-old. Examinations discovered that she had also suffered a sexual assault before her death.
Police investigations led them to charge a juvenile (who has name suppression) with several offences. He was just 16-years-old at the time.
In October 2012, in the Timaru High Court, sitting at Christchurch, he pled guilty to both Murder and Unlawful Sexual Connection charges.
At the request of defence counsel Elizabeth Bulger, Justice Graham Panckhurst had continued the earlier order for name suppression, additionally he suppressed the making public of the Statement Of Facts, until the day of sentencing.
This in itself is most unusual. At the time Justice Panckhurst was quoted in other media as saying “This, however, is an unusual case, firstly, on account of your age – 16 years – and on account of the circumstances of the offending”.
The juvenile was supposed to be getting his come-uppance at Timaru High Court on Friday the 14th of February (perhaps a cruel irony, being Valentine’s Day, a day when many people celebrate their love and caring for each other) however the date has been put off.
Delays often occur in as the wheels of justice turn. and many delays are unavoidable. It takes time to conduct probation reports, psychiatric examinations and other court ordered and quite necessary investigations and reports.
However it’s disappointing that in this case, a public outcome has been delayed yet again. Many suppressions are expected when dealing with juveniles through the court system, but this tragic case, which gripped the Ashburton community in December 2012, deserves to have a full public airing, including the publication of the facts of the case.
The court session where sentencing will take place, and where “hopefully” the facts of the case will be made public as well as the name of the person who committed the sex-crime and murder, will probably be sometime in March. However an exact date is not known for sure..
Here is a link to an earlier version of the story from the Press Newspaper’s website.
UPDATED…Sentence was FINALLY pronounced on 31 July 2014 in the High Court sitting at Christchurch.
According to the Christchurch Press newspaper’s ‘Stuff’ website : “… Bronson Kelekolio hung his head as details of his knife and sex attack on Sina Nerisa Solomona, 22, were read in Christchurch’s High Court at his sentencing for murder today. …”
Turns out that, exactly as I had guessed, he is her brother, well step-brother at least.
I had guessed as much, going by the unusual array of suppressions and delays that have delayed the delivery of justice in this case. It’s worth noting that some suppressions are STILL in force, relating to legal proceedings that happened on 6 June. Those suppressions *might* be lifted at a later date, either by the High Court, or by an Appeals Court.
Here’s a link to the Press Newspaper Stuff website article, by senior court reporter David Clarkson.