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JJ murder jury to continue deliberating tomorrow

Tuesday 13 Nov 2012 6:27 p.m.

By Adam Hollingworth

A jury is deliberating the fate of 29-year-old Joel Loffley, who has pleaded not guilty to murdering his two-year-old stepson JJ Lawrence.

In his summing up, Justice Keane described the boy's death as "sudden, unexpected and shocking".

JJ Lawrence died a year ago tomorrow at his home in Orakei. The prosecutor told jurors Loffley struck JJ with such force it was as if he'd been hit with a hammer. The court had been told the blow split his liver and pancreas in half.

Loffley told police he had assaulted women and children before, but he claimed JJ fell off the bed.

The prosecution, however, argued Loffley wanted JJ out of the picture after his partner Josephine Lawrence told him she was pregnant with his child.

During the trial, the court was told Loffley got JJ stoned on cannabis using an asthma inhaler.

The defence called no evidence to support Loffley, nor did he take the stand.

Loffley's lawyer Roger Chambers said JJ was assaulted by an unknown person – possibly JJ's mother – when Loffley left the house. 

The jury have now retired for the night, after spending three hours considering their verdict, and will resume deliberations tomorrow.

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