A mother who fell asleep after a 12-hour drinking binge and suffocated her infant son has been jailed for his manslaughter.
Justice Graham Lang sentenced Ngaire Kura Tukiwaho, 31, to two years and a month in prison when she appeared in the High Court at Rotorua on Wednesday.
Tukiwaho had earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter of her two-month-old son by not taking reasonable steps to preserve his life
The court had heard that, after a drinking binge in Rotorua in January last year, Tukiwaho had fallen asleep in the back of a car with Tahi Elvis Edwards lying across her chest.
She woke to find the infant had slipped under her armpit, was blue and unresponsive.
Paramedics could not revive the child.
Sentencing Tukiwaho, Justice Lang said she had failed her son completely.
"He trusted you for his security and you failed to provide him with it and the price he paid was his death," the judge said.
Her crime had been one of omission by failing to take basic steps that would have kept him safe and secure the night he died.
Tukiwaho had previously lost another young son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Tukiwaho had been drinking for at least 12 hours and had argued with her partner before falling asleep in the car.
In a letter from Tukiwaho read to the court she admitted she had an addiction to alcohol.
She said causing the death of her child had been unforgivable.
"I have made a terrible mistake," Tukiwaho wrote.Justice Lang said he considered her offending at the lower end of the scale because she had done everything she could to make the child comfortable but, because of the amount she'd drunk, was unable to make rational decisions.
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