Coroner accepts George Gwaze jury verdict, four years after second murder acquittal

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Coroner Peter Ryan has ruled that he accepts the jury's verdict that the cause of 10-year-old Charlene Makaza's death was not suffocation, as had been claimed by the Crown when they pursued charges of murder and sexual violation against her uncle George Gwaze over her death in 2007.

The Zimbabwe-born vet talks to Sunday after being acquitted for the second time of murdering niece Charlene Makaza.
Source: Sunday

Mr Gwaze was acquitted of the charges in 2008 after a High Court trial at Christchurch.

The defence presented expert evidence that the death was most likely from an infection related to Charlene being HIV positive.

Appeals were lodged by the Crown against the acquittals and the Supreme Court ordered a retrial.

George Gwaze was again cleared of all charges against him in 2012.

Despite the second acquittal Mr Gwaze's application to become a New Zealand citizen was declined.

He was told by Department of Internal Affairs officials that his was because they wanted to see the outcome of the Coroner's inquest.

This inability to obtain citizenship prevented Mr Gwaze's ability to find work. He has since been granted citizenship and is now working as a vet after successfully qualifying three years ago.

He told SUNDAY today: "It has been a terrible time. This has wasted a large part of my life. But I'm so happy that common sense has prevailed."

Here is SUNDAY’s story with George Gwaze from 2012.

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