4 August 2013
Miscarriage of justice warrants inquiry
There is nothing stopping Minister of Justice, Judith Collins, from setting up an inquiry into the Teina Pora case, and in light of the Police Association call to do so, she should now give the issue her urgent attention.
Teina Pora has now spent more than 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 even though in interviews Pora could not give crucial details of the offence and police officers at the time thought the offender was likely to have been a serial rapist which did not match Pora's profile.
"There is overwhelming evidence in the public arena that Teina Pora's conviction is unsafe and that a miscarriage of justice has been done," Labour's Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.
"Just as overwhelming is the growing number of calls for a genuinely independent inquiry into the conviction, and when the Police Association representing rank and file police officers supports those calls, then they must be taken seriously.
"Judith Collins says she cannot do anything because there might be an appeal to the Privy Council, but no appeal has been lodged so there is nothing stopping the minister.
"Any Minister of Justice should be seriously concerned whenever there is a credible claim of miscarriage of justice and should act promptly to establish the facts and ensure public confidence in the police and judiciary is not unnecessarily undermined.
"The fact that the Teina Pora case is just one of several high profile cases of alleged miscarriage of justice confirms my view that New Zealand should now consider setting up an equivalent to the UK Criminal Cases Review Commission as a standing Fully independent body to deal with such cases.”