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Lawyer facing prison smuggling charges named

Published: 12:02PM Monday April 16, 2012 Source: Fairfax

  • Auckland lawyer Davina Murray. (Source: Fairfax)
    Auckland lawyer Davina Murray. - Source: Fairfax

Auckland lawyer and Maori Party political candidate Davina Murray has been charged with illegally smuggling contraband to convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid, who she believes is innocent.

Murray lost her name suppression today after she and her lawyer Barry Hart had battled for months to keep her name secret.

Murray was charged with delivering an iPhone 4, a packet of Marlboro cigarettes and a Bic lighter to Reid at Mount Eden prison on October 7 last year - two months after a smoking ban was introduced.

She had a new charge laid earlier this month of "holding a communication with him that might prejudice the safe custody of a prisoner" - in essence, passing on inappropriate information.

Reid is serving one of New Zealand's heaviest sentences for the 2007 rape and murder of deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew and the rape and attempted murder of another woman in Dunedin soon after.

He was originally sentenced to preventive detention with a 26-year minimum period, but that was later reduced to 23 years on appeal.

Murray is understood to have visited Reid frequently and had communications with him at Mt Eden prison.

It is alleged that Reid was searched before one of their visits and had nothing on him, but after the visit he was found to have an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter.

Murray stood for the Maori Party as a list candidate in the 2011 election.

She is a criminal barrister in the chambers of Hart, a prominent defence lawyer.

Hart had argued Murray should keep her name suppression as her reputation would be irreparably damaged and she and her family might suffer adverse consequences from being named.

In a last-ditch effort Murray claimed she would produce affidavits from Maori Party leader Pita Sharples and two senior barristers supporting her application.

Even today, Hart argued name suppression should continue for one more day so he could have time to go to the District Court and try to get aspects of the case suppressed.

Crown lawyer Fionnghuala Cuncannon argued costs should be imposed for "frivolous or vexatious" appeals.

Hart himself recently lost name suppression on the disciplinary committee charges he is facing and Chief High Court Judge Justice Helen Winkelmann quoted the Court of Appeal judgement against Hart when declining the Murray's name suppression.

Murray has been charged under the Corrections Act, which deals with unauthorised deliveries, communications, recordings and possession of unauthorised items to prisoners.

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