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'Nothing stopping' review of Teina Pora case - Labour

Published: 2:59PM Sunday August 04, 2013 Source: ONE News

There is nothing stopping Justice Minister Judith Collins from setting up a review of the case of Teina Pora, the Labour Party says.

Pora has served 20 years in prison for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in her south Auckland home in March 1992, a crime he says he did not commit.

The Police Association yesterday called for an independent inquiry into the conviction after several police officers who worked on the case came forward to say they had doubts about Pora's guilt.

Labour and the Maori Party have both backed the call.

"There is overwhelming evidence in the public arena that Teina Pora's conviction is unsafe and that a miscarriage of justice has been done," said Labour's justice spokesman Andrew Little.

He urged Justice Minister Judith Collins to set up an inquiry and give the issue "urgent attention".

But Ms Collins is refusing to comment on the case as Pora's lawyer has indicated he wil be seeking an appeal at the Privy Council.

"New Zealand has an independent, highly regarded judiciary, with a robust appeal process for people who feel they have been wrongly convicted," she said.

"It would be completely inappropriate for a Minister of the Crown to interfere in the court process."

But the appeal has not yet been lodged, and "so there is nothing stopping the minister" from stepping in, Mr Little said.

"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."

Mr Little added New Zealand has seen a run of high profile alleged miscarriage of justice cases and said an independent body to deal with such cases, equivalent to the UK's Criminal Cases Review Commission, may be beneficial.