Pora case a case to learn from

Conformation that Teina Pora will receive $2.5million from the Crown for more than 20 years of wrongful imprisonment does not fix the flaws in our system that led to this miscarriage of justice, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.

“The result today, and the decision by the Privy Council last year to quash Teina Pora’s convictions, came about only after a legal team volunteered thousands of hours to his case.

“Minister Amy Adams claims the end result proves the system worked. That is incorrect. Justice must be timely.

“This case is further proof that we need an Independent Criminal Case Review Commission – a mechanism to look at cases like this, and refer them back to the Appeal Court.

“At the same time we must also ensure other facets of our justice system that aren’t working are fixed. The minister claims our courts are better equipped to deal with neuro-disabilities like Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, which has been identified as playing a key role in the ‘confessions’ Teina made early on in the case.

“I am not convinced that this is the case. If things had genuinely changed, why do we not have a handle on its prevalence? And what guidance are we giving to police who are surely one of the most significant players in ensuring we don’t have such cases arise again?

“The Crown needs to be seen to have dealt with the compensation in this case fairly. The best way to do that would have been to accept Hansen’s recommendations in their entirety.

“Hansen’s report clearly sets out that it is ‘anomalous and unjust’ not to inflation adjust compensation payments, and it’s disappointing Cabinet did not find a way to take this into account.

“There is still much to be learned from this case. There can be no more Teina Poras.”