The Privy Council’s decision to quash Teina Pora’s convictions for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett could be the final chapter in a case that should have been closed years ago, Labour’s Justice Spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.
“Teina Pora has spent more than 20 years in prison, despite overwhelming public evidence that a miscarriage of justice occurred.
“The decision of the Privy Council to uphold his appeal has come with a hefty price tag not only for all the families involved in this case, but also the justice system.
“It didn’t have to be this way. Labour has been calling for a Criminal Cases Review Commission - an independent body to deal with claims of wrongful conviction and miscarriage of justice – for several years now.
“In countries such as England, Scotland, and Norway commissions act as a safety valve for the justice system, ensuring miscarriages of justice are properly investigated and remedied.
“In New Zealand it would essentially replace the Royal Prerogative of Mercy process, which is a lengthy and potentially conflicted procedure, leaving the decision to the ministry responsible for administering the justice system.
“Had a Commission been established here it would have provided a far more streamlined process for Teina Pora’s case.
“Instead our justice system failed Teina Pora. It’s our job to make sure that never happens again.”