Wrongly jailed pair still await compo

Two men who got a apology from police for wrongful imprisonment have still not received the compensation they have been seeking for two years.

Philip Johnston and Jaden Knight spent 285 days in jail after being sentenced to six years imprisonment for a 2003 arson of the Foxton Hotel.

The men had stopped to help police after hearing of the fire on a scanner belonging to Mr Knight, a security guard but were later charged and convicted of the arson.

They spent 9-1/2 months in jail until their lawyers successfully applied to the Court of Appeal for a retrial, The Dominion Post reported.

Police failure to disclose evidence resulted in two mistrials before the men were separately retried. Mr Johnston was found not guilty and the charges against Mr Knight were dismissed.

In 2007 police apologised to the duo "for the police investigation resulting in you being wrongly charged and wrongly convicted for an offence you did not commit".

The men's parents have said they have each spent more than $20,000 of their retirement savings in legal fees and Mr Knight said he had lost about $160,000 in wages after being unable to work for three years while in prison and then on night curfew.

A Justice Ministry spokesman said the case had taken time to assess because it fell outside the guidelines and had "unusual features".

- NZPA

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