Lawyer facing smuggling charges wants murderer to join her case

By Edward Gay

Davina Murray. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Davina Murray. Photo / Steven McNicholl

A criminal defence lawyer accused of smuggling contraband into prison wants a convicted rapist and murderer to join her case.

Davina Valerie Murray was back at the High Court at Auckland today in the latest instalment of her legal wrangle with the Corrections Department and private prison operator Serco.

The 38-year-old has been seeking disclosure of information she says Corrections and Serco have, which is relevant to her criminal case.

The police allege Murray, 38, passed information to Liam Reid inside Mt Eden Prison that prejudiced the safety of a prisoner who was attacked in jail.

Murray, a Maori Party candidate at the 2011 election, is also facing a charge of smuggling a cellphone, cigarettes and a lighter to Reid. She denies both charges that carry a maximum penalty of three months' jail.

Murray took her case to the High Court today where she asked Justice Peter Woodhouse to make an order joining Reed to a judicial review of the police and the department's actions.

"I have been provided with a series of emails between a visiting justice [to Mt Eden Prison] and a prosecutor ... These emails directly establish a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.''

She said the emails were from Reid, and relate to his case as well as hers.

Murray is also seeking a review of a District Court decision relating to her case. The details of the decision are suppressed.

Murray alleged that prison authorities had listened in on phone conversations between her and Reid, and that contravened client-lawyer privilege.

She has previously told the Auckland District Court that the police allege she is not Reid's lawyer because the calls showed "intimacy between her and Reid''.

Crown prosecutor June Jelas told the court today that a District Court judgement meant there was no need for revisiting Reid's involvement with the case.

Justice Woodhouse suggested to Murray that she "reflect on the need'' to have Reid added to her case.

He asked her to file a fresh statement of claim in the High Court within two weeks to show which decisions she is challenging.

Justice Woodhouse also allowed Murray to bring the matter back to the High Court if she felt the matters in the District Court were not dealt with "satisfactorily''.

Murray was to face two defended hearings this month, but neither are likely to go ahead because of pre-trial arguments.

Reid is serving a 23-year sentence for raping and killing deaf woman Emma Agnew in Christchurch in 2007, and the rape, attempted murder and robbery of a 21-year-old student in Dunedin nine days later.

- APNZ

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