Teina Pora case: Police finally release forensic evidence

By Edward Gay

Teina Pora at his retrial in the High Court at Auckland in 2000. Photo / TV3
Teina Pora at his retrial in the High Court at Auckland in 2000. Photo / TV3

Police have released forensic evidence to defence lawyers in the Teina Pora case - 16 months after a court order told them to.

Pora's lawyers have been asking police for forensic evidence for some time and in February 2012 consent orders were made in court.

The matter was back at the High Court of Auckland earlier this month where it was revealed police have only recently handed that evidence over to Pora's lawyer Jonathan Krebs.

Mr Krebs told the court that he had only just received a package from police and raised concerns about why the police had taken so long.

He said he was also worried that the police may have carried out further tests on the exhibits without consent.

The evidence is being reviewed by forensic expert Dr Anna Sandiford, employed by Mr Krebs.

The developments in the 20-year-old case were discussed in a telephone conference two weeks ago between Pora's lawyers, police and ESR.

The decision by Justice Paul Heath was released to APNZ only today.

The judge has asked the police to explain why it has taken so long to release the evidence to Pora's lawyers.

Justice Heath has also ordered Dr Sandiford to serve her report on the police and ESR.

Crown lawyers for the police will have a chance to reply to the report before another telephone conference is held.

The move comes after Pora's representatives sued the police last year and won an order for police to supply information held by the ESR.

Pora wants access to the information for a bid to gain an appeal before the Privy Council.

He was twice convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of Susan Burdett. Malcolm Rewa, whose semen was found in her body, was convicted of her rape.

Rewa was convicted of sex attacks on 24 other women acting alone in all instances.

No physical evidence was found to indicate Pora was present.

Pora was convicted on the basis of a confession which a world expert on false confessions has described as ``fundamentally flawed``and motivated in part by a $20,000 reward.

The view of Pora's team is that Rewa alone was responsible and that information held by the ESR may help to demonstrate that.

The case has divided police. The police's criminal profiler, whose expert evidence convicted Rewa of the other 24 cases, is among those who believes Rewa acted alone.

Rewa was convicted of raping Ms Burdett, but two juries could not decide on a murder charge.

Pora was convicted a second time in 2000 when the prosecution argued that Pora and Rewa acted with one or two other men.

But police did not make further inquiries for 10 years until private investigator Tim McKinnel began reviewing the case on behalf of Pora.

Mr McKinnel has previously said the police have been told by their own expert that there is no second or third offender only Rewa.

- NZ Herald

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