So it's richer for Pora.

June 15 was a significant day for the 39 year old. It was on that date back in 1994 as a 17 year old that Teina Pora was convicted of murdering and raping Susan Burdett in her Papatoetoe home. And it was on that same date, yesterday, that the Government apologised unreservedly for his wrongful conviction and gave him compensation.

To many the $2.5m payout seems like a lot of money - and it is. The likelihood is that Teina Pora would never have that sort of money in the bank if he hadn't been incarcerated but that's no consolation.

Fortunately, few of us can imagine what it must be like languishing in jail, or worse still even fewer could envisage what it'd be like staring at the cell walls in a maximum security jail, knowing you were there for a crime you didn't commit.


This case raises a number of issues. The main one is how did the police got it so wrong along with the juries that twice convicted Teina Pora of rape and murder?

Pora was born disadvantaged, to a mother who drank when he was in her womb, and as a result suffered intellectual developmental difficulties, or Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder as it's now known. However, this wasn't recognised during the police interviews or at the subsequent trials.

The former High Court judge brought into look at whether Pora deserved compensation raised an issue that now must be addressed.

Justice Rodney Hansen said the undisputed evidence leads to the irresistible inference that serial rapist Malcolm Rewa acted alone in the sexual violation and murder of Susan Burdett and that there was no credible evidence that he was accompanied by Pora.

Rewa was tried twice in 1998 in respect of the rape and murder of Ms Burdett. At the first trial the jury couldn't agree on a verdict even though his semen linked him to the scene, at the second trial he was found guilty of rape but they again couldn't agree on murder.

Fact is the juries would have known Pora four years earlier had been found guilty of Ms Burdett's murder based on a confession that it turns out was naively made with with a reward in mind.

Now that Pora's innocence has been proved, if justice is to be seen to be done, Rewa must be tried again.