So the Teina Pora case is finally settled, but it leaves behind it calls for some sort of reform in trying sort how we deal with these type of cases.
The two most high-profile of late, David Bain and Pora, were both handled abysmally by the last National government. The rules are ridiculous, the politics of the situation equally so.
Bain eventually got $1 million by way of a pitiful excuse over expenses, when in all reality it was compensation.
Pora was refused the inflation adjustment to his original payout. Labour, in a move that shows pragmatism and good will, came up with an extra $988,000 yesterday to put it right. It was the only proper thing to do
Not only do you have to be cleared by the court, and you then have to show you are innocent on the balance of probabilities. You also have to show exceptional circumstances.
And yet, even with those two, you could argue (and I do) egregious hurdles. Bain met both, and still ended up being stiffed by the then government.
Even though Pora was a much simpler case, National still managed to look like stingy, agenda-driven misery merchants.
So what is the difference in Pora's case under National, and Pora's case under Labour?
And yet it's worth $1 million more with Andrew Little in charge of the cheque book. As much as you may think that this has been the appropriate outcome, and I do, it's not justice and it's not how justice should be seen to be done. It's a political crap shoot. Basically, Pora got lucky the government changed, nothing more. That's why we need to tidy this mess up.
The most obvious thing, I would have thought, is to get the politicians the hell out of it. As we so clearly saw with the Bain case, and Judith Collins running it, you can basically come up with any answer you want. Binnie said one thing, her review said another.
Given these cases are so rare, how hard can it be to have a one-stop legal shop? A person of high legal standing overseeing and being the final arbiter of such cases. A figure who sights law and fact as opposed to opinion and politics. If we accept, rightly or wrongly, the justice system is the way we determine guilt or otherwise, then surely it is that same system we must rely on in the cases like Bain and Pora.
If the system failed you and incarcerated you wrongly, you are owed something for that. No excuses, no extra hurdles, no politics. Just a simple one-stop appeal for clemency, and compensation from a person or agency with all have faith in. How hard can it be?