A decision on whether convicted double-murderer John Barlow could be pardoned will be made before Christmas. Justice Minister Annette King is considering legal advice on whether Barlow's case should be referred to the Court of Appeal for a full pardon.
If the appeal is refused, Barlow's lawyer, Greg King, will take the case before the Law Lords of the Privy Council in London.
"Either way, it will be won, I can tell you that," Greg King said.
After two hung trials, Barlow was convicted of the execution-style shootings of Wellington businessman Eugene Thomas and son Gene in 1994 after new evidence was given by an FBI ballistics expert at a third trial.
The expert provided forensic evidence using lead-content tests to match crime-scene bullets with those in a box belonging to Barlow.
However, the forensics used to convict him have since been discredited worldwide for providing a high number of false matches, and the FBI has stopped bullet-testing.
King applied for a royal pardon, which was rejected by the Justice Ministry in October last year. A review of that decision by Minister King is expected soon.
If the previous decision is overturned, the Governor-General would send the Barlow case back to Court of Appeal for another hearing. "If they don't, the Privy Council is the only option. I'll tell you this: it will be won," Greg King said.
The new evidence from the FBI was the difference in getting the conviction after two hung juries, said King. "The jury were misled by science which told them there was a link between the bullets and Barlow. No such link could possibly be established."
More than $570,000 of taxpayers' money has already been spent on legal aid for Barlow - the third-highest total in New Zealand history.
King said it would be inappropriate to comment.