The plan to convict Alan Hall gives every indication of being deliberately orchestrated.
Some 36 years after Alan Hall's conviction for murder, Crown Law told the Supreme Court it's "incontrovertible" that "key evidence was materially altered" and that "relevant evidence was concealed". His murder conviction was therefore overturned.
In my view, not since the planting of a shell casing by Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton to convict Arthur Allan Thomas of a double homicide in the 1970s has such a terrible deception been perpetrated.
At the heart of the matter is a statement made to police by a key witness. The witness said the person he saw was Māori (Hall is Pākehā) but unbeknown to him, that detail was removed from his statement. Furthermore, a reference to a distinct sweatshirt (belonging to Hall) was inserted into the witness statement, also without the witness's knowledge. The witness had never talked to the police about the sweatshirt because he'd never seen it.
This would have been uncovered at the trial but, despite the prosecution telling the defence that all witnesses would be called (which would have meant these anomalies would have been exposed), this key witness was never called to testify. If that doesn't look like a conspiracy between the prosecution and the police, I don't know what does.
A full investigation into this apparent deception is required, and now that one has been launched by the solicitor general, similar is required by the police. These investigations must be highly transparent and thorough and, if illegal acts have indeed taken place, then I believe the full force of the law should be brought to bear.
The reasons for this should be obvious, but let's lay them out.
This conviction has ruined one man and his family. Hall's mother did what all good mums would do, she sold her house and put everything into his defence. She died in 2012 before justice could be served. The victims are real, but the wider implications are equally troubling.
Nobody should be above accountability, but so often they appear to be. Think about the CTV building collapse, or Pike River, which I've written about before.
It's too easy to say that so much time has passed it may not be possible or that this is all in the past. No. Investigating this isn't just about holding individuals to account, it's about sending a very clear message to those who currently hold power that these actions are condemned in the strongest possible way.
These can be either criminal or professional sanctions.
Hutton escaped any punishment for planting a shell casing to convict Thomas, and one of New Zealand's top cops (Mike Bush, who went on to become police commissioner) thought it appropriate to say at Hutton's funeral that his "integrity was beyond reproach".
A lack of action ultimately undermines New Zealand's criminal justice system and the agencies that depend on legitimacy to operate.
The media have done their job on this case to raise great concerns, starting in the 1980s with Pat Booth, through Bryan Bruce and Phil Taylor in the 2000s, and more recently Mike Wesley Smith.
Despite the work of these journalists and the grave concerns they raised, the system failed to act until earlier this month when the injustice was corrected. But we cannot stop there.
If criminal or unethical acts were involved in securing this conviction, they must be pursued with the same vigour that Hall was pursued but with legitimate means; the latter they never afforded to Hall.
Justice must be done.
Dr Jarrod Gilbert is a criminologist at the University of Canterbury and the Director of Independent Research Solutions.