A criminal lawyer charged with smuggling an iPhone to a high-profile rapist and murderer visited the prison inmate 80 times in nine months before she was arrested.

Davina Valerie Murray, a Maori Party candidate in last year's general election, is facing two charges relating to her in-prison dealings with Liam James Reid.

Reid was sentenced to preventive detention in 2008 for raping and murdering deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew.

Murray has vowed to prove his innocence - saying the situation is "a lot bigger" than just the charges against her, which she will defend.


Murray did not represent Reid at his original trial.

Yesterday Murray lost a four-month bid for name suppression, and told the Herald she was not guilty of any crime - and neither was Reid, who she was assisting in an appeal.

Murray, 38, was arrested and charged with smuggling an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter to Reid while he was at Mt Eden Prison in October.

She is also facing a second charge, laid last week, of having communication with Reid "that may prejudice the safe custody of a prisoner".

Murray visited Reid 80 times in prison in the nine months before her arrest. She told the Herald she had been working on Reid's murder appeal for the past two years.

Murray gained suppression orders during her first appearance in the North Shore District Court on November 25. Reid's name has also been suppressed since that date.

Murray's lawyer Barry Hart argued that publishing her name and details of the case would damage her "fledgling" legal career and have a significant impact on her mental wellbeing.

He said her name should not be published because if she was found not guilty, the publicity could not be undone and she would suffer permanent and irreversible damage to her reputation.


The Herald opposed the suppression orders and argued that her details should be published.

Last month in the District Court, Judge Nevin Dawson refused to continue the suppression orders.

He said he favoured openness and had to be careful to avoid creating an echelon of privileged persons who would enjoy suppression where others would not.

"The factors raised do not justify her continued name suppression. It is apparent that [Murray] can work in a demanding profession and withstand the rigours of political electioneering and in my view is capable of coping with the charge," he said.

Mr Hart then indicated he would appeal against that decision, forcing Judge Dawson to make a new suppression order until an appeal could be heard in the High Court.

Justice Helen Winkelmann this month dismissed that appeal, but a new charge laid on the same day in the District Court against Murray forced the judge to continue the suppression order until matters in the District Court were resolved.

The matter was brought back to Justice Winkelmann for a final ruling yesterday, and Murray and Reid's name suppression was lifted.

But the Herald is still unable to publish most of the information about the police allegations against Murray.

Police allege Reid was searched before the visit in October and had no contraband on him. He was searched again after his meeting with Murray and the phone and cigarettes were found.

Murray denies giving the items to Reid.

Mr Hart said evidence included intercepted communications between Murray and Reid, which he believed were obtained illegaly.

Outside court Murray, supported by several family members, said the charges meant her career was on the line. But she remained confident.

"I maintain that I am not guilty," she said.

She did not appear worried about the charges against her, instead using the publicity the case had created to push her belief in Reid's innocence.

"I think what we're unravelling is bigger that my future reputation."

'Reaching a point of farce'

A judge has described the lack of progress in the Davina Murray case as "almost reaching the point of farce". The Crown is now seeking costs from the lawyer, saying numerous hearings had no merit or proper foundation.

October 7 Murray allegedly gives contraband to Liam Reid in Mt Eden Prison.

November 25 First appearance, granted interim name suppression.

December 22 Case sent to community magistrate because a District Court judge knows Murray.

February 2 A second judge refuses to hear the case because she knows Murray.

February 10 Murray lawyer Barry Hart does not appear, appoints a stand-in who says he is "not in a position to advance the matter". Judge Nevin Dawson demands Mr Hart appear next time or properly instruct another lawyer.

March 1 Mr Hart back in court but says "everything is an issue" and asks for adjournment. Name suppression is declined but continues after Mr Hart appeals.

March 22 Appeal hearing postponed because Reid's lawyer is not available.

March 30 Justice Helen Winkelmann dismisses the appeal but due to complications the matter is again adjourned.

April 3 Mr Hart and Murray not at a scheduled hearing. A stand-in lawyer says he has not been instructed on the matter. Judge Dawson calls the situation "extremely [and] completely unsatisfactory in every respect" and is forced to continue suppression again until the next court date - which he demands that Murray and a fully instructed lawyer attend.

April 4 Mr Hart and Murray do not attend the hearing. The court was told Mr Hart is sick and he is ordered to provide a medical certificate. Justice Winkelmann continues suppression but describes the situation as "almost reaching the point of farce".

April 11 Lawyer Charl Hirschfield stands in for Mr Hart but again claims are made that full instructions have not been given. The second charge is laid against Murray and Judge Dawson refuses name suppression. An appeal is indicated.

April 16 Mr Hart and Murray tell the High Court they will not be appealing against Judge Dawson's decision. Suppression lifted. Mr Hart moves to have Murray's file sealed.