The brother of Susan Burdett hopes she will get justice, as the Privy Council in London quashed Teina Pora's convictions for her rape and murder.

Jim Burdett said he was pleased Mr Pora had been vindicated and wished him well.

"To me the evidence seems pretty conclusive. I'm happy insofar as this poor guy has spent 21 years in jail for something he didn't do and having a sense that this is going some way towards justice," he said.

"I have, for literally years now, believed that Teina Pora did not kill my sister."


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He said no message from him to Mr Pora would be sufficient. "It's too serious a matter to make trite comments. Congratulations seems a bit too flippant - but I would say congratulations to Teina Pora."

Mr Burdett wanted to meet Mr Pora and hoped he felt the same. "It's really up to him. In some ways I am a bystander to this process - I lost my sister. The exact circumstances I lost her are not clear as of this moment but he spent all of his adult life in jail for it."

Mr Burdett told Radio New Zealand a meeting with Mr Pora was a possibility, but the decision would be left to Mr Pora.

"It's Teina's call really, it's up to him."

Mr Burdett said while he hasn't met Mr Pora he has communicated with him through private investigator Tim McKinnel.

He said he felt sad for what Mr Pora had been through.

"My feeling is that it's a sad state of affairs for someone to spend his whole adult life in jail for something he didn't do."

He said he had moved on and dealt with his grief about his sister's murder some years ago.

He hoped that justice would one day be served for his sister as it was to Mr Pora. "It's a story that the conclusion is yet to be finalised," he said.

Mr Pora was first convicted in 1994 of Ms Burdett's rape and murder on the basis of his confessions.

In 1996, DNA from semen at the scene linked the attack to Malcolm Rewa, a serial rapist with a modus operandi of offending alone. Rewa was eventually convicted of the rape of 27 women, including Ms Burdett, but two juries could not reach a verdict regarding murder.

Mr Pora was again convicted of rape and murder at a retrial in 2000 and his appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa: DNA from semen at the scene linked the attack to Rewa. Photo / Supplied
Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa: DNA from semen at the scene linked the attack to Rewa. Photo / Supplied

The Privy Council spent two days last November hearing fresh evidence. Mr Pora's team argued that the new evidence - an expert opinion on false confessions and a recent assessment that he is affected by fetal alcohol spectrum disorder - supported the claim that his confessions could not be relied on.

The other ground was that because of an error by his trial lawyer, the significance of Rewa's erectile dysfunction was never put to a jury.

The case has become one of the country's most controversial and raises questions about the disclosure of information to defence lawyers, the use of paid witnesses and the adequacy of New Zealand's system of dealing with miscarriages of justice.

Battered to death

Ms Burdett was a 39-year-old accounts clerk and an avid ten pin bowler who lived alone. She returned late from club night at the Manukau Superstrike on Monday, March 23, 1992, and was raped, then battered to death. Her killer crossed her legs, which were positioned off the bed. Lying on the bed beside her was the softball bat she kept for protection.

In the months after the attack, Mr Pora was among hundreds of men who gave DNA samples that cleared them of having left the semen at the scene.

Teina Pora's conviction was quashed by the Privy Council in London. Photo / New Zealand Herald
Teina Pora's conviction was quashed by the Privy Council in London. Photo / New Zealand Herald

On March 18, 1993, nearly a year after the murder, Mr Pora was arrested on warrants for failing to attend court on car theft charges. He was 17, the son of a teenage mother who died when he was aged 4 and a father who was never around. Mr Pora was a father himself: he had a baby daughter.

He also was in a bitter dispute with senior Mongrel Mob members, having pinched back a car they had taken from him. He knew the gang were after him, and he was in trouble with the police too.

His defence team said Mr Pora sought to ingratiate himself with the police by implying he knew who was responsible for killing Ms Burdett. He was told a $20,000 reward was available.

During two days of questioning by police without a lawyer he told stilted, vague, contradictory stories claiming Mobsters were responsible. In total he named five men, all cleared by DNA.