The Government is set to pay a compensation package worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to Tyson Redman, who was wrongfully convicted of a gang-related group assault when he was 17.

Redman, who is now about 30, spent two and a half years in prison.

His conviction was later quashed when eight people came forward saying he was not present at the Mt Roskill attack, which involved members of JDK (variously known as the Junior Dom Kings or Junior Don Kings).

It will be the first compensation payment for a miscarriage of justice which has included an inflation adjustment at the outset.


Last year the previous Government paid compensation to Teina Pora, who spent 20 years in prison after being wrongfully convicted of rape.

The new Government adjusted it for inflation, lifting Pora's total compensation from $2.52 million to $3.51 million.

Justice Minister Andrew Little, speaking to the Herald on a visit to the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission, said another person had been contacted by the Government about a compensation claim.

He would not name the person but the Herald has learned it is Redman and that he could be eligible for about $350,000 in inflation-adjusted compensation.

Redman's case was mentioned in the briefing papers to Little when he took up the Justice Minister position.

Inflation-adjustment is not yet firm policy because the guidelines for compensation are being reviewed. But Little has said they should include inflation.

Based on the Cabinet guidelines Redman should receive $100,000 for each year of prison and a $100,000 base payment for missed opportunities. Adjusted for inflation, the total would be about $350,000.

When Little announced the inflation for the Pora case, he said previously settled cases would not be relitigated. But Redman's case had not been settled.

National's finance spokeswoman and former Justice Minister Amy Adams said at the time that the payout to Pora would open to door to other claimants seeking payments adjusted for inflation.

In order to qualify for compensation, claimants have to prove innocence on the balance of probabilities.

The case against Redman included two prosecution witnesses claiming he was there for the assault, but both were stoned and one was stoned and drunk, according to court papers.

Redman appealed his conviction but when that failed, he applied in 2009 to the Governor-General for a rarely-granted Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

That prompted a review by the Ministry of Justice, followed by a fresh Court of Appeal hearing in 2013, which heard from eight witnesses stating that Redman was not at the assault.

By then, Redman had served his full sentence, having been released in 2010.

The Court of Appeal overturned Redman's convictions, saying the witnesses' testimony was strong enough for a jury to find "reasonable doubt".

The Government is setting up a Criminal Cases Review Commission to consider claims of wrongful conviction, as part of the coalition deal between Labour and New Zealand First.

The New Zealand model will be in part based on the Scottish model, which applies a test which, if successful, sends the case to be heard in an appellate court. Little has said he wants it established by mid 2019.

Little said the Scottish commission received about 150 applications a year, and about five or six concluded in overturned convictions or a retrial.

"There has to be a real miscarriage - something the courts should be given the opportunity to reconsider," Little said.

That could include fresh evidence, a better understanding of existing evidence, the conduct of the police investigation, how the case was presented in court, or how the court handled the trial.

He noted that a report by retired High Court judge Sir Thomas Thorp in 2006 said there could be up to 20 innocent people locked up in New Zealand prisons.

Meanwhile, Little is rejecting pressure from victim advocates and the Sensible Sentencing Trust to scrap an accused's right to silence in child abuse cases.

Calls for the change follow the case of a battered four-month-old baby, for which the police investigation is being hampered by the family's refusal to talk.

Former Justice Minister Simon Power wanted to change the law so that juries could take a negative inference if an accused refused to speak. But he shelved the proposal, following significant push-back from the legal profession.

Little said he had no plans to revisit the issue.

"There is a basic principle, the right against self-incrimination, that we've long recognised. It's not something I"m considering at this point at all."