Malcolm Rewa has been found guilty of murdering Susan Burdett, but his lawyer says the serial rapist has concerns about how the jury reached its verdict so quickly.

The jury took just under four hours to return their unanimous verdict today after hearing two weeks of evidence and arguments in the High Court at Auckland.

It was Rewa's third trial for the murder charge, after two juries in 1998 were unable to decide whether he was guilty of her murder. He was, however, convicted of Burdett's rape.

Infamously, the Crown had also prosecuted Teina Pora for the accounts clerk's murder in her South Auckland home in March 1992.


When just 17 years old, Pora was arrested and later twice wrongly convicted for murdering Burdett.

He spent 22 years in prison before the Privy Council quashed his conviction in 2015 and has since received an apology from the Government and $3.5 million in compensation.

After a stay of the murder charge against Rewa was lifted in 2017 this month's trial was able to proceed.

Outside the High Court at Auckland, private investigator Tim McKinnel, who fought to free Pora from prison, said the guilty verdict was a combination of "justice and trust".

"Burdett's family and friends have endured 27 years of hardship but today we have seen justice merged with truth."

McKinnel said the five trials - three for Rewa and two for Pora - had been tough-going for Burdett's family with a great deal of uncertainty and difficult times in terms of listening to all the evidence.

He had spoken to Burdett's brother Jim when he started working on Pora's case and said he was "incredibly understanding" and had a lot of questions.

"It was important for us that we acknowledge [Burdett's family] in this. It wasn't ever just about Teina.


"It always involved two families - Teina's and Susan's, you couldn't deal with one without the other."

Former police officer turned private investigator Tim McKinnel talks to media about the guilty verdict. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Former police officer turned private investigator Tim McKinnel talks to media about the guilty verdict. Photo / Jason Oxenham

McKinnel said it was undeniable his team had some difficult times in dealing with the police but he wasn't here today to dwell on that.

He described Rewa, who will be sentenced on March 26, as a "monster" but said people like that were not born that way.

"There is probably a story to tell in my view as to how he ended up being in this position but that's not to take away from the pain and suffering he has inflicted," he said.

For Pora, this was a very important day as he had talked about it 10 years ago, McKinnel told media outside the courthouse.

"He was of course wanting to get out of jail for something he hadn't done," he said of Pora.

McKinnel said it was frustrating Rewa didn't speak up while Pora was locked up for all those years but "was not unexpected."

But Rewa's lawyer, Paul Chambers, told media his client has concerns about how the jury reached a verdict so quickly.

The jury took just under four hours - including a lunch break - to return their verdict.

"The Crown did their job, I tried to do mine, the judge was very fair-minded when he presented the closing," Chambers said.

"I think Mr Rewa is just questioning how a jury gets through 400 pages of evidence in less than three hours."

Chambers said he thought the trial process was fair but said it would have been difficult for the jury to not be influenced by history.

"It's difficult for the jury to not be swayed by the evidence that was brought in by propensity," he said.

The Court of Appeal permitted the Crown to use 20 of Rewa's previous rape convictions as evidence of a pattern of offending when presenting its case to the jury.

During pre-trial hearings, Chambers also argued historical media publicity and a dramatised 90-minute television film about Pora's case, In Dark Places, was prejudicial to Rewa's case.

"There is sufficient prejudice, sufficient hostility, sufficient time to make a fair trial impossible for the defendant," Chambers argued at the hearings.

He said he would think carefully, logically and without emotion about any potential appeal.

The well-respected lawyer said defending Rewa "hasn't been easy" and he had also been the victim of hate mail for the first time in his career.

"That's not why I came into law. I came into law to defend people and if I'm lucky I get to defend the ones that I actually think are innocent," he said.

"If he'd said to me that he'd killed her - I wouldn't have been defending him."

Police also spoke about the verdict, shortly after it was delivered.

"Police wish to thank all the witnesses who came to court to give evidence. We appreciate it has been both difficult and traumatic for people having to relive their experiences of the case some 26 years later," Detective Superintendent Dave Lynch said.

"I also want to acknowledge the Crown and police investigation team for their work over the better part of the last two years preparing this case for trial."

New Zealanders have also taken to social media to react to the verdict.

"Proof of an unjust system! All those years robbed from Teina Pora's life, all those years Rewa sitting back thinking he got away with it, all those hundreds of thousands of dollars of tax payers money spent on the case to prove an innocent man guilty only to the spend all that money again to try and prove who the real murderer was. This is an embarrassment and proof that our system needs an overhaul," someone said on the Herald Facebook page.

"Today is your day Susan. Victory for you," someone else said.