Watching 3rd Degree on Wednesday night it soon became evident the journalist asking the questions knew more about the case than the senior detective put up to answer them.

The interview followed an investigative piece by reporter Paula Penfold and producer Eugene Bingham on the arrest and conviction of Teina Pora for killing Susan Burdett in Auckland in 1992 and the case against Malcolm Rewa who was found guilty of raping her.

It is clear Pora did not kill Miss Burdett. It is equally clear that convicted rapist Rewa did. It is not just the defence side of the justice system that believes this, according to 3rd Degree. Police working on the case have also expressed doubts about the conviction. Detective Dave Henwood has gone public.

Cases like that of Miss Burdett always put extreme pressure on the police, which increases the chance of a mistake being made. Pora's confession may seem pivotal to the conviction but when examined it means little. One of the must excruciating parts of an earlier investigative piece about his arrest and conviction was watching police having to point out the house where Miss Burdett lived because he didn't know.


The Crown successfully argued no one would confess to a crime he didn't do. Oh yes, they do. Most famously recently was the Memphis Three, the innocence project of director Peter Jackson - one of them confessed to murders he did not commit.

The Pora case has many other unsettling elements: the defendant's age, the payment of money to witnesses for testimony, the nondisclosure to the defence that DNA analysis linking the crime and other rapes was being further investigated by police and then the shelving of the information until a point after Pora was convicted.

Often cases such as Pora's gain traction for some months and then disappear. This, hopefully, has worked up a head of steam, with Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell pushing for the case to be given priority by the Minister of Justice. And it is obvious reporter Penfold and Bingham won't be going away any time soon.

What can be said to someone in Pora's situation to give him some kind of hope? You will eventually be compensated for the years in jail. It's not much is it? It's not often that the New Zealand justice system gets it wrong. It is definitely time to rectify the injustice that has enveloped Teina Pora for 20 years.