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Haig case to be referred back to Court of Appeal

Haig case to be referred back to Court of Appeal

Rex Haig’s conviction for murder is to be referred back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Phil Goff said today.

Mr Haig was convicted in November 1995 of the murder of Mark Roderique. His appeal was dismissed, and he made an application to the Governor-General for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy in September 1999.

“I received advice on that application from the Ministry of Justice in December 2000. The advice was reviewed by John Billington QC, who agreed with the Ministry’s conclusions,” Mr Goff said.

“In light of the Ministry of Justice's advice, I advised the Governor-General at that time to decline Mr Haig’s application.

"In March 2002 Mr Haig made a second application for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which was based largely on the same grounds as the first application.

“I appointed Colin Carruthers QC to provide advice on the second application. That advice recommends that the case be referred back to the Court of Appeal on two of the four grounds in the application, namely that Crown witness David Hogan's alleged confessions to the killings constitute fresh evidence, and the need to reconsider the evidence of the crucial events in light of those alleged confessions.

“Having reviewed both Mr Carruthers' report and the Ministry’s report on the first application, I do not consider it appropriate to make a judgement about which is to be preferred.

“Both have examined the relevant materials carefully and reached different conclusions about their potential significance.

“In the circumstances of this case, and taking into account the differences of view, I consider the appropriate course is for the case to be referred back to the Court of Appeal. I have advised the Governor-General accordingly.

“An Order in Council referring the matter back to the Court is currently being drafted, and I do not propose to comment on the substance of the matter at this stage as the matter is to be considered by the Court of Appeal,” Mr Goff said.

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