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Māori Party Calls for a Review of Conviction of Teina Pora

MEDIA STATEMENT
The Hon Dr Pita Sharples and Hon Tariana Turia
Maori Party Co-Leader
27 March 2013

Māori Party Calls for a Review of the Conviction of Teina Pora

The Māori Party is supporting the call for a Royal Prerogative of Mercy to reopen the case on the conviction of Teina Pora, following new information made public by TV3’s 3rd Degree programme which aired recently.

“We want to see the case re-opened,” said Dr Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-Leader. “To this end I have written to the Minister of Justice; noting that serious doubts have been raised about the conviction of Teina Pora which warrant closer examination”.

“While the TV3 programme indicated that Teina Pora may have had his own unethical motives during questioning, based on a fair justice system he was entitled to legal representation,” said Dr Sharples. “Therefore we question why he had no lawyer and why he had no support or independent advice during the interrogation phase of his investigation. We also question the way that reward money was used to gather information that was ultimately used against Mr Pora.”

“Recently the United Nations Committee on Eliminating Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) said that New Zealand needs to do more to prevent racial discrimination in the criminal justice system” said Mrs Turia.

“In essence, this is the ugly face of institutional racism rearing its head again. This is not only an issue of process, it is also one of justice. If there is a possibility of innocence then we should, as a nation that believes in fair treatment – re-examine the evidence and take a fresh look.

“Based on what we have seen and heard, there are enough inconsistencies there to justify a review of the findings and to support the application by Mr Pora’s lawyers to seek a Royal Prerogative of Mercy from the Governor-General, and we have written to the Minister of Justice to express our concerns.”

“The shame is it has taken more than twenty years for someone to take this matter up”.

ENDS

Background
Teina Pora was convicted for the horrific crimes of the rape and murder of Susan Burdette in 1992. However in the last twenty years since the original convictions, it seems that new evidence has emerged which raises serious questions over the process used to gather information and the outcome of the case.

Police footage on 3rd Degree showed that Mr Pora was interrogated for five days without legal representation. There were inconsistencies in the statements that he and others gave and evidence that suggested Mr Pora did not fully comprehend what was going on.

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