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Pora case deserves another look

Thursday 1 August 2013

Pora case deserves another look

The Maori Party are again calling for the Teina Pora case to be reopened and examined, after TV3’s current affairs programme 3rd Degree raised further doubt over the handling of the original case which led to Pora’s conviction and life sentence for the murder of Susan Burdette.

“Teina Pora represents the face of rangatahi Maori in the justice system,” said Te Ururoa Flavell, Maori Party Co-leader.

“Denying him a retrial is the police and justice system holding hands to uphold injustice and not want to admit they got it wrong. We will continue to fight for justice for Teina Pora. He is the latest face of institutional racism that people of colour fight every day.”

“He deserves to have his case re-examined. We were convinced a long time ago that there was sufficient doubt over the facts and handling of the case to re-examine his conviction, and given the circumstances that led to his arrest we are again calling for justice, and for this young man to have his case heard again.”

Mr Flavell said “the Maori Party had previously written to the Minister of Justice, Hon Judith Collins to advocate for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which at that time was an avenue that Mr. Pora’s legal team were pursuing. We were told that while the case was a ‘priority’, further documentation was needed to push forward with the application.”

“This better not be a case of bureaucracy over justice, because while the system churns through paperwork, a young man who has already spent over 20 years in jail waits for action.”

“We must re-examine this case. In fact, if there was any justice in our justice system it would be a matter of course that a case could be reheard when new evidence arises, or when there are serious questions raised over the collection of evidence and the actions of police during the initial investigation.”

Yesterday, Te Ururoa Flavell in his general debate speech again spoke to the issue of structural discrimination in the justice system, and called for a review into the fairness of the entire system.

Mr Flavell said “we have had numerous reports tell us that our justice system is flawed. We have each heard first-hand accounts of how the system is failing to protect the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society. The fact that over 50% of the prison population is Maori should tell us that there is something wrong, if not with our justice system then with our society – because that figure is unacceptable.”

“The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination also highlighted the need to look at what is happening in our justice system, and yet what actions have been done to examine this issue? The Maori Party submitted a proposal to the Law Commission to review this issue, we have also put this issue to the Minister of Justice, and others who have the power to act and do something about our current system. To date – nothing has been done.”

“The time for politicking on this issue has passed. We are calling for urgent action. We want to see Mr. Pora’s case reopened, and we want to ensure that our system is treating all people fairly regardless of race, culture or socio-economic status.”

“We will be writing again to the Prime Minister to take this issue up.”


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