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3RD Degree Airs New Revelations in Teina Pora Case

Thursday 1 August, 2013

3RD Degree Airs New Revelations in Teina Pora Case

3rd Degree has broadcast an explosive new investigation into the case of Teina Pora.

Pora was arrested in 1993 for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in her Papatoetoe home, and sentenced to life imprisonment. He remains in prison 20 years on.

Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa was arrested in 1996 for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett. He was convicted of her rape, but two juries could not decide on the murder charge. He is serving a sentence of preventive detention for attacks on 25 women. The police case remains to this day that on one of those occasions, the rape and murder of Susan Burdett, he took along an accomplice: Teina Pora.

The 3rd Degree investigation has revealed that:
• Police were advised in 1990 by then police psychologist Dr Ian Miller that two unsolved Otahuhu rapes looked like the work of a serial rapist.
• A police detective had concluded by 1993 – before Teina Pora even went to trial – that three unsolved Otahuhu rapes were connected, and that there was a link between them and the Susan Burdett homicide. In all of those previous rapes the offender had operated alone.
• In 1992 the police asked ESR for DNA testing to be done confirming their suspicions about a serial rapist. Further testing was carried out in 1993 and 1994.
• None of that information, which was a significant breakthrough, was disclosed to Teina Pora’s defence at the time.
• The President of the Criminal Bar Association, Tony Bouchier, says it should have been. “If you have an on-going inquiry or analysis being done by ESR or any other inquiry for that matter and you haven’t received the results of it, the fact that it is underway is the important thing as far as disclosure is concerned,” he said. Further, he told 3rd Degree: if the defence counsel knew that that testing was underway, the results weren’t there by the date of trial, [they would] have applied for an adjournment pending the results of that DNA testing.”
• In September 1993 the police who had by now linked the three Otahuhu rapes, “filed the file”, according to a High Court brief of evidence obtained by 3rd Degree. Teina Pora went to trial in June 1994 and was sentenced in July 1994. The police file into the unsolved Otahuhu rapes was reassigned in August 1994.
• The results of the DNA testing which first began in 1992 didn’t come back until May 1995, confirming a serial rapist was responsible for the attack on Susan Burdett. Police launched Operation Harvey in September of that year, which eventually led to the arrest of Malcolm Rewa in 1996.
• After the murder of Susan Burdett, Malcolm Rewa went on to attack 15 more women.
• One of Malcolm Rewa’s victims, a woman raped two weeks before Susan Burdett, has told 3rd Degree that at the time of her rape she knew the offender would attack again. She doesn’t believe it’s plausible that Malcolm Rewa would have taken along a co-offender to commit the crime against Susan Burdett. “He has an erectile dysfunction issue. I don’t think there’s a man on this planet that would actually believe a guy like that who would have somebody prepared to have somebody else find out. It’s ridiculous, seriously. There are so many reasons I can see based on my experience and what I know of both cases that make it really impossible for me to believe that Pora was even there.” She wants to see Malcolm Rewa retried for the murder of Susan Burdett.

Last night’s programme also saw the police front for an interview with 3rd Degree for the first time in the year-long investigation into Teina Pora.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess told the programme: “There have been calls for police to conduct further investigation. We’ve conducted an investigation. We conducted an investigation in the 1990s. We reached a view, we put that evidence in front of the court, the court reached a view twice that Mr Pora was guilty”.

Journalist Paula Penfold said what the programme has uncovered warrants a government inquiry. “The issues have now gone beyond the miscarriage of justice against Teina Pora,” she said.

We’re now dealing with a flawed police investigation which not only put an innocent man in prison, it left a serial rapist on the loose for an inexcusably long time.”

3rd Degree – Wednesdays, 8.30pm on TV3

- ends -

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