Teina Pora to receive compensation

  • Amy Adams

Justice Minister Amy Adams today announced that an independent review has found that on the balance of probabilities Teina Pora is innocent of the charges for which he was convicted.

Cabinet has accepted that finding and agreed to pay just over $2.5 million in compensation for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

“The Government has agreed to compensate Mr Pora after considering reports from retired High Court Judge Rodney Hansen QC, which confirmed Mr Pora’s innocence and recommended the compensation amount that should be paid to him under the guidelines,” Ms Adams says.

“I have written to Mr Pora to acknowledge his innocence and unreservedly apologise to him for the devastating impact his wrongful conviction and imprisonment has had on nearly 20 years of his life. 

“While it can never completely remedy the injustice Mr Pora has suffered, I hope that these findings, along with the compensation, can go some way in helping him and his family build a better future together.”

Mr Pora was convicted in 1994, and again in 2000, of murder, sexual violation by rape and aggravated burglary in relation to the death of Susan Burdett in Papatoetoe in 1992. In March 2015 the Privy Council quashed his convictions and did not order a retrial. Rodney Hansen QC was appointed by Ms Adams to provide advice on Mr Pora’s application for compensation in June 2015.

Mr Hansen was first instructed to provide advice on the question of Mr Pora’s innocence. In a report dated 23 March 2016 Mr Hansen concluded that Mr Pora has established he is innocent of the charges for which he was convicted.

Mr Hansen was then asked to provide advice on an appropriate amount of compensation for Mr Pora. Applying the Cabinet Guidelines, Mr Hansen recommended in a report dated 31 May 2016 that Mr Pora receive the sum of $2,520,949.42 as compensation for his wrongful conviction and imprisonment, and Cabinet has accepted that advice.

“By and large, New Zealanders enjoy a fair and effective criminal justice system. However, mistakes are possible in any system that relies on human judgment. It’s now clear the system has erred in this case, and this decision recognises this,” Ms Adams says.

“Mr Pora’s case has been a significant and complex application, and I wish to thank Rodney Hansen QC for his two excellent reports, which provided clear, methodical and thorough advice, and which greatly assisted me in preparing my advice to Cabinet on Mr Pora’s claim.”

Mr Hansen’s reports are available at www.justice.govt.nz/services/miscarriages-of-justice/compensation-for-wrongful-conviction-and-imprisonment/previous-examples.