The Teina Pora case could have been resolved long ago if New Zealand had a criminal cases review commission, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.
His comments follow news that the Privy Council has granted leave to hear Teina Pora’s case later this year with the truth of his confession being the central issue.
“It’s pleasing that a case about which there is so much doubt, even amongst police officers who worked on it, is to be given another hearing, but the cost to the taxpayer will be significant, just as it was with the recent Lundy appeal.
“If we had had a criminal cases review commission along the lines of those operating in the UK and Norway, Pora could have sought a wide-ranging inquiry into his whole case once he had exhausted his right of appeal to the Court of Appeal back in the 1990s.
“Instead he has had to wait many more years to get to this point. Even then he has only earned the right to another appeal hearing which, if successful, will see the case remitted to our Court of Appeal. He could have another year in prison yet.
“It’s time we accepted that our justice system doesn’t always get it right, and can sometimes get it spectacularly wrong, and that we need another safety valve beyond just the existing rights of appeal.”