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Justice for Teina Pora

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, November 8th, 2017 - 13 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, Andrew Little, human rights, labour, law, Politics - Tags:

What a difference a month and a new Government makes.

The last Government decided to award Teina Pora the sum of $2.5 million for the loss of 20 years of his life which he spent in jail for a crime he did not commit.

It relied on cabinet guidelines established in 2001 which suggested that a figure of $100,000 per annum was a starting point for the calculation of compensation.

But 16 years later the failure to adjust for interest made these guidelines increasingly unfair.

When Pora and his supporters originally questioned the failure to allow for inflation John Key said this:

Prime Minister John Key says if Teina Pora’s not happy with his payout, he can turn it down — but the Government has a “very strong case” against having to pay more than $2.5 million.

There has been widespread criticism of the Government’s announcement on Wednesday that Mr Pora would be compensated $2.5 million for the two decades he spent in jail for crimes he didn’t commit.

The exact figure — $2,520,949.42 — was calculated by retired High Court Judge Rodney Hansen QC, and accepted by Cabinet, which has the final say on any payout.

The figure disappointed Mr Pora’s legal team, and is dwarfed by previous compensation payments here and overseas.

“Does he have to accept it? No,” Mr Key told More FM this morning. “He can go through a legal process and challenge that.”

If he does though, Mr Key says Cabinet has a “very strong case” against having to pay more — the figure was calculated independently of Cabinet, according to guidelines set up in 2001.

Mr Key says there are “plenty of people” who think Mr Pora didn’t deserve $2.5 million.

Pora applied successfully for Judicial Review of the case essentially on the basis that the advice to Cabinet not to follow Rodney Hansen’s recommendation that the payment be inflation adjusted was faulty.  Cabinet was effectively invited to reconsider the matter.

Fast forward to today and new Justice Minister Andrew Little has shown that he is determined that Teina Pora should be properly compensated and has ruled out the possiblity of an appeal which the previous Government floated.

From the Herald:

Teina Pora, who was wrongfully imprisoned for 20 years, will receive an extra $1 million in compensation, Justice Minister Andrew Little has announced.

Pora was wrongfully convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett. He spent 20 years in jail before being released on parole in 2014.

The Privy Council quashed his convictions in 2015, and in 2016 he received $2.52 million and a government apology, but the High Court ruled that the amount should be adjusted for inflation.

The previous National Government had reserved the right to appeal.

“Teina Pora will receive an extra $988,099 as an inflation adjustment, bringing the total compensation package to $3,509,048.42,” Little said this morning.

“Additionally Pora will receive $45,000 in costs from his successful judicial review of the last National Government’s refusal to inflation adjust.

“Teina Pora was the victim of one of New Zealand’s worst miscarriages of justice. He was robbed of more than two decades of his life.”

“He was robbed of more than two decades of his life, languishing in prison for crimes he did not commit. These were years when Mr Pora could have been working to build his future and his family.

“I am grateful to Teina Pora for his positive engagement with the new Government, and we wish him all the best for a better future.”

Little said Cabinet agreed to the figure on Monday, and last night Pora’s representatives accepted the offer.

“I’m pleased to say that this matter is at an end … now justice has been done.”

Well done Andrew Little.


13 comments on “Justice for Teina Pora ”

  1. Muttonbird 1

    It’s good the government has done the right thing but justice will never be done in a case like this.

    What this action does do is re-enforce to the police in particular to rid themselves of malevolent forces. They are supposed to be better than us – a concept with which they seem to struggle.

    Teina Pora didn’t have much of a life to begin with and some desperate corruption from the police and the state ensured that would always be the case.

    • james 1.1

      “It’s good the government has done the right thing but justice will never be done in a case like this.”

      Not often we agree on something – but this is one thing for sure.

      • tracey 1.1.1

        Like the duplicitous warrant application which led to Hager and his daughters home raided, his material and tools to enable him to make a living wrongly siezed? That kind of appalling high handedness and misuse of power by the police, for seemingly unknown motivation?

  2. repateet 2

    Amy Adams had the chance to do something to right the wrong. Amy Adams under whose watch leaks of confidential stuff about the Bain and Pora cases leaked out.

    Today the Ms Adams got up in Parliament to say her piece. As grand as she tries to sound, as honourable as she purports to be, her actions show her to be discredited and a disgrace to the office of any Ministry let alone Justice.

  3. Ross 3

    This is great news for Pora and for future victims who suffer a miscarriage of justice.

    This Government intends to establish a Criminal Cases Review Commission. However, the Ministry of Justice is strongly opposed to a CCRC. It will be interesting to see what nonsense officials come up with to try to resist such an important body being set up.

  4. mac1 4

    I cannot begin to imagine what Teina Pora went through imprisoned unjustly for 22 years. Nelson Mandela had 27 years in prison and turned out a forgiving and great man. I hope that a commensurate reward is found in Teina Pora’s life, on top of the financial compensation.

    As for the mean-spirited National government, they showed themselves up to fair-minded people.

    Respect to our new Justice Minister with his sense of what is right and proper in this issue and with Pike River.

    These honourable moves give me a similar gladness of heart, and pride, as did moves made by Kirk, Lange and Clark in their time.

  5. gsays 5

    I wish to congratulate Mr little and the government in attempting to do the just thing.
    As muttonbird says up thread, justice can never be done but there are some things that could be addressed.
    Perhaps a high level enquiry into police actions/inactions with consequences to follow.

    Also as Ross says, and criminal cases review tribunal.

    • tracey 5.1

      Do you know the song “In the Ghetto”? It is the cycle that bothers me. So many more Poras out there… because we refuse to face poverty, poor education support for those vulnerable under our systems, poor health access…violence… mental health.

      • gsays 5.1.1

        I grew up in a household where music was Elvis or Glenn Miller.
        I agree there are too many vulnerable out there.

        What sticks in my craw is the people who are paid and have a duty of care, seem to be unaccountable when they deliberately visit injustice on others.

  6. AB 6

    Pora was wrongly imprisoned because he is brown, his compensation was not inflation-adjusted because he is brown.
    Take the extra million off John Key.

    • North 6.1

      A thoroughly disgusting feature of the whole thing was weak man Key saying Teina didn’t ‘have’ to take what the cabinet devised in the first place. That was as good as saying “We’ve got the whip hand……gross injustice?……pfft!” And then (from the post)…….”Mr Key says there are “plenty of people” who think Mr Pora didn’t deserve $2.5 million.” Yeah(?) Of course there are fine people on both sides I guess (???)

      One of whom is NOT the senior cop (now in retirement apparently) who cynically, coldly, stitched up a young man who patently exhibited minimal robustness……the senior cop who played Teina and violated his humanity as if he were a meaningless lump of plasticene. In my overview it’s not finished until that cruel bastard is dealt with.

  7. Tiger Mountain 7

    well done, tidy and prompt, hope Mr Pora has appropriate advisors and enjoys a good life

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