27 May 2009

Court reserves ruling on Reid appeal

6:48 pm on 27 May 2009

The Court of Appeal has reserved judgement in the case of a man convicted of two high-profile sex crimes.

Liam James Reid was convicted of the rape and murder of deaf woman Emma Agnew, 20, near Christchurch in 2007 and the rape and attempted murder of a 21-year-old student in Dunedin nine days later.

Lawyers for Reid told the Court of Appeal in Wellington on Wednesday that the original convictions are unfair and the 26-year non-parole sentence is too high.

Lawyers said the defence during Reid's High Court trial was hampered by the late arrival of DNA and evidence from witnesses that prejudiced him in the eyes of the jury.

They also say inadmissible evidence was presented to the court, including information about Reid's criminal record, introduced by his lawyers inadvertently but carelessly.

Directions by the High Court judge to ignore the information were ineffective because by then the horse had bolted.

The Crown agreed technical errors were made, but not enough to overturn the convictions.