2 Aug 2013

Lawyer found guilty in prison contraband case

10:25 am on 2 August 2013

An Auckland lawyer found guilty of smuggling items into jail for a convicted murderer she was infatuated with is hoping to be discharged without conviction.

Davina Murray smuggled an i-Phone, cigarettes and a lighter to Liam Reid in Auckland's Mt Eden Prison in 2011, the same time she was trying to get elected as an MP for the Maori Party.

Reid is serving a 23-year sentence for killing Christchurch deaf woman Emma Agnew in 2007 and for raping and attempting to murder a university student in Dunedin nine days later.

During the defended two-week hearing at Auckland District Court in July, a Corrections officer said after Reid met with Murray he was searched using a metal detector wand and an iPhone, cigarettes and a lighter were found.

Murray represented herself and told the court she believed that the iPhone had been planted.

The court was also read text messages the Crown said were written by Murray, which talked about her being in love, wanting to get married and not being happy until Reid was out of jail.

In a scathing ruling released on Thursday, Judge Russell Collins said Davina Murray was infatuated and emotionally attached to Liam Reid and visited him far too many times for it to be an orthodox client-lawyer relationship.

He said there was overwhelming evidence that she smuggled the items to Reid on 7 October 2011 and his claim also that they were planted on him was completely implausible.

The judge dedicated a full page to her behaviour during the hearing, including emailing demands to the court registry and judge, talking over people, laughing and grinning at media, being late, using derogatory language about witnesses, making gratuitous comments after rulings adverse to her were made and acting like she was in an American television programme.

The smuggling charge carries a maximum three-month jail sentence, but Davina Murray will ask the judge to discharge her without a conviction when she reappears in September.