31 Mar 2014

Parole for Pora, but no interviews

7:23 pm on 31 March 2014

Convicted murderer Teina Pora has been granted parole after 21 years - on the condition he does not engage with the media in any way.

Teina Pora.

Teina Pora. Photo: RNZ

The 38-year-old has been serving a life sentence for the 1992 rape and murder of Auckland woman Susan Burdett - crimes he denies having committed.

On Monday morning, Pora made his 13th appearance before the Parole Board at the maximum security prison at Paremoremo in Auckland.

The board said he no longer posed an undue risk to the safety of the community and would be released on an undisclosed date; the reasons for that decision would be released as soon as they were available.

Pora's lawyer Jonathan Krebs said his client was overwhelmed by the decision.

The board told Pora it hoped he would take every opportunity to re-integrate into the community, he said.

"They were pretty clear, however, about one condition," Mr Krebs said. "They've been concerned, I think, about the level of media attention that Teina's case has not surprisingly gained, and they've imposed a condition on his parole - when he eventually gets released on parole - that he is not to engage with the media in any way."

Another of Pora's lawyers, Ingrid Squire, said the team was mindful that there was another family affected.

"Although it's a happy day for Teina and his family, we can't lose sight of the fact that there's a still a family there who have lost their daughter. Our thoughts, as always, go out to the Burdett family."

Susan Burdett's brother believes Teina Pora is innocent and is pleased he has been granted parole. Jim Burdett wrote to the board and says all the evidence points to there being a miscarriage of justice in the case. He says he is willing to meet with Pora.

Pora has a Privy Council appeal hearing in London over his convictions, expected to take place in October or November this year.