30 Mar 2015

Teina Pora's team eyes compensation bid

6:46 pm on 30 March 2015

A lawyer for Teina Pora says he will not be re-tried and his legal team now have compensation in their sights.

Ingrid Squire, Jonathan Krebs and Tim McKinnel gather at the Auckland press conference.

Left to right: Ingrid Squire, Jonathan Krebs, Tim McKinnel (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Carla Penman

Mr Pora's convictions for the 1992 rape and murder of Auckland woman Susan Burdett were quashed by the Privy Council earlier this month.

Teina Pora.

Teina Pora. Photo: TVNZ / One News

His legal team says the Privy Council has recommended against another trial.

The decision on a retrial means Mr Pora, who has been on parole after being in prison for 21 years, would no longer be subject to parole conditions.

When the Privy Council quashed Mr Pora's convictions, it took the unusual step of calling for submissions on whether there should be a third trial.

Mr Pora's lawyer Jonathan Krebs said word had now come back from the Privy Council.

"This morning we received advice by email that the Privy Council recommending to their Majesty that an order be made that Mr Pora does not stand retrial. So that completes the appeal process. There is no retrial, and that's the end of the matter.

"Mr Pora is of course utterly delighted. It's a very emotional day for him. It's the end of 22 years."

A screenshot from the livestream of the Privy Council's decision, showing Lord Kerr.

Lord Kerr giving the Privy Council decision quashing Teina Pora's convictions. Photo: SUPPLIED

Tim McKinnel, an investigator on Mr Pora's legal team, said he called Mr Pora to tell him about the Privy Council's recommendation, and he responded with stunned silence.

He said Mr Pora was now not only a free man, but an innocent man.

"There was a fair degree of surprise and joy in his voice, once he recovered from the initial shock - I would describe it as stunned silence. He was clearly pretty emotional.

"It's been a tough few weeks for him, waiting for this final part of the case to be dealt with."

Compensation under consideration

Teina Pora's legal team said he ought to get compensation but they were yet to discuss with him whether or not he wanted it.

One of his lawyers, Ingrid Squire, told Checkpoint that if her client wanted to go down the compensation path, then they would begin discussions with the Minister of Justice.

She said she didn't know what amount of compensation they would be seeking at this stage.

Ms Squire also said she didn't think Mr Pora would necessarily want a public apology but might want a statement of innocence to be issued from the Minister of Police.

Attorney-General to be consulted

Canterbury University Law School head Chris Gallavin said the Privy Council's recommendation now went to the Attorney-General.

"For all intents and purposes, his conviction has been quashed, his appeal has been granted, he's a free man until such time as the authorities make a positive decision to retry him again. Until that decision is made, then he is a free man."

Dr Gallavin said it was likely the Attorney-General would follow the Privy Council recommendation, and respond to it very quickly.

The office of the Attorney-General Chris Finlayson referred enquiries to Crown Law.

Solicitor-General Michael Heron QC - the CEO of Crown Law - said the Crown had not sought a retrial for Mr Pora.

He said Crown Law had consulted the police and Susan Burdett's family and submitted that a retrial was not in the public interest.

A spokesperson for Crown Law said it was understood the Privy Council would shortly confirm there would be no retrial.

A timeline of Teina Pora's case and life

A timeline of Teina Pora's case and life

Graphic: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson