3 Jul 2017

Pora heads back to court over compensation payout

8:26 am on 3 July 2017

A man who suffered arguably New Zealand's greatest miscarriage of justice is heading back to court today seeking a review of the amount of compensation he received from the government.

Teina Pora's case for increased compensation is heading to the High Court.

Teina Pora's case for increased compensation is heading to the High Court. Photo: RNZ / Supplied

In June last year, the government paid Teina Pora $2.5 million in compensation for the 19 and a half years he spent in jail after he was wrongfully convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett. Including on remand, he spent nearly 22 years in prison.

Mr Pora was convicted of her rape and murder in 1994 and was again found guilty at a retrial in 2000, but the convictions were overturned in 2015.

The compensation paid to him was based on 1998 guidelines that award $100,000 a year for loss of liberty.

A retired High Court judge, Justice Rodney Hansen QC, had recommended the figure be adjusted for inflation but the government rejected that and the High Court will today be asked to review that decision.

His support team, including former police officer and private investigator, Tim McKinnel, believes he should have been paid about $500,000 more.

Mr McKinnel told Morning Report they would be arguing the court should follow Justice Hansen's recommendation it would be "anomalous and unjust" not to adjust for inflation.

"The payment he received for each year he was in prison was the lowest anyone has ever been paid."

Mr McKinnel said it was about the principle more than the money.

Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa was eventually convicted of raping Susan Burdett but two juries failed to reach a decision about whether he was involved in her murder.

A stay of prosecution was imposed in that case, but earlier this year the Solicitor-General agreed to apply to the High Court to have Rewa re-tried for Susan Burdett's murder.

The move to try Malcolm Rewa for a third time for murder has been described by legal experts as unprecedented and legally complex.

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