22 Nov 2017

Crown seeks third murder trial for Malcolm Rewa

3:51 pm on 22 November 2017

The Crown will seek to have serial rapist Malcolm Rewa tried for the murder of Susan Burdett for the third time.

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Malcolm Rewa Photo: Supplied

The police confirmed to RNZ News this afternoon that the Mankau Crown solicitor has filed documents in the High Court Auckland.

The move will require the High Court to lift a stay of proceedings - believed to be a legal first in New Zealand.

Susan Burdett was found raped and bludgeoned to death in her South Auckland home in 1992.

Rewa's DNA was found at the scene and he was found guilty of Ms Burdett's rape and sexual attacks on 24 other women over more than a decade. He was jailed for 22 years in 1996.

But twice a jury failed to reach a decision on the murder charge and the Solicitor General issued a stay in proceedings.

That effectively brought a halt in any prosecution of Rewa for the murder.

Instead, Teina Pora was wrongfully convicted for her murder.

Mr Pora spent 22 years in prison for crimes he never committed before his convictions were quashed by the Privy Council in 2015.

Since then, there have been calls from Ms Burdett's family and Mr Pora's legal team for Rewa's stay of prosecution to be lifted so he could be tried a third time.

Police confirmed in May they intended to apply to have the stay lifted, after it was reviewed by Solicitor General Una Jagose.

A team of homicide investigators have been working on the case since then, in the event of a third trial going ahead.

Commentary on the case has been wide-ranging.

When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was Labour's justice spokesperson last year, she said Rewa's case needed to be re-examined.

She said the Privy Council's decision to quash Teina Pora's convictions was enough of a reason to re-open the case.

The legal move to lift the stay of prosecution against Rewa is understood to be unprecedented in New Zealand.

The Criminal Bar Association's president Len Anderson has previously told Radio New Zealand News that a stay of prosecution had never been lifted before.

Timeline of the Susan Burdett case

  • 1987 - A woman accuses Malcolm Rewa of rape and gives his name and description to police.
  • 23 March 1992 - Susan Burdett raped and murdered in her South Auckland home.
  • 25 March 1992 - Ms Burdett's body discovered in her bedroom, bludgeoned to death.
  • 18 March 1993 - Teina Pora arrested for interfering with cars and during an interview with police he mentions the Burdett case and that he knew who was responsible.
  • 23 March 1993 - A year to the day of Ms Burdett's death, Pora is charged with Ms Burdett's murder, rape and aggravated robbery.
  • 15 Jun, 1994 - Pora found guilty.
  • May 1996 - Malcolm Rewa charged with multiple rapes.
  • 7 December 1998 - Rewa's second High Court trial. He's convicted of raping 27 women, including Ms Burdett. A jury cannot decide if he is responsible for her murder.
  • 24 December 1998 - The Solictor General decides not to retry Rewa for the murder of Ms Burdett and issues a stay of prosecution.
  • 20 January 1999 - Rewa sentenced to 14 years in prison for the rape of Ms Burdett.
  • 3 March 2015 - Pora's convictions quashed.
  • 30 June 2016 - Police Commissioner Mike Bush says he believes Rewa is guilty of Ms Burdett's murder.
  • 16 May 2017 - The Solicitor General agrees to make an application to the High Court to re-try Rewa.
  • 22 November 2017 - The Crown moves to lift a stay of proceedings, clearing the way for a third trial of Rewa.

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