20 Apr 2021

Kidnapping convictions quashed after more than 30 years

4:33 pm on 20 April 2021

A man who was once a suspect in the killing of Teresa Cormack has had convictions he received because of that association quashed.

09082016. Photo Rebekah Parsons-King. Pike River families want mine's CEO to face charges. Court of Appeal Wellington.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Today the Court of Appeal cleared Wayne Montaperto of child kidnapping, more than 30 years after he was convicted for it.

In 1988 he had been convicted of the 1986 kidnapping of four children in Flaxmere.

Police's interest in the Flaxmere kidnapping had been reignited because of the 1987 kidnapping and murder of six-year-old Napier schoolgirl Teresa Cormack.

Montaperto was interviewed by police in relation to the crime against Cormack, and emerged as a suspect. He was later arrested and convicted for the Flaxmere kidnapping.

Meanwhile, Cormack's killer Jules Mikus was not arrested until 2002, when advances in DNA technology pointed to him having committed the crime, and he was found guilty.

In 2008, it emerged a juror in Montaperto's 1988 trial for the Flaxmere kidnapping had been told at the time that Montaperto was a suspect in the Cormack case.

The juror had shared that information with other jurors while Montaperto's trial took place, and later disclosed that in his opinion the jury had been influenced by the information.

In 2014, Montaperto applied to the Governor-General for the exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy in respect to those convictions.

He submitted that the jury in his trial had ben told prejudicial information.

The Court of Appeal allowed his appeal, quashed the convictions appealed, and no order for a new trial was made.