The Herald reports:
In an unprecedented move, the Police Association is calling for an independent inquiry into the conviction of Teina Pora, who is now into his 21st year in prison for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett.
President Greg O’Connor told theWeekend Herald that the request was the first in the 16 years he has led the association, which represents rank-and-file police officers, but he believes it is justified on this occasion.
It should not be run by the police but could be a ministerial inquiry conducted by a Queen’s Counsel. “It’s a justice-sector issue. It’s not a police issue. The police can’t walk up to the prison and say, ‘Let him out’.”
Mr O’Connor said there were sufficient issues that raised the prospect that a miscarriage had occurred, and significant disquiet among police.
“This is a case that really does need a review. There are enough experienced police from the time and even from now who are uncomfortable with the fact that Teina Pora is in prison for this crime.”
I think what we need is some sort of Innocence or Miscarriage of Justice Commission that can on its own initiative investigate alleged serious miscarriages of justice, and make recommendations to the Government. That is preferable to having a special request go to the Ministry of Justice each time – who can sometimes be a bit conflicted.
Justice Minister Judith Collins said last night that it would be “completely inappropriate” for her to intervene while Pora’s legal team were preparing an appeal to the Privy Council.
Absolutely there should be no involvement until the appeals are exhausted.