Innocent man jailed, says lawyer, family
Sun, 02 Sep 2012 6:05p.m.
By Paula Penfold
A 60 Minutes investigation to screen tonight suggests a man has been wrongfully imprisoned for 19 years for a murder he didn't commit.
Teina Pora was arrested in 1993 for the rape and murder of Papatoetoe woman Susan Burdett.
But now an application to try to prove his innocence is about to go to the Governor General.
For a year after 39-year-old Susan Burdett was raped and murdered in her own home, police had no idea who had done it.
But then, in March 1993, Otara teenager Teina Pora told police he had driven the offenders to the scene and watched them commit the crime.
He was charged with her rape and murder and found guilty at two trials.
But now, lawyer Jonathan Krebs says serious flaws in Pora's confession form the basis of an application to the Governor General for the conviction to be quashed.
Mr Krebs and other experts believe Pora's story of being on the scene isn't true.
“My heart goes out to the Burdett family,” says Mr Krebs. “Not only have they lost a loved one, but now, more than 20 years after the death of Susan, they are having to relive some of what they've been through.
“But all of that I suggest, without any disrespect to anyone, pales into insignificance compared to the angst that may in fact be shown to have occurred if it's proved an innocent man has been in custody for the past 19 years for something he didn't do.”
The only DNA found at the scene belonged to one man, serial rapist Malcolm Rewa, who is currently in prison for sexual attacks on 27 women, including Susan Burdett. He was also tried twice for Ms Burdett's murder but both times the jury couldn't reach a verdict.
But now her brother, Jim, has a theory as to what really happened. He believes his "stroppy" sister would have stood up to Rewa with a baseball bat she kept to ward off intruders.
“I suspect that's why Malcolm Rewa killed her, having never killed his rape victims before,” says Jim Burdett. “She hit Malcolm and he took the bat off her and maybe he was very pissed off with her for her having a go at him and that was it.”
Nearly 20 years on, Mr Burdett says his anger has dissipated but he now wants the truth to come out.
“She was an ordinary, single woman, 39 years old as I recall, living a life she enjoyed and some prick came along and beat her to death,” says the victim’s brother. “That was it – wrong place, wrong time.”
Teina Pora's new legal team will seek a retrial or a pardon when they lodge their formal application.
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4/09/2012 11:09:21 a.m.
Regular person wrote:
What this man did was stupid, but if the police had done there job properly they would of picked up that he was lying, but maybe they just wanted the case to be over so they just went along with it. I find that NZ Police make mistakes a little too often these days, putting an innocent man in jail for 19 years and thinking that maybe just maybe one day the real truth would come out, it just makes me think that the police just like to cover there own tracks without a thought what so ever into the consequences it would make later on in a persons life, Teina was a teenager, and we have all been teenagers and we know what its like to want to be something we know we are not...but 19 years is not only a very harsh sentence for a teenager but now it all has to come out in the open once again...what about the victims family? to relive all the horrid facts of what happened to this poor woman after almost 20 years must be devastating, to me i think that our justice system is a joke...DO YOUR JOB PROPERLY NZP....then we
3/09/2012 3:53:47 p.m.
Best of luck to you Teina. Some people don't understand how someone can go to jail for something they didn't do, but it happens more often than they realize.
3/09/2012 7:59:59 a.m.
Real Life wrote:
Tana was a wounderfull dad that tryed his best to get on track ..and if anyone knew what Otahuhu police was at like back then as far a they were bothered once they made there mind up they didn't look any were else... Five days locked up no lawyer and police pounding you no stop and saying that there is a rteward think about it ERM... There are sicker people running around in NZ cause of Police not doing there Job Right only have to Look at archive to see this. Its only now that DNA is able to help Police and that there are those that still belive in truth will preva that prevaill... Just look at that cop down in southland that had a innocent man put away last year he was set free after 2-3 years locked UP.Police refuse to have all statements and any info that can have Teina proven Innocent released...I hope You never find Your self on any one You care about ERM in such a Place ...May you need a cheeck in Life Not all is sunshine and spend the day smelling roses...Child abuse was real and there was no protecting kids they were to be seen when wanted and that was it.. Kids got put away while adults like Rewa walked Free...All The Best Teina take care you deserve to have Your Freedom... Hope You enjoy beening a Gran dad Cauce You were a Good Dad if only she knew.....Sorry if Spelling anit right didn't go to school thanks SIPS....
3/09/2012 7:33:12 a.m.
We don't know what was going through Teina's head at the time. Was he forced to confess by others? I wouldn't be too quick to criticise given we don't know the facts. Let's wait and see shall we?
2/09/2012 10:32:50 p.m.
So by lying this idiot has wasted police time, caused distress to the family, and let the real culprit get away with it. He should serve additional time - and certainly not get compensation. @Dan - he brought it entirely on himself - no sympathy from me.
2/09/2012 9:22:35 p.m.
One does wonder what on earth made him give a false confession.
2/09/2012 8:33:56 p.m.
This is exactly why we should never reintroduce the death penalty for murder. At least this guy will be released and receive compensation for this harrowing experience.
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