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John Banks: Pora case 'travesty of justice'

Tuesday 6 Aug 2013 5:21 p.m.

John Banks was a hard-line Police Minister. He was in charge when Teina Pora was charged with murder, and at the time Mr Banks was convinced he was guilty.

But he's changed his tune today.

"I believe Teina Pora wasn't at the place at the time, on all the evidence I've now got, and didn't commit this crime," says Mr Banks.

Mr Banks has now joined with the Police Association, the Maori Party, and the Opposition raising concerns.

"I had no concerns about how police handled the case at the time, but I have concerns about talking to police since that," says Mr Banks. "A travesty of justice on a great scale has occurred."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters thinks Pora is innocent, and the Prime Minister also has questions.

"I suppose I'm inquisitive to them because it's highly unusual for the Police Association to make the moves they did on Saturday," says John Key.

"I'm inquisitive about doing the right thing," says Justice Minister Judith Collins.

Ms Collins says that means leaving the matter to the courts or the Independent Police Conduct Authority. She does not want a full-scale inquiry into concerns raised about police's actions.

"I'm not denying an inquiry," she says.

"I think she is doing everything she can to avoid having to get an inquiry underway because she would have to take responsibility for the outcome," says Labour justice spokesman Andrew Little.

Mr Banks is of course a vital Government partner, and agrees with Ms Collins the matter should be left to the courts. But Mr Banks' opinion, especially given he was the Police Minister at the time, adds more pressure to free Pora.  

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