20 Feb 2009

Father of slain man relieved Rex Haig denied payout

8:19 am on 20 February 2009

The father of a fisherman killed off the West Coast in 1994 says he is relieved that Rex Haig, whose murder conviction was quashed, will not receive compensation.

Mr Haig served nearly 10 years in prison for the 1994 murder of crewman Mark Roderique on his fishing vessel.

The Court of Appeal quashed his conviction in 2006 and Mr Haig filed a compensation claim for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

Justice Minister Simon Power said on Thursday that the Government had declined an application for compensation.

Mark Roderique's father, Tom, says it is a big relief that Mr Haig did not get anything. He says the continuing publicity is taking a toll.

"Its just an ongoing thing now - every month or two it pops up on the TV. It gets to you after a while but its just something you've got to put up with."

Mr Haig, meanwhile, says he is worn out by the proceedings and is happy to end his quest for compensation, but will leave it up to his legal team to decide on an appeal.

His lawyer Jonathan Eaton said his legal team will look at whether there are any options for appeal.

Mr Eaton says Ministerial decisions can be subject to judicial review.

Justice Minister Simon Power said on Thursday that in order for compensation to be paid, a QC has to be satisfied that, on the balance of probabilities, the person is innocent of the crime.

But, he said, Robert Fisher QC believes it was likely Mr Haig participated in the murder and therefore compensation has been denied.

However, the minister said the QC's findings do not mean Mr Haig can be prosecuted over the crime again.