5 Jun 2009

Man wins retrial over destruction of church

10:35 pm on 5 June 2009

A man convicted of burning down one of New Zealand's oldest churches has won another retrial in a decision by the Court of Appeal.

The court ruled Francis Shaw's conviction for arson and his four-year sentence should be quashed.

It ordered a retrial, but only on a charge that he was a party to arson, not the main offender.

The case followed the 1995 destruction of the historic Rangiatea Church, built in Otaki with help from Te Rauparaha.

Mr Shaw's first conviction was also overturned on appeal.

During his first trial, Mr Shaw gave evidence that he had suggested the arson to three fellow inmates while in jail.

They later turned up at his home, and he accompanied them to the church to show them the way, but left as they began preparing the fire.

The three are all now dead.