30 Jun 2016

Pora case: Police 'came to the party far too late'

11:01 am on 30 June 2016

A culture change in the police is needed in the wake of the Teina Pora saga, so they can admit when they need to look at cases again, says a law professor.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush

Police Commissioner Mike Bush Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Pora has been awarded $2.5 million for the 21 years he spent in prison after being wrongly convicted of murdering Susan Burdett, who was raped and killed in 1992 in Auckland

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said yesterday he recognised Mr Pora was innocent of the rape and murder of Ms Burdett and believed serial rapist Malcolm Rewa carried out the 1992 attack on his own.

Rewa was found guilty of raping Ms Burdett, but two High Court juries could not decide if he murdered her and the Solicitor-General stayed proceedings.

Mr Bush said Rewa could not be prosecuted again for the crime, as there was no new evidence to support the case.

Law professor Chris Gallavin said Mr Bush had come to the party much too late.

He said the police have had an antagonistic relationship with the defence.

"Their narrative has impeded the conviction of whom we seem to generally recognise now as the cuplrit and the person who killed Susan Burdett."

Mr Gallavin said Mr Bush's latest comments about the Pora case just added insult to injury.

Rewa's lawyer Nigel Cooke said yesterday it was outrageous for Mr Bush to claim Rewa was guilty of Susan Burdett's murder and there was no basis for the statement.