17 Jul 2013

Lawyer's phone conversations allowed as evidence

7:15 pm on 17 July 2013

A text message sent from an Auckland lawyer's phone on the day she was accused of smuggling contraband into a jail says that she wasn't coping and was terrified, a court has been told.

Davina Murray is charged with providing an i-phone, cigarettes and a lighter to murderer and rapist Liam Reid in Mt Eden prison on 7 October 2011.

Ms Murray is defending herself and trying to get the charges dropped at a hearing at the Auckland District Court. She had argued that evidence of seven phone conversations to be used against her should be ruled inadmissible because it was obtained illegally.

But Judge Russell Collins ruled on Wednesday that the phone conversations are allowed as evidence. He said it appeared that Ms Murray was looking to coat-tail the Corrections Act, which allows client-lawyer privilege and aims to protect prisoners - not lawyers.

Text messages read out to the court from what the Crown says is Davina Murray's phone talk about her only being happy when he is outside the cage - but who he is, isn't clear.

Another message sent on the day she allegedly took in the contraband items says she is not coping and is terrified.

A text sent to an Australian number says that she needed to smuggle two witnesses into jail to witness her wedding.

In phone conversations, Reid in a joking but expletive-ridden tone, threatens Davina Murray and tells her he expects results or he'll "smash" her.

Reid has testified that he and Ms Murray had a strong relationship in which not all discussions were always legal.

Liam Reid is serving a 23-year-sentence for killing Christchurch deaf woman Emma Agnew in 2007 and for the rape and attempted murder of a university student nine days later in Dunedin.

The hearing is set down for the rest of the week.