15 Oct 2013

Teina Pora decision expected soon

10:37 am on 15 October 2013

Teina Pora should know within days if he will be released on parole after spending 20 years in prison for a rape and murder he says he did not commit.

Pora has been convicted twice of raping and murdering Susan Burdett, whose body was found in her South Auckland home in 1992.

Auckland Prison at Pareremomo.

Photo: RNZ

He maintains his innocence, and there have been growing calls for a review of his case.

He and his lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, appeared before the Parole Board in Auckland Prison at Paremoremo on Monday. The board has reserved its decision, which is expected to be released within days.

Mr Krebs told reporters outside the maximum security prison that Pora was anxious, but looking forward to some form of freedom. He said the board has a lot of information to consider and it is right that they take some time.

However, Mr Krebs said regardless of which way the board's decision goes, his bid to take the case to the Privy Council would continue.

"A decision to grant parole - if that's what's made - is simply the decision that Mr Pora will continue to serve his life sentence of imprisonment, but in the community, according to certain rules. But what we are looking to do is to clear his name entirely. We're looking to have his conviction quashed."

His lawyers argue that Pora was convicted because of a false confession and say there was no DNA evidence to link him to the crimes.

Mr Krebs said Pora has now appeared before the Parole Board 14 times and has previously been allowed out on work leave.

The brother of Susan Burdett, Jim Burdett, has written to the Parole Board saying while he believes Pora is innocent, it should release him regardless of whether he committed the crime.

"Guilt or innocence is one thing, his release from prison is another, and the guy's served 20 years and that's long enough."