18 Mar 2014

Teina Pora to make bail bid

10:36 am on 18 March 2014

The bail hearing for the convicted murderer Teina Pora is underway in Auckland on Tuesday - exactly 21 years since he was jailed for crimes he says he never commited.

Teina Pora at the High Court on Tuesday.

Teina Pora at the High Court on Tuesday. Photo: RNZ / Olivia Wix

Pora will appear in the High Court at Auckland, where his lawyers will ask for bail ahead of their appeal to the Privy Council, which is expected to take place in October or November.

He has twice been found guilty of the rape and murder of Susan Burdett, whose body was discovered in her South Auckland home in 1992. Serial rapist Malcolm Rewa was linked to the case by DNA but there is no DNA evidence linking Pora to the crime - a fact re-confirmed by Environmental and Scientific Research last year.

Pora is serving a life sentence but maintains his innocence. He's not alone: the Labour Party and the Police Association have called for reviews of the case, while Ms Burdett's brother, Jim Burdett, has said he hopes the Privy Council will see how wrong the convictions against Pora are.

Justice Lang will hear the bail application, which follows Pora's bid to the Court of Appeal last Thursday. However, the Court of Appeal declined jurisdiction to hear it, essentially because it does not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal because it can hear bail applications only on cases which are to be heard in the Court of Appeal or the Supreme Court.

Pora's appeal is with neither court; his case will next be heard in the Privy Council, which his lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, believes will be in October or November.

If his bid for bail fails, Pora will get another shot at freedom when he has a parole hearing in two weeks' time.

He was declined parole last October after he admitted breaching home-leave conditions; the breaches included going out without his sponsor and meeting up with a former prison inmate.

Mr Krebs has said he would prefer his client to get bail, rather than parole, because it would place fewer restrictions on him.