The police watchdog has rejected a suggestion that public
criticism from the Government prompted its u-turn over an
inquiry into the handling of complaints about serial rapist
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) today
announced it would hold an investigation into whether Rewa
could have been caught earlier. Just 24 hours ago the IPCA
said such a move was "unwarranted".
The shift in stance came after Justice Minister Judith
Collins yesterday wrote to the authority asking why it had
declined to investigate a complaint from one of Rewa's
IPCA chairman Sir David Carruthers said the authority had
reflected on new information raised over the past few days,
and had independently decided an investigation was warranted.
It was not uncommon for the authority to change its mind if
it received extra information, he said.
"In fact we'd be very foolish if we didn't."
Sir David said new information came from "various" sources,
including police and TV3's 3rd Degree.
The programme reported on Wednesday that police failed to
check the alibi given by Rewa after he attacked a 19-year-old
The woman victim, who featured in Wednesday's programme, was
the first of 25 known victims of Rewa during a nine-year
This afternoon a second woman attacked by Rewa, this time in
1994, said she did not believe police had handled her case
"I came away thinking I'd done something wrong."
The woman, known only as Hillary, told RadioLive police said
they would not prosecute Rewa for attacking her because he
was going away for life anyway.
"At the time I thought 'okay, fine, I don't want to keep
She came forward after watching 3rd Degree on Wednesday and
becoming angry that people were hurt after Rewa was "left to
prowl the streets".
Ms Collins agreed with Sir David that her letter did not
bring about the IPCA's change of heart.
"They have since received new information, and that new
information has given them the ability to undertake the
Sir David said the investigation team would include non-New
Zealanders and people with experience of rape and sexual
He was still choosing the team members so did not have a
timeframe on when the investigation would be completed.
"But we'll be getting onto this and doing it as quickly as we
The latest developments follow mounting concern about the
safety of the conviction of Teina Pora for Auckland
accountant Susan Burdett's rape and murder when Pora was aged
Pora was convicted in 1994 and again at a retrial in 2000
that was ordered after the semen in Ms Burdett's body was
found to belong to Rewa.
Her brother Jim Burdett was sceptical about the extent of the
new IPCA inquiry.
"[The IPCA] have already refused to investigate it, so the
question is, how thoroughly are they going to do it when
they're acting against their previous decision?"
Pora's lawyers this week filed an application with the Privy
Council for leave to further appeal those convictions.
Sir David said the IPCA inquiry would "not consider matters
in relation to Teina Pora that are currently before the
Acting Commissioner Viv Rickard said police recognised the
courage of Rewa's victims who had spoken out.
"These victims have raised serious concerns about aspects of
the police investigation, and we therefore welcome the
opportunity for these allegations to be independently