Twice convicted murderer and rapist Teina Pora pumped the
air with his fist on being told he would be able to appeal
against his convictions to the Privy Council in London.
Pora, who has spent more than 20 years behind bars for the
1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett in Auckland, filed the
application in August through his lawyer Jonathan Krebs.
Mr Krebs told APNZ he found out the appeal had been allowed
early on Wednesday morning but because the news was embargoed
he was unable to tell Pora until this morning.
"He was absolutely ecstatic," Mr Krebs said. "He's waited a
long time. He did the natural reaction of pumping the air
with his fist and said it was awesome and said thank you."
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council announced
overnight that the appeal would be heard during the Northern
Hemisphere autumn with the precise dates to be confirmed.
Its statement said the committee had to decide whether it
should admit and consider fresh evidence raised by the
appellant, and whether a substantial miscarriage of justice
was caused by the failure of the appellant's counsel to raise
material points at trial and/or in the Court of Appeal.
Mr Krebs said the Privy Council had indicated the hearing
would be held in October but he would be applying for it to
happen sooner, "simply for the fact that Teina's been in
custody for so long".
Pora's legal team raised five grounds for appeal, said Mr
Krebs, who is working on the case for free.
Two were accepted - one relating to the safety of Pora's
confession and the other around a specific piece of evidence
relating to serial rapist Malcolm Rewa.
"The confession was central to the prosecution case but we
believe it was a false confession and all of the
circumstances of the confession - the way it was obtained and
special features relating to Teina - are all grounds which go
to our argument.
"The second ground is a very narrow point relating to a
feature of Malcolm Rewa's offending. Malcolm Rewa has been
convicted of raping Susan Burdett but the evidence we want
the Privy Council to consider was not allowed to be given at
Teina's trial. It is evidence that suggests it was unlikely
that Rewa would ever have had a second person present."
One of the grounds for appeal turned down by the Privy
Council also related to Rewa, another related to a pair of
ear-rings and a third related to the relationship between a
couple of gangs. The two grounds that were accepted were the
most important, Mr Krebs said.
Pora was convicted in June 1994 as a party to the rape and
murder of Ms Burdett on the basis of confessions.
In 1995, DNA evidence linked the attack on Ms Burdett to Mr
Rewa. Mr Rewa was eventually convicted of the rape of 27
women, including Ms Burdett.
In 1999, the Court of Appeal quashed Pora's convictions as a
result of the DNA evidence implicating Mr Rewa and evidence
that Mr Rewa's acted alone.
The appellant was convicted again at his retrial in 2000 and
his appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.
The Privy Council said the judgment would almost certainly be
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