Disgraced former lawyer
Davina Murray initially held no remorse for smuggling
contraband into prison for convicted murderer and rapist Liam
Reid, who she says was wrongly convicted.
Murray is seeking a discharge without conviction in the High
Court at Auckland today. She represented herself on an appeal
against conviction and her sentence of 50 hours' community
work. She was found guilty last year at a district court
Murray, who had no previous convictions, said she was a
proponent for justice and could do good in society without a
"Sir, I never expressed remorse and the truth of the matter
sir is that I didn't really have any initially," a tearful
Murray told Justice Geoffrey Venning.
"I suppose the reason, sir, I didn't have any was because as
I engaged in the analysis of Mr Reid's file and I saw that he
had been wrongly convicted and then upon the pursuit to get
legal aid for [his appeal] it's taken 2 1/2 years and it was
only awarded two days before I was sentenced."
For her appeal, Murray is citing the contents of psychiatric
reports, which are suppressed.
Murray said she was not manipulated by Reid, as her
sentencing lawyer Peter Williams, QC, said last year, and she
had declined his advice to write an affidavit saying that was
the case. But at the time she smuggled the contraband into Mt
Eden Prison she was not thinking clearly.
Murray visited Reid in jail 80 times over nine months, and
she said: "Seventy-nine times, contraband was not delivered".
She said her sentence was disproportionate compared with
other people who had successfully been granted a discharge on
more serious charges, including lawyer and former Act Party
MP David Garrett.
He used the identity of a dead baby to apply for a passport
and gave a fake address on the application form.
Murray also cited the case of former Serious Fraud Office
prosecutor Anita Killeen, who was also discharged on a
Her trial judge, Russell Collins, was not impartial and
convicted her on "moral grounds", Murray said.
Crown prosecutor Anna Pollett opposed Murray's appeal.
During her trial last year, the court heard that Murray and
Reid's relationship became closer than a normal lawyer-client
one and prison guards seized an iPhone, cigarettes and a
lighter from Reid after he was visited by Murray.
Reid is serving a 23-year sentence for raping and killing
deaf woman Emma Agnew in Christchurch in 2007, and the rape,
attempted murder and robbery of a 21-year-old student in
Dunedin nine days later.
Reid now has two lawyers assigned for his appeal, Murray
She is representing herself at her appeal after Mr Williams
withdrew in November because he is "terminally ill", Murray
told the court today.
Away from court, Mr Williams said he had lived with cancer
for eight years but the illness was not terminal and he was
"feeling very lively".
- By Jimmy Ellingham of