Decision reserved on Pora bail

Teina Pora

A High Court judge has reserved his decision on whether twice-convicted murderer and rapist Teina Pora will be granted bail.

Pora, 38, has spent 21 years behind bars for the 1992 rape and murder Susan Burdett in Auckland.

He was present in the High Court at Auckland today as his lawyer Jonathan Krebs argued for his release ahead of his Privy Council appeal.

After hearing from Mr Krebs and Crown lawyer Matthew Downs, Justice Lang reserved his decision.

Legislation means all discussion today is suppressed.

Last week the Court of Appeal ruled it didn't have jurisdiction to grant bail and referred the matter back to the High Court.

Mr Krebs has said pursuing bail for Pora, who also has a parole hearing set for the end of the month, was important as a successful result would enable him to be free of conditions set on his sentence.

At his first trial in 1994, Pora was found guilty of the murder of Ms Burdett, who was beaten with a softball bat in the bedroom of her south Auckland home in 1992.

Pora had confessed to police but a retrial was ordered as doubts began to emerge about his involvement.

However at the retrial in 2000, Pora was again found guilty.

Outside court Mr Krebs said today's hearing was "fair and thorough".

It took place 21 years to the day since Pora was taken into custody.

"It hadn't occurred to him that it was 21 years since he went to the police station," Mr Krebs said.

"We reflected on that and saw the irony to a degree of today being the day that we made a bail application."

Mr Krebs described Pora as "robust" and grateful for his support.

"He's had so many knocks over the years. He's a very philosophical young man. He accepts advice and he's hopeful that soon he'll be out in the community."

Pora and Mr Krebs hadn't discussed the "mechanics" of what would happen today and whether Pora would walk out of court a free man.

Two points the court would have to weigh up were if it had jurisdiction to consider bail and the merits of the appeal, Mr Krebs said.

"The biggest issue for us is focussing on October or November when we're before the Privy Council."

For now, Pora faces a nervous wait. Justice Lang indicated his decision would be out before the end of next week.

On the following Monday, Pora will appear before the Parole Board.

 

- By Jimmy Ellingham of APNZ

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