Twice-convicted murderer and rapist Teina Pora has been
declined bail by the High Court.
The High Court, in its decision released this afternoon, said
it did not have jurisdiction to grant bail to a prisoner
pending an appeal to the Privy Council.
Pora, 38, has spent 21 years behind bars for the 1992 rape
and murder of Susan Burdett in Auckland.
Earlier this month the Court of Appeal ruled it didn't have
jurisdiction to grant bail and referred the matter back to
the High Court.
Justice Graham Lang said that after considering case law in
New Zealand, England and Australia, the High Court concluded
that at present there was no recognised jurisdiction to grant
bail to a sentenced prisoner pending appeal to the Privy
Council, although that was a position that may need to be
reconsidered in the future.
"It is common ground that Mr Pora does not have a statutory
right to apply for bail pending determination of his appeal
by the Privy Council.
"His position is therefore in marked contrast to that of an
appellant who has appealed against conviction or sentence to
the New Zealand Court of Appeal or Supreme Court.''
The Bail Act permitted anyone who had lodged an appeal to
those courts to be granted bail prior their appeal, however
the act did not contain a similar provision for appeals to
the Privy Council, Justice Lang said.
His application for bail was therefore dismissed.
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.
After Pora's first trial, serial rapist Malcolm Rewa was
convicted of raping Ms Burdett.
His DNA was found at the scene and at Pora's re-trial the
Crown argued the two acted together.
But Pora's lawyer Jonathan Krebs said that ignored the fact
they were associated with rival gangs and that Rewa had an
erectile dysfunction problem.
That the re-trial jury was not told of Rewa's problem was
down to error on the part of Pora's then lawyer, he said.
Pora is due to appear before the Parole Board on Monday and
will face the Privy Council in October or November.
- by Brendan Manning