Parole Board denies 'gag' on Teina Pora

The Parole Board says Teina Pora made the decision not to talk to the media. Photo: NZ Herald/Sarah Ivey
The Parole Board says Teina Pora made the decision not to talk to the media. Photo: NZ Herald/Sarah Ivey
The Parole Board has moved to clarify Teina Pora's parole conditions after a Sunday Star-Times article said he had been "gagged".

Pora was convicted of the murder and rape of Susan Burdett 21 years ago. He says he has been in prison for a crime he did not commit. He was granted parole in March and released from prison in April.

He will appeal against the conviction at the Privy Council in London on November 4 and 5.

One of The Parole Board imposed conditions that Pora must abide to is to not have any direct or indirect contact with the media.

The Sunday Star-Times article by 3rd Degree journalists Eugene Bingham and Paula Penfold, who have followed Pora's case to the Parole Board closely, said Pora's right to freedom of expression was being denied as long as the Parole Board decision stood.

The Parole Board sent out two tweets on the subject this morning.

The tweets said "#TeinaPora himself told the Board that he did not want to speak to media but wanted to live "a normal life with his family.""

"#TeinaPora his sponsors, lawyer& employer wanted a condition that supported reintergration without media intrusion".

The board's chairman Warwick Gendall QC said in a statement that clarification on Pora's parole conditions had been sought.

"The board's stance is one of openness and transparency as much as it can, and clarification on how the condition for preventing Mr Pora from speaking to the media was sought."

The decision of the board on the conditions of Pora's release said, "We have been particularly concerned about external issues and pressures that would fall upon Mr Pora by reason of media exposure and interest. It is clearly the case, as identified by Community Probation, that this has the potential to negatively impact upon his reintegration needs.

"There are frequent references in the material before us that note that Mr Pora is not able to withstand media and publicity which would inhibit his successful reintegration."

The board said in the decision that Pora's lawyer and he himself had agreed with the condition not to speak with media.

- Sophie Ryan of APNZ

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