Police have apologised to Malcolm Rewa's victims over the
length of time it took to catch the serial rapist and prevent
This "unquestionably had a devastating impact on his
victims", Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) has today
released a report that found police failed to properly
investigate a sexual attack on a woman, known as Ms A, in
The police investigation into Ms A's complaint "did not meet
the expectations of policing even at that time", chairman Sir
David Carruthers said.
Failures included not taking a statement from Ms A, who
identified Rewa as the offender, and not attempting to make
any inquiries to corroborate or call into question the alibi
given by Rewa at the time.
Mr Burgess apologised to Ms A, "who police clearly failed at
the time by not properly investigating information she
supplied identifying Rewa''.
"Whilst I consider there was no lack of will amongst those
officers involved at the time to catch the person
responsible, it is clear from this detailed report that more
should have been done in aspects of some of the early
"We accept that and apologise to victims affected by those
But Sir David said even if the complaint was properly
investigated, there was no evidence Rewa would have been
captured any earlier.
"Although some faults have been found by the authority
concerning the series of investigations into offending by
Malcolm Rewa, it is not clear that any of these would have
led to Mr Rewa's arrest, successful prosecution or earlier
identification as the serial sex offender.''
Last year TV3's 3rd Degree programme suggested police
overlooked Rewa's involvement in six incidents, including
three sexual assaults, at addresses in London St, Ponsonby.
But Sir David said Rewa operated across a number of police
districts and there was no sharing of information between the
districts at the time.
"Police work at this time was primarily paper-based and it is
unlikely that traditional methods of policing could have
uncovered the operation of a serial sex offender, across
Today, policing of sexual assault cases was approached in a
different manner with improved education, training and
resources, he said.
He made no recommendations to the police to improve their
Another complaint investigated by the IPCA was that police
withheld information from Teina Pora's defence team during
his first trial for Ms Burdett's murder.
Sir David said there was no evidence that happened.
Ms A was the first known victim in a string of 25 attacks by
Rewa during a nine-year period.
Ms Burdett, an Auckland accountant, was raped and murdered in
her Papatoetoe home in 1992. Pora, then aged 17, was
convicted of her murder in 1994.
He was found guilty again at a retrial in 2000, which was
ordered after the semen in Ms Burdett's body was found to
belong to Rewa.
Pora's case will go to the Privy Council.
Susan Burdett's brother Jim said he would take time to read
the full report thoroughly before deciding whether to make
* 1987: Ms A makes a sexual assault complaint to
* 1987-1996: Years spanning Rewa's offences.
* May 30, 1998: Rewa convicted on multiple sex charges dating
back to 1987.
* July 3, 1998: Sentenced to preventive detention with a
minimum non-parole period of 22 years.
* January 20, 1999: Convicted for the sexual assault on Susan
Burdett and sentenced to 14 years.