Pora pardon 'would help Bain case'

Greg Newbold
Greg Newbold
David Bain's compensation bid is one of three before the Justice Minister, who also has the power to intervene in the dozen royal prerogative of mercy applications, including that of Teina Pora, a criminologist says.

Justice Minister Judith Collins has released to the Otago Daily Times details of the applications, but declined to comment on individual cases.

Canterbury University criminologist Dr Greg Newbold said Arthur Allan Thomas had applied for a royal prerogative of mercy after exhausting his appeal rights. The royal prerogative of mercy provides an avenue for reopening criminal cases in which a person may have been wrongly convicted or sentenced.

The case of Teina Pora, who was convicted of the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1994 and again found guilty at a retrial in 2000, had attracted media interest and left ''politicians ducking for cover'', Dr Newbold said.

However, in the case of Mr Thomas, ''the prime minister [Robert Muldoon] himself came on board and got it done''.

''Politicians, despite saying they don't have the power, have the power. They can, they have, and they should intervene in cases where it is clear injustices have taken place ...the minister could do it, anyone with guts could do it.''

If Pora was pardoned, it would provide ammunition for Mr Bain's compensation claims, given he had been acquitted by a jury, he said.

Mr Bain's application is on hold while judicial proceedings are before the court.

The Justice Minister's office confirmed the nature of other cases, and the dates those applications were received. However, two names have been withheld to protect individual identities.

Those cases are:

• Threatening to kill and attempting to pervert the course of justice (April 2007).

• Breaching protection order (September 2012).

The Ministry of Justice says there is no legal right to compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. But the Government at its discretion could make an ex gratia payment.

Twelve royal prerogative of mercy applications are under consideration, with three names withheld because of suppression orders. The Governor-General, as the Queen's representative, will act on the advice of the Minister of Justice, and has the power to grant a pardon, reduce a sentence, or refer a case back to the courts for reconsideration.

The applicants' names and convictions and the dates the application was received are: 

• Name withheld: Sexual violation, April 2010.

• James Gedson: Aviation manslaughter, May 2010.

• Mark Flyger: Fraud, November 2010.

• Gary Isherwood: Sexual violation, July 2011.

• Teina Pora: Murder, sexual violation, September 2011.

• Name withheld: Sexual offences, February 2012.

• Ricardo Aryan: Sexual offences, August 2012.

• James Toia: Assaulting female, July 2012.

• Jule Burns: Murder, July 2012.

• Ronald van Wakeren: Burglary, fraud, October 2012.

• Name withheld: Sexual violation, December 2012.

• Austin Parkinson: Sexual offences, March 2013

-hamish.mcneilly@odt.co.nz

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