Labour calls for Criminal Cases Review Commission

By Te Ao Māori News

The Labour Party has re-emphasised a call for the establishment of a Criminal Cases Review Commission following the release of the Privy Council’s decision to quash Teina Pora’s convictions for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett.

Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says this “could be the final chapter in a case that should have been closed years ago.”

She says,“Teina Pora has spent more than 20 years in prison, despite overwhelming public evidence that a miscarriage of justice occurred.The decision of the Privy Council to uphold his appeal has come with a hefty price tag not only for all the families involved in this case, but also the justice system.”

Ardern says the length of time and suffering the families of the victim Susan Burdett and Pora endured was completely unneccesary, "Labour has been calling for a Criminal Cases Review Commission - an independent body to deal with claims of wrongful conviction and miscarriage of justice – for several years now.“In countries such as England, Scotland, and Norway commissions act as a safety valve for the justice system, ensuring miscarriages of justice are properly investigated and remedied."

She goes on to say, “In New Zealand it would essentially replace the Royal Prerogative of Mercy process, which is a lengthy and potentially conflicted procedure, leaving the decision to the ministry responsible for administering the justice system. Had a Commission been established here it would have provided a far more streamlined process for Teina Pora’s case."

The call has also been supported by the Dean of the University of Canterbury’s School of Law, Associate Professor Chris Gallavin  who says, "If for no other reason the Government would likely save money through the establishment of such a panel as these high profile defeats are extremely expensive and ultimately damaging to the reputation of our justice system,”