Tim Walker’s Judicious II

Teina Pora’s claim for compensation – after spending over 21 years in one of New Zealand’s most notorious maximum security prisons for a crime he most assuredly did not commit – has been accepted and will be settled in full in the coming days.

Pora was imprisoned in 1994 for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett – the same woman for whom, incidentally, Malcolm Rewa had previously been imprisoned for raping, but not for murdering.

Back in ’94, I recall at the time of Miss Burdett’s murder New Zealand Police suddenly found themselves under immense public pressure to locate and to convict the perpetrator behind this egregious act, but because all they could get Rewa on was a rape charge, Police simply selected a local drop-kick who was already a known petty criminal and coerced a murder confession out of him…

22 years later the above is a fact that, although widely accepted by anybody who cared to follow Teina Pora’s case from the beginning, the New Zealand Police Force now choose to dismiss as simply ‘an awkward situation’ with ‘no winners at the end of the day’; even going so far though as to commend themselves on some ‘good police work’ for managing to incarcerate not one but two men in Susan Burdett’s name.

…Given that Teina Pora suffers Foetal Alcohol Syndrome thus functions with the mental capacity of a child, the then 17-year-old’s testimony was never legally admissible in court anyway.

Mr Pora’s lawyer is unhappy with the more than $2.5 million compensation payout she secured for her client claiming, she ‘was asking for eight’ because ‘that’s what my client deserves’.

Teina Pora himself however, is just happy to have an apology.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by O Var Zillus

Photography by P O Leese




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