Mark Lundy's successful bid for a retrial is a sign the justice system is working, says Judith Collins.
Mrs Collins, the minister for justice, said the public should not have lost any confidence in the justice system despite the Privy Council quashing Lundy's convictions for the murder of his wife Christine and daughter Amber.
"The Privy Council, in this case, he's appealed to them because he's chosen to go the Privy Council rather than to our Supreme Court, and it's ordered a retrial, and that's where it stands at the moment," she told TVNZ's Q+A yesterday. "So the system is working. He's been granted a retrial, and that will no doubt go ahead."
Mrs Collins said she could not comment on concerns the Privy Council law lords expressed about the case against Lundy.
"I can't really comment on individual cases, particularly a matter which is now before the courts again, so it's difficult to do that. But that's a matter which will no doubt be canvassed during the retrial."
Mrs Collins was asked if innocent people were being left in prison because there was not somebody on the outside to fund and champion their cause and whether this showed a failing in the justice system.
"Half of all people convicted of murder in this country will appeal," Mrs Collins said. "And I don't believe for a moment that half of all the people convicted of murder are not guilty, but half of them will appeal.
"And when you have, in fact, a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment, there is a tremendous advantage in appealing. And of those, only a tiny minority - about one a year - are ever overturned on appeal, and mostly they then end up being charged with manslaughter."
Mrs Collins said the time it had taken for the Lundy case to be heard by the Privy Council was not because of a fault in the system but the time it took for his lawyers to lodge an appeal.
"The time it takes is really a matter for him and his lawyers, and it may be that they wanted more information, and it may well be that there's new evidence.
"And, of course, science, and in particular DNA science, has improved hugely in the last 10 years and particularly so in the last 20 years."
Mrs Collins said she had no doubt a retrial for Lundy would go ahead.
Lundy was released on bail on Friday to a location that is suppressed.
He is not prevented from visiting Palmerston North.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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