A businessman who believes Mark Lundy did not murder his wife and child is about to put up a hefty reward for information leading to his release.
Geoff Levick, a horse breeder and former chemical company director from Kumeu in West Auckland, has spent three years investigating the case and is convinced Lundy is innocent.
He said he had almost finished a book on the case and had given a draft appeal to Victoria University's Innocence Project, which had referred it to barristers for review.
Lundy's wife, Christine, 38, anddaughter, Amber, 7, were killed with an axe at their Palmerston North home on August 29, 2000. The jury that found Lundy guilty in 2002 heard 160 witnesses in the six-week trial and deliberated for seven hours.
The Court of Appeal later threw out Lundy's appeal and increased his non-parole term from 17 years to 20 saying the evidence suggested Lundy planned his wife's killing carefully.
Levick is one of about half a dozen supporters working to prove Lundy's innocence. He said the case was "enormously complex" and it could take a couple of years for another appeal to be heard, "so we thought we might try something different".
He said he had the resources to put up a reward of more than $100,000, but had yet to settle on the amount. "I'm not yet ready to announce how much the reward will be, I have to get it past my missus for a start."
Levick said years of studying transcripts and statements and his own inquiries had led him to believe that a P-addict connected to a businessman Lundy owed money to had been sent to the Lundy home to "teach him a lesson" and that matters "got out of hand".
Levick became interested in the case because he had travelled between Petone and Palmerston North the route the Crown alleges Lundy travelled on the night of the murders hundreds of times on business.
"They [the Crown] said he went up in one hour and 20 and southbound in 53 minutes. That's six minutes faster than V8 supercars do the same distance on the track at Pukekohe."
Levick said there was a lack of public sympathy for Lundy, partly because he had admitted to sleeping with a prostitute as part of his alibi, and also the over-the-top way he behaved at his wife and daughter's funeral.
"Everyone says his behaviour at the funeral was an absolute disgrace. I've discussed it with Mark, he says he was ashamed and embarrassed when he saw the TV footage. He said he just can't remember, it's just a blur."
He said Lundy had been studying psychology in Manawatu prison but had recently had his laptop confiscated by prison authorities for using it to write letters, even though his "contract" with the prison did not prohibit letter writing.
The officer who led the inquiry, Detective Sergeant Ross Grantham, said he was satisfied police got the right man.
"I have nothing against these people [Levick and Lundy's supporters] but it was a thorough and professional police investigation," Ross said.
"All the evidence was put before the court and the jury found him guilty."
Meanwhile, a former High Court judge who believes 20 people may be in jail wrongly says an independent tribunal to investigate such cases is unlikely.
Nearly two years ago Sir Thomas Thorp recommended a specialist tribunal be set up to investigate miscarriages of justice, but it has not happened.
He said New Zealand's review systems were insufficient and he believed there were more miscarriages of justice than acknowledged.
- Sunday Star Times