Charge dropped against murderer's lawyer

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 13:53 15/07/2013
Lawyer Davina Murray
John Selkirk
DENIES CHARGES: Lawyer Davina Murray
Liam Reid
KILLER: Liam Reid is serving one of NZ's heaviest sentences for rape and murder.

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A defence lawyer accused of smuggling contraband to a convicted murderer and rapist has had one of the charges against her dropped today.

Davina Murray, a former Maori Party candidate, is defending herself in relation to her dealings with Liam Reid, who is serving one of New Zealand's longest sentences for the 2007 rape and murder of deaf Christchurch woman Emma Agnew and the rape and attempted murder of a Dunedin student a few days later.

Murray has been charged with smuggling contraband tobacco and an iPhone to Reid during one of her many visits to the rapist.

She was also charged with having communications with Reid that endangered the safety of another prisoner.

The latter charge was dropped at the Auckland District Court today where Murray is facing a judge-alone defended hearing before Judge Russell Collins.

The charge was dropped as it had been laid outside of the six month time frame from when the alleged offence occurred.

De-registered criminal lawyer Barry Hart is assisting his former junior staff member in court in the form of a 'McKenzie friend'.

He is able to write notes and offer her advice after being struck off the Law Society's Register for overcharging a family by $20,000 for his services, plus other charges.

Murray is arguing the monitoring of 22 phone calls between herself and Reid while he was in prison were illegal under the Corrections Act.

Those involved in the monitoring were at risk of being jailed for two years, she said. ''We're in difficult grounds, this is not a straight forward application to be making.''

But crown prosecutor Anna Longdill said there was no breach because the law did not apply to monitoring prisoners' calls.

Before the hearing Murray said she planned to argue that she was still Reid's lawyer in his appeal against his murder conviction and she could not be stopped from seeing him for that.

Murray earlier said that the Corrections Department suspected her of having an intimate relationship with Reid.

The defended hearing continues.

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