Police 'failed' Susan Burdett
The brother of Susan Burdett, the woman who was raped and murdered in her Papatoetoe home in 1992, said his sister would still be alive had police acted on a complaint by another rape victim.
He has also called has called for a political inquiry into her death.
Jim Burdett told a media conference in Auckland today that he believed Teina Pora, who was convicted of his sister's murder and has spent 21 years in jail, was innocent and that police had failed his sister.
"I want to know why my sister had to die," he said.
"I feel sorry for Teina Pora. I think he got himself tied up in knots . . . I think the only thing Teina Pora is guilty of is stupidity.
"I have lost a sister but I have a very nice pakeha middle-class life and Teina Pora has been in jail all of his life." Burdett said he believed his sister would be alive if police had acted properly and had acted on the first complaint from a woman who said she had been raped by convicted serial rapist Malcolm Rewa.
TV3's 3rd Degree this week revealed the woman, who was attacked in 1987, gave police Rewa's name but when they approached him he claimed to have an alibi. The police did not check out this alibi, TV3 reported.
The victim complained to the Independent Police Conduct Authority but it did not look into the matter.
"Essentially we know that the police apparently made a number of mistakes along the way," Burdett said today.
"They failed to follow up on various matters around Malcolm Rewa's offending they failed in their duty to protect my sister and the other women who were raped.
"I don't say that with any malice because we all fail, we all make mistakes, we are all human.
"What I think is important is that we learn from our mistakes and that requires an investigation of our mistakes."
Burdett, said he was the only one in his family able to speak - his father was dead and his mother and brother were too unwell. He said there had not been a satisfactory investigation of police mistakes but it had instead been left to the media.
"I believe I have have the moral authority to ask there be a commission of inquiry. I believe it would have to be at a political level.
"The police are not prepared to . . . the independent police conduct authority . . . the last stop is the politicians."
Burdett said an inquiry would bring a resolution for him.
"At the time of Teina Pora's arrest there was all this mystery," he said.
"It took me time to let go of the mystery . . . the unsettling fact that I didn't know what happened."
Burdett said he believed Malcolm Rewa was responsible for his sister's death.
"I never believed that Malcolm Rewa would take a 15-year-old with him on one of his invasive rapes. It's laughable to think that anyone could believe that."
Burdett said that for the first time since his sister's death the sequence of events was coming clear.
"For the first time I'm getting a sense that I can finally lay this to rest when this inquiry is over," he said.
"I'm sure there are at least 24 other women . . . perhaps their lives would be a little better, a little lighter because of that as well."
Burdett said his message to Justice Minister Judith Collins was: "Find out what went wrong and follow due process to set it right."
He said Collins could "give me a ring if she wants a chat".
This comes as lawyers for Pora have begun an application to the Privy Council for leave to appeal his convictions.
Once the application is received, the judicial committee of the Privy Council will consider whether Pora would be allowed to argue his appeal, lawyer Jonathan Krebs told Fairfax Media recently.
"If leave is granted, we are hopeful that an appeal can be heard in the early part of 2014," Krebs said.
Pora was twice convicted for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett and has spent 21 years in prison.
Questions have been raised over the convictions and groups including the Police Association have called for an independent inquiry into the case.
Pora's appeal for a pardon has stalled, pending more information, and Collins said recently he was one of 15 people applying for a pardon or compensation, and all cases had to be given the same consideration.
Collins yesterday told Parliament she had asked the Independent Police Conduct Authority to explain why it had not investigated a complaint made to it about the police conduct in the case.
"I've taken the very unusual step of asking if they could provide me, as the minister responsible for them, for the reasons ... as this is a matter that one would normally expect would be passed to the IPCA," she said.
IPCA chairman Sir David Carruthers yesterday said the authority did not take action over the complaint made about police failure to investigate information relating to Rewa because it involved a police investigation related to historical matters that were 20 years old.
"Since that time there have been significant changes to police policy and procedure when dealing with allegations of rape and sexual abuse, including the recent changes that are still being implemented, following the Commission of Inquiry into Police Conduct conducted by Dame Margaret Bazley," he said.
"The Authority therefore decided an inquiry into the way police conducted their investigation 20 years ago was not warranted, particularly in view of the fact that many of the officers involved in the earlier investigations will have left the police force in the intervening period.
"In addition these issues are connected to the conviction of Teina Pora which is likely to be subject to ongoing court proceedings.
"The authority determined it would therefore be inappropriate for action to be taken in such circumstances.
"The authority is currently reflecting on all of the issues that have now been raised relating to this matter."
Prime Minister John Key said earlier this month he was "inquisitive" about claims of a miscarriage of justice relating to Pora's conviction, but said the Government should not intervene.
ACT leader John Banks said that while he had believed Pora was guilty at the time of his conviction, he now believed there had been a miscarriage of justice.
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