Mercy appeal leads to quashed conviction
A man who has served a prison term for assault has had his conviction quashed by the Court of Appeal after an appeal for mercy.
Auckland high school gang member Tyson Redman was 17 when he and a group were said to be part of an assault at a 21st birthday party in 2005 in Mt Roskill.
Redman and five others of the Junior Dominion/Dom Kings were allegedly in a fight involving softball bats and bits of wood where six people were injured.
Redman was found guilty by an Auckland District Court jury on six counts of reckless disregard for the safety of others, injuring with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, wounding and unlawful assembly.
He was sentenced to two years and six months jail, and an appeal to the Court of Appeal was rejected.
In October last year, after an appeal for mercy to then governor-general Sir Anand Satyanand, an order-in-council was passed referring Redman's case back to the Court of Appeal.
A three-judge panel found for Redman and quashed the conviction.
The order noted that new evidence had become available showing that Redman was not present at the incident and that if it was put to the Court of Appeal it could "conclude that a miscarriage of justice may have occurred".
The Court of Appeal heard evidence from eight new witnesses and they were cross-examined. Seven of them were co-offenders who had served their sentences.
In a written ruling, the court said the Crown case against Tyson was not particularly strong.
Two witnesses who had said Tyson was at the scene were "obviously both affected by alcohol and drugs".
Another witness who knew Tyson well was unsure at depositions and at trial whether he had seen Tyson.
Other witnesses said they did not see him.
The Court of Appeal decided that Redman's appeal must be allowed, but it was not satisfied that a judgment of acquittal should be entered.
It decided not to order a new trial.
"Faced with this evidence, a jury might well have a reasonable doubt," the court said.
"Accordingly, the appeal should be allowed and the convictions, apart from that of unlawful assembly, quashed.
"In the ordinary course a new trial would be ordered, but as [Redman] has served his full sentence we do not now order a retrial."