Disgraced lawyer in tears at appeal

23:25, Feb 23 2014
Davina Murray
DAVINA MURRAY: Found guilty of smuggling an iPhone and tobacco to a rapist and murderer.

Disgraced former lawyer Davina Murray, who admitted smuggling contraband to convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid broke down in the High Court this morning.

Murray was sentenced in the Auckland District Court in October to 50 hours' community work and Judge Russell Collins refused a discharge without conviction.

She appeared in the High Court in Auckland today appealing that decision and struggled through tears at the end of her submissions.

"I've never expressed remorse and the truth of the matter is that I didn't really have any initially," Murray said.

"The lack of remorse hasn't been because I'm some arrogant criminal smuggler - my history says I'm not."

It was her continuing faith in Reid's innocence that stopped her apologising, she said.

Since the case had been in the public eye, Murray said she had had stones thrown at her in public and been insulted by strangers; all of which could have been avoided with an early guilty plea.

It was her belief in justice which stopped her from doing that, she submitted.

Murray had highlighted 17 grounds for appeal, but said she would address it more broadly.

"Judge [Russell] Collins convicted me on moral grounds but they weren't ethical," she told Justice Geoffrey Venning.

"I pride myself on my ethics, sir."

Murray was found guilty in August last year of smuggling an iPhone and tobacco to Reid, a client she said she had fallen in love with and planned to marry.

Reid, 41, is serving a 26-year minimum non-parole life sentence 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 denied the smuggling from the outset, but changed her plea in August.

She told Justice Venning this morning her lawyer, Peter Williams, QC, had acted outside his brief while representing her.

"Mr Williams advised I should write an affidavit saying Liam Reid manipulated me. I declined to do that," Murray said.

She continually took aim at Judge Collins and said he did not take into account an affidavit from Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia or a job offer from then broadcaster John Tamihere.

"The contribution I can make to society without a conviction is substantial," Murray told the court.

A defended hearing in July revealed the lawyer's feelings for the rapist through text messages to a friend.

"He makes me laugh. He makes me cry. He makes me feel beautiful. I love him like I have never loved anyone before. If he doesn't get out do I just shrug my shoulders and say, 'oh well'?"

She later texted: "He's the best kisser I've ever kissed" and he was "seriously the best - it's like he just gets me."

However, phone calls between Murray and Reid showed a different side to their relationship.

In one exchange, the prisoner tells her to "f...... toughen up" and on another occasion he threatens to "smash" her.

Justice Venning reserved his decision.