Lawyer fails to overturn smuggling conviction

ROB KIDD
Last updated 15:45 03/03/2014
Lawyer Davina Murray
John Selkirk
DAVINA MURRAY: Smuggled contraband, including an iPhone.
Liam Reid
KILLER: Liam Reid is serving one of NZ's heaviest sentences for rape and murder.

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A bid by disgraced lawyer Davina Murray to overturn her conviction for smuggling contraband to convicted murderer and rapist Liam Reid has failed.

Justice Geoffrey Venning released a ruling today in which he said Murray was clearly aware of her wrongdoing. It was due to "a culmination of an apparently obsessive involvement in Mr Reid's case over a long period of time".

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

She appeared in the High Court in Auckland on February 24 appealing that decision, at times crying as she made her submissions.

Murray told the court she had not previously expressed remorse for the offending because she did not have any initially; and she continued to believe in Reid's innocence.

"That is of concern because it appears that Ms Murray took the view she was justified in breaching the law and the trust of other people because of her view that the system had failed Mr Reid," Justice Venning said.

"Unfortunately Ms Murray apparently lost all objectivity in relation to Mr Reid."

Throughout her defended hearing in the District Court, the former lawyer maintained her denial of the charges and suggested it had all been a conspiracy by Corrections officers.

It was only after the charge had been found proved that she admitted her guilt and wrote an apology to the court.

"I consider the letter to be in somewhat guarded terms and clearly written with a view to pursuing an application for discharge," Justice Venning said.

The evidence against Murray had been "overwhelming" and her offending had correctly been categorised as some of the worst of its kind, he said.

He noted the significant damage to the profession her actions had caused.

Murray's conviction will stand and she will have to complete the 50 hours of community work handed down when she was originally sentenced.

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.

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