Teina Pora's case strengthened: lawyer

Last updated 16:16 19/03/2014

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Convicted murderer Teina Pora has been diagnosed with a condition on the foetal alcohol spectrum - a new revelation that has cast further doubt on his confession, the High Court has heard.

Pora, convicted in 1994 for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in her South Auckland home, yesterday applied for bail while he waits for his case to be heard by the Privy Council.

Pora's lawyer, Jonathan Krebs, told the High Court in Auckland his client had a strong appeal case.

His conviction was based largely on his confession which a psychologist and a psychiatrist had now thrown into doubt by diagnosing him with a condition on the foetal alcohol spectrum.

The confession was "so demonstrably unreliable" that the jury should not have seen it, Krebs said.

Pora has twice been found guilty of Burdett's murder, but the Privy Council has granted leave to appeal against his convictions in a case that will be heard over three days in London this year.

Krebs said the Privy Council would also consider that serial rapist Malcolm Rewa had subsequently been convicted of raping Burdett. However, Rewa's erectile dysfunction - which Pora's second trial did not hear about - made it unlikely that he would have taken a second person with him to commit his crimes.

The Crown successfully contended at Pora's second trial that he must have accompanied Rewa when Burdett was attacked, despite Pora being much younger and belonging to a rival gang.

Krebs said Pora was taken into custody exactly 21 years before yesterday's hearing, on March 18, 1993, and he had spent more than half his life in prison.

Justice Graham Lang reserved his decision on bail to next week.

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- Fairfax Media

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