Crown to appeal Teina Pora compensation ruling
The Crown will file a notice of appeal against a decision to adjust Teina Pora's compensation package to allow for inflation after he was wrongly convicted of murder.
Tim McKinnel, a former police officer who helped clear Pora's name confirmed on Monday afternoon the Crown had indicated they would appeal.
"We are bitterly disappointed. Teina has had to fight for justice for 25-years," he said.
The Crown have advised they intend to appeal the high court decision regarding Teina Pora's compensation. Teina is sad and disappointed.— Tim McKinnel (@timmckinnel) September 25, 2017
In a High Court decision released on August 29, Justice Rebecca Ellis said Pora's compensation package should be reconsidered for inflation.
Ellis said errors were made during the decision making process when initially awarding the compensation. But the judge stopped short of saying the Cabinet's decision on Pora's compensation package should be quashed.
The real error was not in the decision, but in the advice it was based on, she said.
However, on Monday the Crown indicated to Pora's camp they would file an appeal. McKinnel believed this was done to keep the option of an appeal alive while the caretaker government is in place.
The appeal deadline was due to expire on Tuesday.
"Justice Ellis' decision was a powerful one. For Teina to again have to fight is incredibly disappointing."
"Teina is disappointed, he thought it was over. We were hoping for the best, but we should have known better than that after spending the last 10 years having to fight the Crown and government," McKinnel said.
McKinnel said that Labour had indicated if they were voted into government they would not appeal the decision.
The Government accepted that he was probably innocent and awarded him just over $2.5m compensation.
Pora spent 22 years and 11 months in custody, either awaiting trial or as a sentenced prisoner.
The Government decided against inflation-adjusting his compensation, despite a recommendation to do so from a retired High Court judge who assessed his claim.
Justice Minister Amy Adams said she had informed Pora's legal counsel that although Cabinet has not made any final decision as to how to respond to the High Court decision, Cabinet has today agreed to file a "placeholder" notice of appeal in respect of the inflation adjustment.
"Cabinet conventions dictate that at this time we hold the status of a caretaker government and as such taking any substantive decisions would be inappropriate. It would therefore not be appropriate for a caretaker government to make any final decision on this matter at this time," she said.
"Filing the notice of appeal means that all courses of action are preserved for an incoming government allowing any new government to fully consider the Crown's legal advice and the implications of each option before proceeding.
"If the incoming government does not wish to appeal, the notice can be easily withdrawn. However, because the time to file the appeal expires on 26 September this decision had to be taken today."
Labour's Justice spokesman Andrew Little said Adams called him on Monday afternoon to advise him of the decision to keep the appeal process in a holding pattern.
While he believed Pora should be awarded the increase, he said he "respected" Adams not making a significant decision while a caretaker minister.