Brother tells Pora ‘you didn’t do it’

25 May 2015
Taranaki Daily News
Fairfax New Zealand

Teina Pora has met the brother of the woman he was twice convicted of murdering and been told: ‘‘You didn’t do it.’’

Pora, 39, whose conviction for the 1992 murder of Auckland woman Susan Burdett was quashed by the Privy Council, gave his first interview to TV3’s 3D programme last night.

Pora met Jim Burdett, Susan’s brother, and was shown saying to him: ‘‘First and foremost . . . I’d just like to thank you for believing in my innocence.’’

Burdett said he first assumed Pora was guilty but ‘‘I knew it was never the whole story’’.

‘‘The story didn’t make sense. And I know what you mean about justice. You didn’t do it. Somebody did. We need to find out who that is.’’

Pora was convicted of murdering Burdett after the then17-year-old told police he had acted as lookout for two gang members who were the perpetrators.

He told 3D it was a misguided attempt to claim the $20,000 reward on offer.

Instead, police charged Pora with her murder and he was convicted in 1994.

He was re-tried in 2000 after DNA found at the scene was later identified as coming from serial rapist Malcolm Rewa.

At the re-trial he was found guilty of murder as Rewa’s accomplice.

Rewa was only found guilty of rape with his jury hung on the charge of murder.

Pora told 3D he had ‘‘never, ever met the man’’.

‘‘I know who he is now because they showed his face on TV and all that but I never ever hanged out with Malcolm Rewa.’’

‘‘Did you go with him to commit that crime without knowing him?’’ interviewer Paula Penfold asked. ‘‘No, not at all.’’ Pora told the show he had confessed to the crime after four or five days of being ‘‘hounded’’ by police officers and being woken up at all hours for interviews.

‘‘I just couldn’t take it anymore and I just sort of took responsibility and confessed to it.’’

Pora’s conviction was quashed by the Privy Council after evidence of his fetal alcohol spectrum disorder cast doubt on the propriety of those confessions.

There are calls for Rewa to be re-tried for Burdett’s murder.

Jim Burdett said he supported a re-trial for Rewa without the ‘‘confusion’’ of Pora being involved.

The last he had heard from the Solicitor-General, though, was that Pora had not been found innocent and they had no grounds for reopening the inquiry.

Of meeting Pora, Burdett said he ‘‘seemed like a nice guy’’.

Pora told 3D he was angry with the police who put him in prison and let him ‘‘go through Hell’’.

‘‘I’m not a person that shows much emotion or cry or anything but it eats me up inside when they do s… like that.’’

Pora said though compensation would not make up for the 20 years he lost in prison, it would ‘‘help the cause for my daughter and my grandson to live a good life’’.

What he really wanted was an apology, he said. ‘‘Why does the apology matter to you?’’ Penfold asked.

‘‘So I can rest.’’