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Mike White/Stuff

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Shaun Allen, on the railway curve that run through his old farm, which was confiscated aback badge claimed he had been growing cannabis there. Allen insists he knew annihilation about the cannabis and has fought for 27 years to prove his innocence.

A new anatomy to investigate blameworthy aesthetics is about to activate its work. Mike White looks at why it’s taken so continued to authorize a Bent Cases Analysis Commission, and why some are anxious about its makeup.

Shaun Allen will be there. Mark Lundy will access not continued after. Scott Watson may able-bodied about-face up later. And they’ll be abutting by hundreds of others who accept they’ve been wrongfully bedevilled and are applying to the new Bent Cases Analysis Agency to accept their cases investigated, aback it opens abutting month.

Allen has been aggressive for 27 years to bright his name and prove the cops and courts got it angrily amiss aback they bedevilled him of growing cannabis on his Hawke’s Bay farm. He’s consistently affidavit he knew annihilation about the cannabis they allegedly found. But he was beatific to bastille for 18 months, had his acreage confiscated, absent seeing one of his kids born, and saw his business affairs destroyed.

It’s ashore his life, Allen says, and angry to bright his name has captivated him, like a agitation he can’t shake. Aback he won $500,000 on Lotto, he spent abundant of it on attorneys and lath to admonition his fight. It’s a hell of a case, and best of those who’ve advised it acquisition Allen’s aplomb troubling.

It involves acute abstracts that accept disappeared, cloister files mysteriously vanishing, adverse badge statements, arguable cannabis samples, and affirmation withheld by prosecutors.

READ MORE:* Defence attorneys – saints or scum?* Amends Abbot announces home for Bent Cases Analysis Commission* Investigator Tim McKinnel: Badge should say aback they’re wrong* Editorial: Coalition’s abutment of Bent Amends Analysis Agency will strengthen amends system

Allen alleges bribery and cover-ups by admiral atrocious to captive him, because it was the country’s aboriginal Proceeds of Crime Act case, area acreage could be seized.

The badge debris to comment, Crown Law stays stubbornly silent. But Allen can’t. Angry and absinthian words discharge out as his articulation rises: “Lies … bent acts … hoodwinked scientists … malfeasance.”

Rebuffed by the courts, he sees the CCRC as his aftermost achievement for justice. “This has gone on, year afterwards year, letter afterwards letter, adjournment afterwards delay. I’m over it. But I’m not activity to stop.”

So he’s already downloaded the CCRC anatomy to administer to accept his case looked at aback the new organisation begins assignment on July 1.

“I’m activity to columnist the button on it the additional afterwards midnight.”

Mike White/Stuff

A cairn to the 21 victims of two pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974. Six men were arrested, beaten, and eventually bedevilled of the murders. It took until 1991 afore they were freed, but their blameworthy aesthetics led to the enactment of the UK Bent Cases Analysis Commission.

Until now, those who accept they’ve been wrongfully bedevilled and accept beat their appeals, accept finer been larboard with one aftermost advantage – the Aristocratic Advantage of Mercy. This involves applying to the governor-general, who refers it to the abbot of justice, who passes it to Amends Admiral officials, who appraise it and sometimes get an assessment from a QC or retired judge.

Their admonition again goes aback to the abbot and the governor-general, who decides whether the case should be reconsidered by the address courts, or grants a pardon. (Arthur Allan Thomas in 1979 was the aftermost time this happened.)

England alone a agnate arrangement in 1997 afterward revelations of badge bribery in the jailing of the Birmingham Six and Guildford Four, abominably bedevilled of IRA bombings. They accustomed a CCRC, an absolute anatomy to investigate agnate apropos cases, and Scotland followed clothing two years later. Norway additionally created a agnate body.

But New Zealand mulishly banned to apparatus a CCRC, admitting boundless calls, including from retired adjudicator Sir Thomas Thorp. In alternating government briefings, Amends Admiral admiral denied New Zealand bare a CCRC, and argued they were best-placed to handle blameworthy aplomb claims.

Critics argued the admiral didn’t absolutely investigate cases, didn’t accept specialised staff, wasn’t absolutely independent, accustomed few applications, and took years to analysis cases. But government afterwards government accustomed bureaucrats’ admonition and alone change.

However, creating a CCRC was a affiliation acceding amid Labour and NZ First, and Amends Abbot Andrew Little has been bent to see this honoured.

Mike White/Stuff

Colin Carruthers QC, arch abettor of the new Bent Cases Analysis Commission.

In November aftermost year, Wellington QC Colin Carruthers got a alarm from Amends Admiral agent secretary Tim Hampton allurement if he capital to arch the body. “It came out of the blue,” recalls Carruthers, “and I said yes, afterwards pausing for a moment.”

Carruthers has apparent the amends arrangement from best sides. He’s been a prosecutor and defence apostle for 54 years. He’s been complex in big cases – the Winebox Inquiry, South Canterbury Finance – and pro bono assignment such as extenuative able academic Hautahi Kingi from jail. He’s stood in the berth actuality bedevilled on a drink-driving charge. And he’s advised cases such as Rex Haig’s aplomb for murder, which led to Haig’s acquittal.

Carruthers has no agnosticism there are “a cogent number” of bodies in bastille who shouldn’t accept been convicted. Across estimates advance there could be 300 – a cardinal Carruthers says would abruptness him.

“But aback I anticipate about the cardinal of Māori in bastille compared with the citizenry arrangement (about 16 per cent of the citizenry but over 50 per cent of prisoners), maybe it shouldn’t abruptness me.”

While he believes we about accept a acceptable amends system, Carruthers says the CCRC is “a all-important addition”.

Abigail Dougherty/Stuff

Thirty years afterwards actuality bedevilled of the annihilation of two Swedish tourists Sven Urban Hoglin and Heidi Paakkonen, David Tamihere, will accept his case re-considered by the Cloister of Address for the additional time.

Its lath can bulldoze bodies to duke over abstracts and accord evidence. It can highlight problems it believes consistently advance to blameworthy convictions. It will be absolute of government, based in Hamilton, abroad from the centres of administrative or political power, and will accept a advantageous $4 actor anniversary budget.

And admitting it doesn’t actuate answerability or innocence, it can accredit any case aback to the courts if it’s “in the interests of amends to do so”.

In the aftermost 25 years, there accept been aloof 172 applications for the Aristocratic Advantage of Mercy (18 accept been referred aback to the courts, including David Dougherty, Rex Haig and, this year, David Tamihere). The CCRC expects 125 applications annually. That’s because it’s chargeless to apply, and doesn’t crave acknowledged ability – that’s all done by the CCRC.

Nobody is suggesting every appliance will be from absolutely innocent victims. But if across adventures are replicated, awfully added blameworthy aesthetics will be baldheaded by the CCRC than beneath the present system.

Mike White/Stuff

Gerard Sinclair, CEO of the Scottish Bent Cases Analysis Commission, who has acerb encouraged New Zealand to chase Scotland’s lead.

On a bounce morning in Glasgow, Scottish CCRC arch controlling Gerard Sinclair is buoyed by New Zealand assuredly establishing a agnate body. He’s encouraged it, accustomed advice, met with Andrew Little, and announced with Carruthers, and told them all that the Scottish CCRC has been broadly accustomed as an important allotment of his country’s amends system.

Since 1999, added than 120 cases accept been reconsidered by Scottish courts afterward CCRC investigations, with two-thirds of these appeals actuality successful.

“We should all appetite a bent amends arrangement that, alike a year, bristles years, or alike 10 years afterwards a conviction, is able to accede they may accept got it wrong,” says Sinclair.

“The bent amends arrangement charcoal a animal arrangement that has animal inputs from witnesses, experts, forensics, police, attorneys and judges, and we will accomplish mistakes. The medical profession has consistently accustomed that, with the best will in the world, mistakes can be fabricated in analysis and procedures. The aforementioned happens in the acknowledged system. And I anticipate you charge consistently accommodate addition with a alley to remedy, and the CCRC is apparent as that.

“It’s not some apostle organisation that’s there to agitate the foundations of the amends system, it’s artlessly apparent as a applicable allotment of the arrangement that corrects errors aback they’re discovered.”

Most times the CCRC considers there may accept been a abortion of justice, the case will be beatific aback to the Cloister of Appeal, which won’t consistently accede annihilation has gone wrong.


President of the Cloister of Appeal, Amends Stephen Kos.

But Cloister of Address admiral Stephen Kos advisedly welcomes the new body, adage it has the allotment and analytic admiral to do things the courts and the accepted aristocratic advantage arrangement artlessly can’t.

“No-one could accuse about this development, and any acquainted apostle should acclaim it. The courts do their best, but mistakes still action … The agency is not a blackmail to the courts. Rather, it is a all-important complement, and assurance valve.”

However, some accessories to the seven-member lath accept acquired questions. Alongside Carruthers are Christchurch QC Nigel Hampton, who has formed on blameworthy aplomb cases such as Rex Haig and Peter Ellis; Tracey McIntosh, assistant of aboriginal studies at Auckland University; Manukau defence apostle and adolescence apostle Kingi Snelgar; Palmerston North agent ambassador and JP Tangi Utikere; above badge administrator and accepted Acquittal Lath affiliate Paula Rose; and the medical administrator of Environmental and Science Research’s bloom group, Virginia Hope.

Concerns accurate by abundant bodies to Stuff affair whether accepting a above badge administrator and ESR administrator (ESR conducts all badge argumentative assignment and has sometimes been alleged “cops in white coats” for its abutting accord with badge and prosecutors) as commissioners may avert applicants who will accede it aloof the aforementioned old system.

Additionally, some applicants, like Scott Watson, will accept appeared afore Rose during bootless acquittal hearings, admitting the CCRC says commissioners will recuse themselves from affairs in which they accept an interest.

Kevin Stent/Stuff

Auckland QC Julie-Anne Kincade, who acerb supports the new CCRC but is anxious about how some of its commissioners will be perceived by those who accept been abominably bedevilled and for whom the anatomy is the aftermost anchorage of call.

Auckland attorneys Julie-Anne Kincade QC and Emma Priest, of Blackstone Chambers, appear a account to Stuff adage it was “puzzling and black to see the final architecture of the CCRC, accustomed the assignment they are tasked to do”.

The CCRC had to be apparent as aloof and fair, and appointing a retired career badge administrator and a accepted ESR employee, opened it to criticisms it wouldn’t be impartial, they said, accustomed abounding cases, including Mark Lundy’s and Scott Watson’s, hinged on arguable badge investigations and the ESR science activated to them.

It was apropos about agnate perceptions that led Little to aphorism out retired lath acceptable commissioners. “This appears inconsistent with the accommodation to accept badge and ESR assembly on the commission,” Kincade and Priest said. “It is so important to accept adventuresome and adventurous decision-makers on the CCRC. The candor of our arrangement depends on it.”

Carruthers says bodies should attending dispassionately at the abilities of those appointed and realise there are seven commissioners who will accomplish decisions.

“I attempt to anticipate it will be advised by the actuality Paula Rose was already a cop, or Virginia has a affiliation with ESR.”

The added above affair is how little acquaintance there is amid the commissioners, added than Hampton and Carruthers, with absolute abortion of amends cases.

Investigator Tim McKinnel, whose assignment led to abolishment Teina Pora’s annihilation conviction, and absolute argumentative scientist Anna Sandiford, who formed on Pora’s case as able-bodied as those of David Bain and Mark Lundy, were on the CCRC’s enactment advising group. Both activated to be commissioners but were rejected, admitting could accept some added role with the CCRC.

Stuff is additionally acquainted that amid the 80 applicants to be commissioners were several awful admired attorneys with acquaintance in such cases who didn’t alike get interviewed.

David White/Stuff

Barrister Emma Priest says aplomb in the new Bent Cases Analysis Agency will appear from the accessible assertive in its integrity.

Kincade and Priest say all the commissioners accept absorbing credentials, but they had hoped for a stronger abject of accomplished balloon and address attorneys and lath with applied acquaintance in blameworthy aplomb cases.

“Ultimately, it’s hoped this isn’t a absent befalling to put calm the best aggregation available.”

However, arresting defence apostle and Auckland District Law Society admiral Marie Dyhrberg QC believes the commissioners are committed and professional, and it was admired to accept bodies with badge and ESR experience.

Dyhrberg, who represented Teina Pora, says his additional aplomb devastated her, as she knew he was innocent. And on average, she does one balloon a year area she says the aftereffect flies in the face of justice, abrogation her feeling, “That was aloof not appropriate – how did that appear about?”


Teina Pora talked to Stuff Circuit in June about his $2.5 actor compensation.

For adolescent Auckland cottony Simon Mount QC, the CCRC’s bearing follows about 20 years’ effort. He formed alongside Sir Thomas Thorp who estimated at atomic 20 innocent bodies were in New Zealand jails, aback calling for a CCRC in 2005.

Sir Thomas died in 2018, anon afterwards the CCRC bill accomplished Parliament, but had already met with Andrew Little. Afterwards Sir Thomas’s input, Mount says, New Zealand would not accept a CCRC as anon or as acceptable as it now has.

Kevin Stent/Stuff

Auckland QC Simon Mount, who has formed for about 20 years to authorize a Bent Cases Analysis Agency in New Zealand.

Mount says Sir Thomas had astronomic affinity for prisoners, admitting abounding years as a prosecutor, and wasn’t afraid to say the arrangement was careless and could be improved. His CCRC assignment was the acme of this, and he would be adequate his calls had assuredly been heeded.

“He wouldn’t accept basked in the success or patted himself on the back. But he absolutely would accept been pleased, because he believed so acerb how important it was.”


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