Under section 21(1) of the Parole Act 2002
02 February 2011
Members of the Board:
The Hon. M Frater
Professor P Brinded
Mr R Lewis
Mr M Hakiaha
Ms S Jocelyn for Department of Corrections
Ms J von Dadelszen for Department of Corrections
Teina Pora, who is 35 years of age, is serving a sentence of life imprisonment for the murder of Susan Burdett. He was also convicted of the aggravated robbery of her home and being a party to raping her.
Mr Pora has always denied involvement in this offending. The original trial was in 1994 then, after Malcolm Rewa was convicted of rape the Court of Appeal quashed his convictions and ordered a new trial. That occurred in 2000 and again he was found guilty on all counts. Over the years the issues for the Board have been two fold – leaving aside his index offending, what is his risk and how should it be addressed so that on release he does not pose an undue risk to the safety of the community.
In late 2009 Mr Pora completed the Short Motivational Programme. He subsequently attended one to one sessions with a Departmental psychologist. These are focused on reintegration and relapse prevention planning.
For some time he seemed to be doing very well and was moving slowly but carefully towards release. He managed to stay out of trouble and was living in the Self Care Units at [Withheld]. He was working in the external grounds, was approved for release to work and had had a large number of escorted outings for shopping and also some visits with his supporters.
That all changed when a cellphone charger was found in his work overalls. That happened on 1 December last year. As a result he was transferred back to the main jail and, at the end of last year, transferred back to [Withheld].
He is currently in the West Wing at [Withheld]. He is working outside the wire on the Living Earth Project and is not causing any trouble.
A problem for him is the misconduct which he incurred as a result of the cellphone incident. He denies that the cellphone is his and has appealed to the visiting Justice against the decision. He has instructed his lawyer, Mr Krebs, to appear on his behalf and the hearing of the appeal should take place in the next month or so.
Running alongside all this are the steps being taken to set aside Mr Pora’s convictions. A team is working to assemble the evidence in support of an application for the exercise of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. It is hoped that such an application will be filed in the near future.
However, as successive Boards have said, we must treat Mr Pora as a convicted offender and also assess him on the basis that he has incurred a misconduct. In that situation, notwithstanding the support that is available to him in the community, he cannot safely be released. Accordingly, parole is declined. He will be seen again in the normal 12 monthly cycle.
Mr Pora is, of course, aware that if his appeal is successful or there is any other substantial change in his circumstances he can apply to be seen earlier under section 26 of the Parole Act.
In conclusion we would add that if the appeal is in fact successful we would support Mr Pora participating in temporary releases or release to work, as available, or any other
steps to assist in his reintegration after such a long period of incarceration.
The Hon. M Frater
• You may apply for a review of the Board’s decision under section 67(1). The only grounds under which you may make an application for review are that the Board, in making its decision:
a) Failed to comply with procedures in the Parole Act 2002; or
b) Made an error of law; or
c) Failed to comply with Board policy resulting in unfairness to the offender; or
d) Based its decision on erroneous or irrelevant information that was material to the decision reached; or
e) Acted without jurisdiction.
• To apply for a review you must write to the Board within 28 days of its decision stating which of the above ground(s) you consider to be relevant in your case and giving reasons why you believe that ground(s) applies.
• Reviews are considered on the papers only. There is no hearing in respect of your Review Application.