Thursday, June 23, 2022

A New Zealand 'roll of innocents' - and those who are still 'fighting on." New Zealand Herald 'Open Justice Multi-Media' Journalist Belinda Feek compilation contains the names of numerous New Zealand cases that have appeared on The Charles Smith Blog over the years, including: Alan Hall (most recently), Teina Pora, Arthur Allan Thomas, David Bain, Mauha Faucett, David Doherty, and Scott Watson..

STORY: "A roll call of the wrongfully convicted and those who claim they are innocent," by Open Justice Multi-Media Journalist Belinda Feek, published by The New Zealand Herald. (As Open Justice Multi-Media Journalist, Belinda Feek invites her readers "to send suggestions of  a justice story we should be covering.")


"Alan Hall has joined a number of New Zealanders who have won battles against the Crown to clear their name of wrongful convictions through a miscarriage of justice. More than $9 million has been paid out to those who were wrongly convicted and ordered to serve jail time, while several others continue their fight. Hall had his murder conviction quashed by the Supreme Court in Wellington yesterday, with Justice Helen Winkelmann satisfied a substantial miscarriage of justice had occurred in his case. He spent 19 years behind bars after being convicted of murdering Arthur Easton in his home in October 1985. He and his family fought so long that his mother, Shirley, had to sell their family home to help pay the fees to overturn his conviction. She never got to see justice served to her son. She died in 2012. Today, the Solicitor-General has announced it will investigate the conduct of the Crown for the role it played in putting the innocent man in jail. The Crown admitted there was a severe miscarriage of justice in Hall's case, and evidence used at trial to convict Hall was "materially altered" with key details omitted.




Teina Pora received $3.5m for the 21 years he spent in prison for twice being convicted of the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 But his conviction was quashed by the Privy Council in 2015 and the Government agreed to pay just over $2.5m in compensation after considering reports from retired High Court Judge Rodney Hansen QC. Later, former Justice Minister Andrew Little added an inflation adjustment of $988,000 and $45,000 in legal costs for the judicial review of an earlier decision not to provide the inflation adjustment.



In Arthur Allan Thomas' case, he was twice convicted for the infamous 1970 murders of Harvey and Jeanette Crewe, once in 1971 and again in 1973. In December 1979 Thomas received a royal pardon and was released after nine years in prison. He received almost $1m in compensation after it was determined by a Royal Commission of Inquiry that evidence against him had been planted by detectives.



David Bain was convicted of murdering his parents and three siblings in June 1994, serving 13 years in prison before the Privy Council quashed his convictions and he was acquitted in a retrial in 2009. Bain was denied compensation for his time behind bars but the Government agreed to make an ex-gratia payment in the interests of bringing closure to the long-running claim. Full and final payment of $925,000 was accepted by Bain's legal team. In 2016, then Justice Minister Amy Adams stressed the payment was not compensation and had been offered solely to avoid further litigation and costs to the Crown.



Former Mongrel Mob member Mauha Fawcett was last year cleared of murdering Christchurch sex worker Mellory Manning after it was found his Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder meant his admissions in police interviews were inadmissible. Manning was picked up from her soliciting spot in the city's red-light Manchester St and driven to a nearby gang pad where she was raped, bashed, stabbed, and murdered before her body was dumped in the Avon River. After a trial at the High Court in Christchurch in 2014, Fawcett was found guilty of being a party to her murder and was sentenced to at least 20 years in jail but was acquitted last year. It's unclear if he has made a claim for compensation.



Tyson Redman was convicted of wounding and injuring in August 2007, and spent two and a half years in prison. In December 2013, the Court of Appeal quashed his convictions and did not order a retrial. He received $551,017 in compensation.



Aaron Farmer was convicted of rape in 2005 and jailed for eight years. After serving 2 years and 3 months of his sentence his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal and a retrial ordered - but it never went ahead. He was awarded $351,575 in compensation.



Phillip Johnston and Jaden Knight were convicted of arson in 2004 and jailed for six years.

In June 2005, the Court of Appeal quashed their convictions, and retrials were ordered.

Johnston was found not guilty in August 2006, while Knight's retrial didn't go ahead and he was discharged in 2007 after new evidence came to light. The pair spent 9 1/2 months in prison. Phillip Johnston was wrongly convicted of arson in 2004 and received $146,011.47 in compensation from the Government. Johnston was awarded $146,011 while Knight received $221,936.



David Dougherty was wrongly convicted of kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old girl in 1993.

A retrial was ordered in 1997 after new DNA evidence was found and he was acquitted of the chargeHe received an apology from the Government in 2001 and was awarded $868,728 in compensation. He died of pancreatic cancer in April 2017 aged 50.


Tania Vini, Lucy Akatere and McCushla Fuataha were wrongly convicted in August 1999 for the aggravated robbery of a 16-year-old girl in Mt RoskillThey served eight months in prison and were unable to finish school after being convicted of the gang attack and robbery. They were acquitted in 2001 when the witness admitted she had lied, and the three were proven to have been nowhere near the scene.Vini was awarded $176,621, Akatere $162,830, and Fuataha $165,330.



A man known as 'M' was granted $570,696 in compensation after spending 14 months in prison. He was convicted of sexual offending against his 12-year-old son, R, despite the child retracting the allegation before trial. The defence was unaware of the retraction and he was convicted and jailed in 1995. The Court of Appeal quashed M's conviction in 1996 without ordering a retrial and M successfully applied for compensation in 1998.



F was a member of the Royal New Zealand Air Force and in a desperate mental and emotional state when he came into possession of a small explosive device while on base. F approached a chaplain for help and said that he "wanted to kill the warrant officer" and mentioned the explosive device he had. He was referred to a psychologist for assessment and treatment. A charge of threatening to kill was laid and he was dismissed from the RNZAF and sentenced at court-martial to 90 days in prison, of which he served 29 days His conviction was subsequently quashed. He was granted $100,000 for the time he spent behind bars.




Gail Maney was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the murder of Deane Fuller-Sandys who went missing in August 1989, after setting off to go fishing at Whatipu, a rough surf beach in West Auckland. His body has never been recovered. The Crown argued that Maney had asked Stephen Stone to murder Fuller-Sandys because she was angry he had stolen a small quantity of drugs and a leather jacket from her flat in Larnoch Rd, Henderson. Mark William Henriksen, aged 33, was convicted of helping to get rid of Fuller-Sandys' body to avoid Stephen Stone being arrested for the killing. Maney was released on parole in 2020 after serving 15 years behind bars. Stone's legal team, together with help from private investigator Tim McKinnel, is now working on appeals on all three convictions, together with Henriksen.



Scott Watson is currently preparing his last chance to overturn his murder conviction of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope in the Marlborough Sounds on New Year's Eve 1998. The Court of Appeal last month ruled he can challenge crucial eyewitness evidence that placed him with the pair in the Sounds on the night they disappeared. The former Picton boatbuilder is now aged 50 and has so far spent 24 years behind bars, having maintained his innocence throughout and been denied parole four times."

The entire story can be read at:

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic"  section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at: Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:  Harold Levy: Publisher: The Charles Smith Blog;


FINAL WORD:  (Applicable to all of our wrongful conviction cases):  "Whenever there is a wrongful conviction, it exposes errors in our criminal legal system, and we hope that this case — and lessons from it — can prevent future injustices."
Lawyer Radha Natarajan:
Executive Director: New England Innocence Project;


FINAL, FINAL WORD: "Since its inception, the Innocence Project has pushed the criminal legal system to confront and correct the laws and policies that cause and contribute to wrongful convictions.   They never shied away from the hard cases — the ones involving eyewitness identifications, confessions, and bite marks. Instead, in the course of presenting scientific evidence of innocence, they've exposed the unreliability of evidence that was, for centuries, deemed untouchable." So true!
Christina Swarns: Executive Director: The Innocence Project;