NZ Public Interest Project takes aim at injustices

  • 13/06/2015

A group of legal experts have banded together to try to stop miscarriages of justice in New Zealand.

After more than 20 years in jail, Teina Pora became a free man when his convictions were quashed in March.

His case might be rare, but he may not be the only one. It is estimated that at any one time at least 20 innocent people could be in jail in New Zealand.

That has prompted the establishment of the New Zealand Public Interest Project, which was launched today.

"We will look at any cases that we think have slipped through the cracks – that perhaps have been investigated, and for whatever reason haven't been picked up, or have reached the wrong conclusion," the group's trustee Dr Jarrod Gilbert told The Nation today.

He says the project aims to pick up what the Government hasn't.

"The Government have consistently failed to step-up and produce a body such as this, so we've put our hand up to do that."

The group has already identified several cases to look into, including the killing of 20-year-old Timaru woman Lisa Blakie in 2000.

Timothy Taylor was found guilty of her murder in 2002, but has always said he is innocent.

The group says there are question about that case and they will review it.

Dr Gilbert says they will also look at civil cases such as prosecuting the forestry industry over safety records.

He says the safety net is needed.

"What we do have are some significant problems that must be addressed."

As with similar groups set up overseas, it is expected more injustices will come out of the woodwork now that the group has been established.

Justice Minister Amy Adams would not comment on the matter today.

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source: newshub archive