Alan Hall receives New Zealand's biggest-ever compensation payout of $4.9 million for wrongful conviction

Alan Hall has received Aotearoa's biggest-ever compensation payout for a wrongful conviction after he spent 19 years in prison for a murder he never committed.

In June last year, the Supreme Court quashed Hall's conviction for a murder during a home invasion nearly 40 years ago, declaring it was a serious miscarriage of justice.

Hall spent 19 years in prison for the murder of Arthur Easton, a crime he always maintained he did not commit.

Former Newshub Nation journalist Mike Wesley-Smith's reports helped free Hall from jail: the reports, published in 2018 and 2020, were initially ignored before the Supreme Court overturned Hall's conviction last year.

On Friday it was announced Hall will receive a compensation payout to the tune of $4.9 million, as well as an apology from the Crown.

Acting Justice Minister Deborah Russell announced on Friday that Hall will receive a total of $4,933,725.75 under the 2023 Compensation Guidelines for Wrongful Conviction and Detention.

"I recognise that Mr Hall suffered significant losses as a direct result of his wrongful convictions and imprisonment. I acknowledge that the apology and compensation can never completely remedy the injustice Mr Hall has suffered."

Minister Russell hopes the apology and compensation will help Hall in rebuilding his life. 

"New Zealand has a strong justice system, one which New Zealanders can continue to have faith in. On this occasion, an injustice was delivered to Mr Hall, and we are acknowledging that today."

Alan Hall receives New Zealand's biggest-ever compensation payout of $4.9 million for wrongful conviction
Photo credit: Mike Wesley-Smith

Minister Russell's apology to Hall on behalf of Government

"I am writing on behalf of the Government to formally apologise to you for your 1986 wrongful convictions and imprisonment for murder and intentional wounding."

Russell's apology said the Government accepts Hall's innocence.

"I acknowledge that you have suffered significant losses as a direct result of your wrongful convictions and imprisonment," she said.

"I acknowledge that over the past four decades, you have suffered considerably including the many years you spent apart from your family."

"On behalf of the Government, I apologise unreservedly for the devastating impact the wrongful conviction and imprisonment have had on your life."

'Great day' - Alan's brother speaks 

Alan's brother Geoff Hall spoke to media on Friday and said it's a "proud day" for the Hall whanāu. 

"We've achieved a moment our mother's been fighting for all her… since Alan was arrested."

Geoff said the ultimate goal was always for the Crown to apologise and clear his brother's name. He said his late mother would have been "gracious" in her response and would be feeling "tremendous".

"Just delighted, her son has been vindicated," he said. 

"We've achieved the goal today and we're really pleased about that. We have [an] apology, Alan can walk free, head high and it was a special moment."

Alan's brother thanked the "special team" who supported Hall and his whanāu to get to where they are today.

"Great day for us, great day for Alan. Alan says hi as well, so he's a happy man."