Two prisoners claim to have had conversations while in prison which raise doubt about the convictions of two men sentenced for the kidnap and murder of Hamilton woman Rae Portman.
The affidavits were produced in the Court of Appeal in Wellington this morning during a hearing for Paraire 'Friday' Hone Te Awa, who was sentenced to 21 years prison for Ms Portman's murder and kidnap, and co-accused Dean Michael Addison who received 12 years for kidnapping her. Addison was also convicted on a number of drugs charges.
Neither men were in court today and the appeal was heard before Justices Rhys Harrison, Christine French and Robert Dobson.
During a lengthy trial last year, it was revealed Ms Portman was supplying Addison with pseudoephedrine – a precursor to making methamphetamine – which he failed to pay for or return.
The 32-year-old was four months pregnant when she was strangled to death at an industrial site in June 2012.
She had been bound, gagged and driven to Hamilton in the boot of her car by Te Awa, after Addison told him to "teach her a lesson" over a drug deal that went sour, the court heard at the time.
Her body was found in September 2012.
Another man, Lee Rigby, who admitted kidnapping Ms Portman, was sent to prison for three years and nine months last year.
But today Raymond Charles Perry, a former prisoner at Waikeria Prison and now at Rimutaka, claimed to have had a conversation at the start of this year with a man who told him he was Lee Rigby.
Doubt was cast on the evidence by Crown lawyer Kieran Raftery, who said records showed Rigby was never at Waikeria or Rimutaka Prison and was on bail at the time of the reported conversation.
"The conversation you're talking about must have been some other man who gave evidence at the trial," he told Perry.
But Perry maintained the person he spoke to knew about details of the case.
"The person told me he was Lee Rigby and talked to me about the case. How would somebody know that?"
Rigby gave evidence for the Crown during the trial including details about Ms Portman's kidnapping, but during the purported conversation with Perry, didn't know how she died or if Te Awa killed her.
Meanwhile, another prisoner Richard Krammer told the court he'd had a conversation with Te Awa in which he confessed to the murder of Ms Portman and said Addison was innocent.
He says the confession came as he pressed Te Awa about a car he'd allegedly stolen from a prisoner named "John".
Mr Raftery questioned Krammer, saying his evidence had only come after he'd met Addison and promised to help him with his appeal.
But Krammer said he hadn't promised Addison anything.
"I didn't want to give evidence at court cases. I'm not happy to do it at all. Addison's not even a mate," he said.
Mr Raftery believed Krammer's series of events was "highly unlikely", given Te Awa had never confessed to anyone else.
Te Awa's lawyer Peter Kaye also argued his client's 21-year sentence was too harsh.
Addison's counsel Gary Gotlieb believed there needed to be a cleared distinction made to the jury between the evidence relating to Te Awa and to his client. Addison had nothing to do with Ms Portman's murder, he said.
"How was he to know what was to ultimately result here?"
The Justices have reserved their decision.
source: newshub archive