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The Press
November 14 2001

Compensation claim likely

Auckland - Three teenage girls, wrongly imprisoned for a crime they did not commit, may seek hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation from the Government.

Lucy Akatere and Tania Vini, both 17, and Krishla Fuataha, 16, were jointly convicted of an aggravated robbery near the Three Kings Mall in Auckland in August, 1999.

They spent seven months in Auckland's Mount Eden Women's Prison before they were granted bail after their lawyer, Gary Gotlieb, and private investigator Bryan Rowe persuaded police to reopen the case.

The Court of Appeal subsequently overturned their convictions.

Yesterday, Mr Gotlieb would not say what he believed was a fair compensation, but said it would be far higher than $60,000 to $70,000.

He would not comment on whether he thought the compensation figure could reach $500,000.

Mr Gotlieb said a top psychologist was still examining the three girls, but it may take several years to undo the impact of seven months in an adult prison.