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Newstalk ZB
December 3 2004

Government 'mean' over compo

The Government is accused of being mean and stubborn over compensation for three girls jailed for a crime they did not commit.

The teenagers spent seven months in prison before their convictions for aggravated robbery were quashed.

Justice Minister Phil Goff has offered $160,000 in compensation, for each of the girls.

That has been rejected and the case will now go to court.

Bryan Rowe, the private investigator hired to look into the case, says the police clearly bungled the investigation, but he says cabinet criteria limits their compensation to just $100,000.

Mr Rowe says anyone who had been put through the wringer like these girls were, would expect more than they are being offered.

However, the Justice Minister denies the Government's offer of compensation is miserly.

Phil Goff says the offer balances what the girls went through against the fact that this is tax-payer money being handed out.

He says it was only a few years ago that no compensation was available.

He says we have to be fair both to the wider population and the girls.

He says most New Zealanders would think a sum equivalent to four years earnings reasonable compensation for seven months in prison.