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One News
December 3, 2004 

Teens' compo deemed "inadequate"

A private investigator says a compensation offer to three young Auckland women jailed for a crime they did not commit is woefully inadequate.

Brian Rowe helped re-open the investigation which led to the release of Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and McCushla Fuataha, who spent seven months in Mount Eden Women's prison for aggravated robbery of a 16-year-old girl in Mt Roskill back in 2000.

They appealed their convictions on the basis that two principal witnesses had retracted their testimony.

Justice Minister Phil Goff said the women have rejected an offer of about $160,000 each and have lodged a claim at the High Court in Auckland for higher compensation.

Goff said in a statement that the offer was in accordance with a report prepared by Kirsty McDonald QC, who assessed the girls' eligibility for compensation.

Rowe said the girls have had their ups and downs and will not properly get on with their lives until a fair compensation offer is made. He said the girls were children when they were thrown into Mount Eden Prison which he says is a hell-hole.