Focus on Police Competence

The Trevor Franklin Police Botchup - Index

2005 News Reports - Index

NZ Herald
October 11 2005

Freed women seek compo rethink

Three young woman wrongfully convicted and jailed want the High Court to quash a compensation package worth more than $400,000 and order the Government to make a new offer.

Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and McCushla Fuataha served seven months in prison after being convicted of an aggravated robbery in Three Kings in August 1999.

Ms Akatere was 15 at the time and her co-accused were 14.

The case was reopened after a witness admitted she lied and the three were proven to have been nowhere near the scene of the attack. The Court of Appeal overturned the convictions in 2001 and told the girls: "We offer our sympathy."

A report prepared for the Government by Wellington QC Kristy McDonald n in 2003 recommended paying Ms Akatere and Ms Vini $135,000 each and Ms Fuataha $137,500.

The women are challenging the Government guidelines used to reach compensation figures.

Rodney Harrison, QC, yesterday told the High Court at Auckland the guidelines were unworkable, inconsistent and arbitrary.

"It is our case that sense can not be made [of the guidelines]," he said.

The civil claim does not seek any particular compensation sum but asks the court to direct Cabinet to reconsider the offer.

The hearing continues today.