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NZ Herald
October 10 2006; 11:40

Girls accept compensation for wrongful imprisonment
NZ Herald Staff

Cushla Fuataha, Lucy Akatere and Tania Kavi were jailed for a crime they did not commit.
 Picture / Adrian Malloch

Three young girls jailed for a crime they did not commit have accepted an offer of compensation from the government. Tania Vini, Lucy Akatere and McCushla Fuataha have accepted compensation ranging between $162,000 and $176,000 each after a long battle for an increase on the initial amount offered.

Ms Vini will receive $176,621.36, Ms Akatere will receive $162,830.36, and Ms Fuataha will receive $165,330, Justice Minister Mark Burton said today.

The trio, then teenagers, were convicted in August 1999 for the aggravated robbery of a 16-year-old girl in Mt Roskill.

They served eight months in prison and were unable to finish school after being convicted of the gang attack and robbery of the teenage girl in Three Kings in August 1999.

They were acquitted in 2001, when the witness admitted she had lied, and the three were proven to have been nowhere near the scene.

After they were acquitted the government recommended compensation of $135,000 for Ms Vini and Ms Akatere and $137,500 for Ms Fuataha and a Government statement confirming their innocence. Later that month the Cabinet policy committee agreed to make an ex gratia payment in terms of the recommendation, on condition that the girls take no further legal action against the Crown. The trio turned down the offer.