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One News
October 10 2006

Wrongly convicted trio accept compo

Three young Auckland women jailed for a crime they did not commit have accepted compensation from the government.

Tania Vini, Lucy Akatere and McCushla Fuataha were convicted in August 1999 for the aggravated robbery of a 16-year-old schoolgirl in Mt Roskill.

They successfully appealed their convictions on the basis that two principal witnesses had retracted their testimony, and were released after spending around seven months in jail.

The compensation ranges from between $162,000 and $176,000.

The women had been seeking a million dollars compensation, but reluctantly agreed to this deal in March.

It has taken another seven months for the money to be paid.

Their lawyer Gary Gotlieb believes the reason the case has been handled so badly by the government, is because the trio are all Polynesians. He says the women wanted more but have simply run out of patience.

Gotleib is disgusted at the government's handling of the situation.

But, Justice Minister Mark Burton says he is pleased the matter has been resolved.

He says the government accepted the girls' were innocent and offered the trio compensation in 2003. But that wasn't accepted by the women's lawyer.