This page last updated October
2006-1011 - NZ Herald -
Wrongly jailed women 'mistreated because young and brown', say lawyers
NZPA - Lawyers claim three wrongly jailed women did not get higher
compensation because of their age, race and social background. Yesterday it
was announced that Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and McCushla Fuataha are to get
payments ranging between $162,000 and $176,00. Their lawyer Gary Gotlieb has
said the compensation is not enough and he believed the girls had been
"mucked around" because they were young and Polynesian. Another
lawyer, Peter Williams QC, who is also president of the Howard League for
penal reform, said today there was "no doubt the colour of their
skin" was a factor and if the women were people of high status their
compensation would have been far greater. Mr Williams told National Radio
this morning: "I think there is a prejudice against people in what you
may call the lower economic strata, I also think there is a prejudice against
Maori people -- I think there is also a prejudice in this country against
anyone who is a minority group."
2006-1011 - NZ Herald -
$500,000 compo 'too little too late'
by David Eames - The lawyer for three women wrongly convicted and jailed over an attack
on a teenage girl has rejected as inadequate Government compensation for the
trio. Gary Gotlieb said yesterday the payouts totalling more than $500,000 to
Tania Vini, Lucy Akatere and McCushla Fuataha were "far too little, far
2006-1011 - Newstalk ZB -
Father's hard efforts pay off
father who would not give up, is being credited with helping to clear the
name of the daughter he had faith in and her two friends. ….Private
Investigator Bryan Rowe says if it had not been for Tania Vini's father, the
women would forever be thought of as criminals. Mr Rowe says Mr Vini hired a
lawyer and several private investigators to probe the bungled police inquiry
and paid a high emotional and financial cost, with the strain being so great
after the convictions that he could not work for around three months. Mr Rowe
says the police case was so sloppy it was not hard to prove officers had got
it wrong. He says the system has taken too long to acknowledge the mistake
2006-1011 - Dominion Post
- Compo for girls' lost youth
of the three young women who lost part of their youth after being wrongly
jailed for seven months say their $340,000 compensation payout will help buy
a better future for their children. Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and Kushla
Fuataha were just teenagers when they were jailed for a crime they did not
commit – the aggravated robbery of a 16-year-old girl in an Auckland shopping
mall in August 1999. Justice Minister Mark Burton announced yesterday that
the young women had now accepted the original compensation offer, plus legal
2006-1010 - Stuff - Wrongly
jailed teenage girls accept compo
NZPA - Three young Auckland women who were wrongly jailed have accepted
compensation ranging between $162,000 and $176,000 each, Justice Minister
Mark Burton announced today. Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and McCushla Fuataha
each served seven months after being falsely convicted of the aggravated
robbery of a 16-year-old girl in Three Kings shopping mall in Auckland in
August 1999. Ms Vini and Ms Fuataha were 14 at the time and Ms Akatere was 15
2006-1010 - peterellis.org.nz
October 10 2006
Government compensation miserly, sexist and racist.
government has been extremely miserly in their offer of compensation to
three girls who were jailed for a crime that they did not commit,
spokesperson Brian Robinson says.
minister accepted the girls were innocent, but only offered each girl
compensation ranging from $135,000 to $137,000 (excluding disbursements).
These amounts of money are significantly less than previous awards for
Has not explained the basis for their stingy
decision in the case of the three girls.
Has been even more miserly in refusing to pay interest
on the money that they have retained since the girls were first offered
The Government appears to have no appreciation at all for
The trauma that completely innocent people
experience when confronted with a justice system that has made a mistake.
The harm that was done to three girls affected
in their formative years by such an experience.
The loss of opportunity experienced by the
girls who suffered a damaged education
The period of time affected which not only
included the seven months in jail, but also the time from when the girls
were accused, and the time after release, while they were adjusting to
The inevitable loss of friends and damaged
relationships experienced by the girls
The real costs that the girls experienced in
unnecessarily defending the charges.
explanation for the government's woefully inadequate response appears to be
that the claimants are young, non pakeha, and women.
2006-1010 - Newstalk ZB -
Lawyer "disgusted" by Govt actions
lawyer for three young Auckland women awarded compensation for wrongful
convictions is furious at how long the process has taken…. Their lawyer Gary
Gotleib is disgusted, saying the government has taken seven months to pay up,
after settling the dispute. He points out the three young women have lost
their youth, and schooling, and been locked up, all through no fault of their
own. He says although the High Court did not support his clients' case for
compensation of a million dollars, he believed they had grounds for appeal.
However, the three women said they had had enough and did not want to proceed
any further. Mr Gotleib says it is also wrong that the Government has not
paid any interest on the compensation for the time it has taken them to pay
2006-1010 - One News -
Wrongly convicted trio accept compo
young Auckland women jailed for a crime they did not commit have accepted
compensation from the government…..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
2006-1010 - NZ Herald - Girls
accept compensation for wrongful imprisonment
by NZ Herald staff - 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.
2006-1010 - Newstalk ZB
- Wrongly imprisoned trio get compensation
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
2006-0402 - NZ Herald - Cops clear
themselves in wrongful conviction case
Leah Haines - The police have cleared themselves of wrongdoing over a
botch-up that left three young girls jailed for a crime they did not commit.
A heavily-censored police report into the wrongful conviction of Lucy
Akatere, then 15, Tania Vini, 14, and McCushla Fuataha, 14, shows officers
involved in the case were "counselled". Police told the Herald on
Sunday the officers were never found guilty of misconduct or malpractice and
continued to work in criminal investigation. That was despite a succession of
errors, including failing to check the girls' alibis and hanging the entire
case on the word of a 13-year-old later found to be lying.
willingness of the Police to clear themselves of this botchup gives the New
Zealand no confidence that the Police are capable of investigating
themselves for professional incompetence.
The news reports on these pages tell a different story that one would have
expected a trainee police officer to easily comprehend.
There are remarkable parallels to the way the police exonerated the key
police investigators in the Peter Ellis case. Indeed, in 2006, one of the
Ellis case investigators has been amazingly promoted to Commissioner of
Police. Perhaps Franklin will be so rewarded in years to come.
2006-0325 - One News - Trio give
up compensation battle
young women wrongly jailed for a brutal robbery have given up their fight for
more compensation and have decided to accept a government offer made several
years ago. Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and McCushla Fuataha will be paid more
than $130,000 each after their convictions for a brutal robbery were quashed.
It's the end of a seven year ordeal for the women, nine months of which they
were locked up
three girls are the victims of the Police.
The NZ Government have been able to treat them shabbily with regard
to compensation because they are young and Maori, and their case has been
publicised in a relatively low profile manner by the media.
2006-0110 - NZ Herald - Trio fail
in court quest for more compo
judge agreed, ruling that the Government criteria and guidelines "mesh
coherently and ... compensate for all the heads of loss identified against
the aggravating and mitigating factors listed". "They are not
unworkable, they are not arbitrary and they are not unfair. Nor can Cabinet's
decision be assailed on the basis that Ms McDonald misapplied the criteria.
She did not. She applied the criteria accurately."
He ruled that the girls'
case must fail, adding that declaratory relief would have been of doubtful
use to the claimants because "ultimately it is for the Cabinet to say on
what terms it will make compensatory payments that it has no duty to make,
and to which the claimants have no enforceable right"
Cabinet has the full responsibility for the mean spirited compensation
offer that the three girls were offered.
2006-0110 - Stuff - Wrongly
jailed women lose bid for more compensation
young women wrongly jailed for a crime they did not commit have failed in a
High Court bid for more Government compensation. Lucy Akatere, Tania Vini and
McCushla Fuataha each served seven months after being falsely convicted of
the aggravated robbery of a 16-year-old girl in Three Kings shopping mall in
August 1999. Ms Vini and Ms Fuataha were 14 at the time and Ms Akatere was
girls' lawyers maintained in the High Court at Auckland that the
Government's criteria and guidelines were irrational, unprincipled,
unworkable, arbitrary and unfair. However, the Attorney-General
argued that the method used to calculate compensation complied with the guidelines.
Furthermore the Attorney-General's lawyers argued, the court had no ability
to review the criteria as the Crown was under no duty to make any payment, as
payments were made ex gratia.
The Government arbitrarily invented the "guidelines", and this case
is the first case in which the guidelines have been used.
This site agrees completely with the girls' lawyers opinion about the
2006-0109 - One News - Wrongly
jailed teens lose appeal
Auckland teenagers wrongly jailed for a vicious attack six years ago have
lost a bid to get more compensation from the government. Lucy Akatere, Tania
Vini, and Krishla Fuataha appealed the $130,000 they were offered for the
time they spent behind bars. And now they could end up losing money instead….
On Monday they learned not only has the court rejected their bid for more
compensation, the government has every right to seek legal costs from them.