Lifting Rewa’s stay of prosecution

There is no doubt that Malcolm Rewa has committed some despicable crimes. However he has not been found guilty of the murder of Susan Burdett in 1992, despite two trials, the second in 1998 (he was found guilty of rape).

Now moves to re-try Rewa have raised legal eyebrows.

RNZ:  Lifting Rewa’s stay of prosecution ‘unprecedented’

A move to revise a stay of prosecution on serial rapist Malcolm Rewa for the murder of Susan Burdett has not been done in New Zealand before, the Criminal Bar Association president says.

Police described the case as a “complex legal situation,” and the Criminal Bar Association’s president Len Anderson said as far as he knows, it has never been done before.

Police said yesterday Solicitor General Una Jagose had reviewed the stay of prosecution and would now apply to the High Court to re-try Rewa.

In a statement, police said the legal case was “without precedent” and they were following advice from Crown Law on what they needed to do.

“The next steps will be to seek leave of the High Court to file a fresh indictment.”

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said a team of homicide detectives was now working on the case, in the event that a third trial was granted.

Mr Anderson said he was not aware of a situation where a stay had been lifted.

“The expectation was once a stay was granted that was it. That was the end of the matter like a conviction or acquittal.”

He said the case had “very usual circumstances” because someone was already serving time for Ms Burdett’s murder during Rewa’s first and second trial.

“I would have thought that if there was a situtation where it was appropiate for the stay to be lifted then this would be it. The question is can it be done. Obviously, Crown Law has decided they can lift it.”

Burdett was murdered 25 years ago, so it is a long time later to prosecute for it. I wonder why now?

Also from RNZ:

3D on Malcolm Rewa

3 News is promising revealtions on Malcolm Rewa tonight on 3D (6.30pm). They are promoting the news in advance:

Malcolm Rewa family member: ‘We know what went down

A member of Malcolm Rewa’s family has come forward with new evidence against him in the unsolved Susan Burdett murder case.

He has told 3D Investigates he is prepared to testify against Rewa in any fresh prosecution.

“I would give evidence,” the man told the programme. “We know what went down and how it happened.”

3D Investigates will tonight reveal fresh information about Rewa’s involvement in the 1992 rape and murder of Burdett in her Papatoetoe home.

The family member, one of two witnesses with new details, says he wants to apologise to the Burdett family.

“I apologise for what has happened. They lost a loved one and I wouldn’t like it to happen to my family. And I don’t mind helping the family.

“I should’ve been a man enough way back and come forward.”

Yes, he should have been man enough way back. But better very late than never.

Rewa, jailed in 1998 for attacks against 25 women, faced two trials for murdering Burdett. He was convicted of raping her, but neither jury could agree on whether he was guilty of murder.
The complicating factor in the Rewa case was that another man, Teina Pora, had previously been found guilty of killing her.

Pora spent twenty years in Paremoremo prison. Possibly because one or more people remained silent. Until now perhaps.

UPDATE after 3D screened – two pieces of information.

Susan Burdett murder: Witness saw Malcolm Rewa on the night

A witness who lived in a house just down the road from Ms Burdett at the time of the murder saw Rewa parked in his truck in her driveway on his own on that night, and that evidence has never been heard.

She says she opened the curtain on the night of the murder and saw Rewa parked in his truck in her driveway, on his own, with nobody else around.

Up till now, there has only been physical evidence – DNA of semen – connecting Rewa with Ms Burdett. There were no fingerprints, no eyewitnesses, and Rewa claimed in his defence that he was at home on the night.

So to now have an eyewitness who saw him in Ms Burdett’s street, on his own, without Mr Pora, is a breakthrough.

And:

In video the police took in 1992 at the scene of the crime, a bat can be seen on Ms Burdett’s bed. The prosecution has previously said the bat belonged to her.

“Yeah the old baseball bat,” says Mr Manapiri, “I first saw that when I come back from Australia.”

“[Rewa] had a Holden, and he took me up to Ruakaka on it – him and his daughter – and I seen that baseball bat quite often … it’s the old colour of the old baseball bat what he used to carry.

“That’s the one. And I seen it quite often. He used to carry it in his van and stuff like that too.

“He used to beat his dogs and he was in the gang, and I suppose that was his weapon.

“I’m telling you that’s his bat left at the scene and, you know, that shows that he did it.”

Mr Manapiri says he told the police at the time. He can even describe the policeman he spoke to, but it never appears in any of the police records

This looks like significant new evidence that may justify re-opening the case.

It also raises concernes that the Police may not have recorded important information given to them during the investigation.