WELLINGTON (Web Desk) – New Zealand’s government on Wednesday agreed to pay a record amount to a man who spent more than 20 years in prison for a murder and rape he did not commit.
Teina Pora, 41, will get $2.5m (US$1.8 million) from the government after wrongly spending 2 decades in jail, the New Zealand Herald reports.
Pora was earlier wrongly convicted of the 1992 rape and murder of Susan Burdett.
The case hinged on a confession that Pora made to police that placed him at the crime scene.
Justice Minister Amy Adams announced on Wednesday afternoon Pora will receive a record $2.5 million compensation payout, which was approved by Cabinet this week.
She also wrote to Pora to “unreservedly apologise” for the wrongful conviction and the “devastating impact” it has had on his life.
“I acknowledge that over the past two decades you have suffered considerably, including the many years you spent away from your young daughter,” Adams wrote in her formal apology, adding that she hoped the compensation would help him and his family build a better future.
Pora’s lawyers told media that they’d hoped for a larger compensation offer but their client was grateful to receive the formal apology.
A government-commissioned report said Pora was lured into the confession by the prospect of a reward and because his judgment was “befuddled” by the fetal alcohol syndrome that he suffers from. Fetal alcohol syndrome is a condition of impaired mental functioning for babies whose mothers drank with them in the womb.
Another man was solely responsible for the crimes, according to the media reports.