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Alan Hall case: Reviews into role Crown lawyers, police might have played nearly complete

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Alan Hall’s conviction for the 1985 murder of Arthur Easton was quashed in June.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Various reviews into whether state lawyers and police were complicit in the Alan Hall miscarriage of justice case will be done in the next few months.

In June, the Supreme Court quashed his conviction for the murder of Arthur Easton, saying evidence was deliberately altered, interviewing was unfair and it amounted to a substantial miscarriage of justice.

It said there was either extreme incompetence or a deliberate strategy to achieve a conviction.

Hall spent nearly two decades behind bars, and his lawyer Nick Chisnall said information key to his convictions being quashed had been available to the court for decades.

Mike White of Stuff reported that in 2018 and 2020, Newshub journalist Mike Wesley-Smith – who made a podcast about the case – also gave evidence to Crown Law that raised serious problems with the case, but was rebuffed.

There have been a number of probes into whether police and lawyers involved in the case committed criminal acts or perverted justice.

Police said on Wednesday they have finished their review of the original 1985 investigation and are deciding on the next steps.

They said their second inquiry – into the failure to disclose evidence – is very complex, but should be done early next year.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority said it was drafting its report on the case, and expected to be done about the same time.

A month has passed since the Solicitor-General got the report it commissioned from a King’s Counsel.

Nicolette Levy KC’s investigation covers all Crown lawyers’ involvement in prosecuting the case from 1985 until 2022. It would cover both what lawyers did and did not do.

A spokesperson for Solicitor-General Una Jagose said she remained committed to sharing the findings at an “appropriate time”.

Alan Hall told Checkpoint in September he looks forward to those responsible for his conviction being prosecuted.

Meanwhile, a decision on compensation for Hall could come in late January or February, Alan’s brother Geoff Hall said.

Family can wait if it means truth will be revealed

Geoff said Alan was content to wait a few more months if it meant the truth could finally come out. He said the family could be patient.

“We are happy with the effort that’s been put in, we knew it was going to take a long time.

“There is a lot of evidence, there is a lot of work they have to do.”

Hall said he was also expecting a decision on compensation for his brother in late January or February.

Historical investigations complex – police

Police said the second review regarding disclosure was complex because of the amount of time that has passed.

“This includes locating people, reconstructing events and decisions that were made at the time, and comparing them against the operating and legal model that existed in the 1980s, which has seen considerable amount of modifications over the last 35 years.

“It is important that the investigation is thorough and as much information is able to be gathered in fairness to all parties involved.

“Police anticipate this will be completed early next year. However, as with all investigations, time frames do change depending on the information obtained, availability of interested parties, and follow-up enquiries. “

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