The solicitor-general announced an investigation into Hall's wrongful conviction
The Supreme Court has acquitted Alan Hall of murder.
In a decision delivered on 8 June, the court declined to order a retrial after Crown Law admitted earlier this year that the evidence used to convict Hall was altered significantly. The court entered an immediate verdict for Hall’s acquittal.
In 1986, Hall was convicted of the fatal stabbing of 52-year-old Arthur Easton and spent nearly 19 years in prison. Hall repeatedly appealed his case and was unsuccessful until Crown Law confessed in an 8 April submission for his latest appeal that information favourable to Hall’s defence was intentionally removed from an eyewitness statement.
In an article published by Radio New Zealand, Chief Justice Dame Helen Winkelmann said that “significant parts of the criminal justice process” had failed Hall.
“As to why that is so, the Crown accepts that such departures from accepted standards must either be the result of extreme incompetence or of a deliberate and wrongful strategy to secure conviction,” she said.
The NZ Herald reported that solicitor-general Una Jagose has since announced that an investigation would be opened into the role of all Crown lawyers involved in Hall’s case. The independent investigation will be led by Wellington criminal barrister Nicolette Levy QC.
“I am determined to find out why and how Mr Hall, Mr Easton and both their families have been so severely let down by the justice system,” Jagose said. “My focus now is on understanding how the Crown’s role in this miscarriage occurred and why the criminal justice system failed to remedy it earlier.”
Family spokesperson Geoff Hall said that Alan Hall would now consider seeking compensation for his wrongful sentence. According to Radio New Zealand, Hall could receive up to $3m in compensation if he can show it is “more likely than not” that he is innocent.