WELLINGTON - A New Zealand man, who spent 10 years in prison for a murder the Court of Appeal found he did not commit, was denied compensation Thursday after a lawyer’s report that he probably had carried out the crime.
Justice Minister Simon Power told reporters the lawyer who investigated the case found that Rex Haig had ‘not established his innocence on the balance of probability’.
Haig was convicted in 1995 of murdering Mark Roderique, a crewman on his fishing boat, the previous year. He spent 10 years in prison before his conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal, which found an ‘evidential basis’ to suggest that another crewmate, David Hogan, who is Haig’s nephew, might have been the killer.
Haig asked for compensation from the government, which appointed senior lawyer Robert Fisher to investigate the case before agreeing to a payout.
Power said in releasing his findings, ‘Fisher found it was more probable than not that Haig participated, together with his nephew David Hogan, in the murder of Roderique’.
He said the lawyer found that Haig was not a credible witness and had motive and opportunity to commit the murder.
Haig told the New Zealand Herald that he was disappointed ‘but I’m used to them going against me, so it’s no big shock’.