Alan Hall’s family hope report into ‘severe miscarriage of justice’ will hold power to account

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Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

The family of Alan Hall, a man who spent 19 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, hope a report investigating the Crown’s role in his case will hold those responsible to account.

However, the findings of that investigation, conducted by barrister Nicolette Levy KC, remain unknown while Solicitor-General Una Jagose ponders the report’s contents.

Hall’s 37-year-fight was deemed one of the most “severe miscarriages of justice” in New Zealand.

It is not known when, or if, the report will be released publicly and to the family, but Hall’s brother Geoff Hall said after years of considering the Crown to be their “mortal enemy” the family support the approach to withhold the findings – for now.

Geoff told Open Justice the report was a lynchpin in his brother’s road to closure, after a long and painful road to clear his name.

“At the end of the day, we’re seeking closure for Alan, and we believe this report is an important and crucial part of Alan’s journey to that,” Geoff said.

“We have been let down by Crown Law prior to 2020 continuously … we are now comfortable that they are doing the right thing by Alan, Arthur Easton, and the New Zealand public.”

Alan Hall's brothers Greg, Geoff and Robert speak outside the Supreme Court.

Alan Hall’s brothers Greg, Geoff and Robert speak outside the Supreme Court. (File photo). Photo: RNZ

Hall was convicted of the 1985 murder of Papakura man Arthur Easton and the wounding of Easton’s son, and spent almost two decades behind bars for the crimes.

Hall’s conviction was quashed in June and he walked away from the Supreme Court with his name finally cleared. Since then, multiple investigations into the case have been opened.

The Crown admitted there was a severe miscarriage of justice in Hall’s case, and evidence used at trial to convict Hall was “materially altered” with key details omitted.

When the investigation into the Crown’s involvement was announced, Jagose said there was a significant miscarriage of justice for Hall, and she took that fact seriously.

“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 in June.

“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.

“Plainly, as the Crown’s submission to the Supreme Court acknowledges, the criminal justice system has failed in this case.

Last night the Solicitor-General’s executive adviser, Elizabeth Underhill, said in a statement that once Jagose had read the report she would consider whether it, or a summary, might be made available to Hall, the Easton family, and other interested parties including the public.

“It is the Solicitor-General’s view that Mr Hall, Mr Easton’s family, and the public need to understand the factors that led to the significant miscarriage of justice in this case.”

Hall wanted to see those who contributed to his wrongful conviction held accountable.

Although the contents of the report are unknown, Geoff believed it might be damning to the Crown’s conduct throughout his brother’s case and might lift the lid on “old school policing”.

He said it was crucial to hold representatives of the public, like the Crown prosecution service, to account.

“Any prosecutor worth their salt to be a representative of the people and of victims should have looked at what the police were handing them and said no.

“Their integrity is crucial. They need to be strong enough and brave enough to say ‘no I’m not doing that’ and take it higher … if they sense if something’s not right in a police investigation,” Geoff Hall said.

The Hall family said they had done the “hard yards” proving their brother’s innocence and it was now up to those investigating the injustices to take accountability.

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