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'You can be sure he's guilty': Malcolm Rewa trial wraps up

Sam Hurley, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thursday, 21 February 2019, 3:47p.m.
Malcolm Rewa's guilt was asserted by the Crown Prosecutor. (Photo / NZ Herald)

"You can be sure he's guilty of murder."

Those are the words of Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes as he addresses the jury considering the third trial of Malcolm Rewa for the final time this morning.

"The accused, Malcolm Rewa, entered Susan Burdett's home uninvited … he raped her, he murdered her," Kayes said to begin his address.

During the past two weeks in the High Court at Auckland, all the evidence the Crown and defence could muster has been delivered.

But it told two different stories about the killing of the 39-year-old accounts clerk in her Papatoetoe home in March 1992.

"You can be sure he's guilty of murder for two main reasons," Kayes said of Rewa. "The first is that the attack on Susan Burdett had all the hallmarks of a typical Rewa sexual assault."

Crown prosecutor Gareth Kayes. Photo / Michael CraigCrown prosecutor Gareth Kayes. Photo / Michael Craig

Rewa was convicted of Burdett's rape in 1998 - but two juries that year were unable to decide whether he was also responsible for her death.

The 65-year-old serial rapist, who is serving a preventative detention sentence for raping several women in the 80s and 90s, had a "very distinctive way of sexually assaulting women", Kayes said.

"Susan Burdett was attacked in that very same distinctive way."

The second reason, Kayes explained, was Rewa's semen being found inside Burdett.

"The accused claims that he was in a secret sexual relationship with Susan Burdett," he said.

But it was not consensual sex in the living room of Rewa's house, just hours before Burdett was killed, Kayes suggested.

"He has made up this whole story, he's trying to explain away a very difficult piece of evidence."

Rewa's lawyer, Paul Chambers, has accused Burdett's son Dallas McKay of killing his mum for financial gain.

An allegation both Kayes and McKay have categorised as a lie.

"The Crown says that every aspect of the defence case is demonstrably false," Kayes said.

Yesterday, Winsome Ansty told the court Burdett - her "best friend" - had asked her to keep a secret about a man she was seeing.

"You might have thought that the description of the Māori man, maybe that's got something to do with the accused?" Kayes told the jury today.

But, Kayes said the mystery man was in fact another man Burdett had met while tenpin bowling - a competitive sport she loved.

"There was some confusion among Susan Burdett's friends about a Māori man from bowling," Kayes said.

Ansty's evidence was "wholly unreliable", he said.

"She has got the whole thing hopelessly garbled."

Rewa, Kayes said, also displayed "inconsistencies" in his evidence from the third trial and the previous two in 1998.

"He has tried to embellish lies he had already told in other trials," the prosecutor told the jury.

Lies, Kayes alleged, which stretched from the type of vehicle Rewa had at the time to the thickness of the toilet paper at his home to help Rewa corroborate his evidence.

When Rewa gave evidence earlier this week, the first time he has done so on camera, he detailed he claimed relationship with Burdett.



When talking of the night Burdett was killed, Rewa said they had split an ecstasy pill together before having sex on his couch.

Rewa's 8-year-old and 5-year-old children where also allegedly in the house.

"Do you really think Susan Burdett took half a pill of ecstasy after all the evidence you've heard?" Kayes asked the jury, while alluding to friends of Burdett's who have said she didn't have predilection for drugs or alcohol.

"It's a fiction ... The accused's version just doesn't have the ring of truth around it."

While it was an agreed fact Rewa had met Burdett at her workplace, Kayes asked: "Do you really think she was having a relationship with Malcolm Rewa? [The] sergeant at arms, or a high-ranking member of a bike club."

Kayes alleges Rewa climbed through Burdett's window and surprised her as she was getting ready for bed on March 23, before he raped, and murdered her with the baseball bat she kept for protection.

The court has also heard how Teina Pora was twice wrongly convicted for murdering Burdett on the back of a false confession.

He spent 22 years in prison before the Privy Council quashed his conviction in 2015 and has since received an apology from the Government and $3.5 million in compensation.

Rewa's current trial was able to proceed after a 1998 stay of proceedings for a murder prosecution was reversed two years ago by the Deputy Solicitor-General.

A stay had never before been lifted in New Zealand's legal history.


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