One of New Zealand’s most disturbing real-life crime stories is to be transformed into a Drama for TV ONE’s Sunday Theatre slot.
“Until Proven Innocent”, the story of David Dougherty and the three strangers who fought to get him a pardon for a crime he didn’t commit, is to be made into a feature length film by Lippy Pictures Ltd with a New Zealand on Air grant of $1.35 million.
David Dougherty was found guilty and jailed in 1992 for the abduction, sexual violation and rape of an 11 year old girl.
Three people who had never met him became convinced of his innocence – journalist Donna Chisholm, lawyer Murray Gibson, and scientist Arie Geursen – and began a crusade to overturn his conviction.
The drama will recount their four year battle, through two trials, two high court appeals and a petition to the Governor General, to get him pardoned.
Their efforts were vindicated in 2002 when another man, Nicholas Reekie, was convicted of the crime.
The David Dougherty case is sometimes referred to as ‘the other Arthur Alan Thomas’ because in many ways it mirrors that earlier wrongful conviction.
“Until Proven Innocent” is written and produced by Donna Malane and Paula Boock, who worked together as producer and writer respectively of the highly-rated New Zealand dramas “Insiders Guide to Happiness” and “Insiders Guide to Love”.
The drama is expected to go to air on Sunday Theatre in the first half of 2009.