Thursday, January 9, 2020

Guest Post: LUNDY COPS CHEAT

Guest post from Phillip (assumed name) on why Mark Lundy's 2nd trial was no fairer than the 1st.

 

                                                         Lundy Cops Cheat

It is incredible that the police would even consider that a scenario involving a 7:00pm time of deaths to be a realistic possibility, particularly when there was no possible way that Lundy could have made a return trip between Petone and Palmerston Nth and carry out the murders between 5:38pm and 8:13pm, and when there was clear evidence that Christine was still alive at 10:52pm. The police will have assumed on day one of their investigation that the killings probably took place at 11:45pm because the next door neighbour, who was first interviewed just 4 hours after the bodies were discovered, heard a commotion outside at that time. He was interviewed again three days later, and for a third time on 24th September.



Mark would have been routinely listed as a suspect. A few days would have passed before the telephone listings arrived from Telecom and they must have been hugely disappointed to find that Mark had a clear alibi for 11:45pm because the listings showed calls were made from Petone on Mark's cellphone at 11:26pm and 11:46pm. Little wonder then that the prosecution opted not to mention the time of 11:45pm to the jury at either of the two trials. Instead, they claimed that the murders took place at 7:00pm during the first trial and "After 2:00am" at the retrial. The change of time shows that the police used false evidence at the first trial because there was clear evidence available which cleared Mark from being culpable, but the use of this false evidence – the claimed manipulation of the computer clock and the high-speed trip to the Lundy home – both of which never happened, meant that the first jury was misled.



The time available for the supposed high-speed trip from Petone and back was not 3 hours but 2 hrs 48 mins according to Telecom listings of phone calls he made from Petone. Police must have done the arithmetic and therefore knew the trip both ways was clearly impossible but proceeded anyway with a 7:00pm time of deaths. Dr. Pang's original estimate of time of death was just one hour from the 6:00pm meal because digestion had not begun, which suited the police case, but he had to change it for the retrial to a new estimate of "up to fourteen hours" to cover the new time of death of 3:00am next day. Why did the police suppress from the jury the time at which the next-door neighbour heard a commotion outside which he described as something falling over and a smashing sound at 11:45pm?






Friday, January 3, 2020

NZ's Worst Convictions 2020

What lingers in 2020 on the list on NZ's worst convictions and what may happen to them this year.

A conclusion or a step toward a conclusion.
Heading this list are 3 with oldest first:

David Tamihere convicted of the 1990 murders of 2 Swedish tourists largely on the evidence of 3 secret prison witnesses. After his convictions, the body of one of the tourists Urban Hoglin was found buried inland wearing his watch which police had claimed to have found in the home of Tamihere after the secret witnesses had claimed Tamihere told them he'd dumped the bodies at sea. Despite that Court of Appeal (COA) denied Tamihere's appeal. 2 years ago 1 of the 3 witnesses was convicted on 8 charges of perjury relating to the case by private prosecution, the 2 other witnesses are being searched for by the private prosecutors remarkably without police being willing to help.
The case against David is a wreck now and he has an application filed under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy (RPOM) which must surely result in either a pardon or referral to the COA to get it right this time.

Peter Ellis. The Supreme Court is pondering the 1993 case of Peter Ellis and the situation whereas the right of appeal ceasing with death but Justices Joe Williams and Susan Glazebrook threw a curveball into the arguments from both sides when they suggested that New Zealand didn't need to follow decisions set in any other country, and could establish an entirely new rule based on Tikanga Maori, being the Maori way of doing things and preserving culture. Specifically that the mana of dead is to be protected. Hence it could settle the issue of what is broadly seen as Peter being falsely convicted in a manner of interviewers inviting children to agree with an interviewer's suggestions or to make up and say things which appear incomprehensible with no supporting facts.
For the Court to claim credit for this seems mischievous because the Chief Mokomoko was pardoned in 1993 for being allegedly involved in the murder of the missionary Karl Volkner in the 1800s by the Justice Minister of the time Doug Graham possibly using the Royal Prerogative of Mercy, which is still law, whatever the case Mokomoko was pardoned lifting the burden from his family and seeing his mana restored.
A second chief Kereopa said to be involved in Volkner's death was pardoned in 2014 as part of the Ngati Rangiwewehi Treaty of Waitangi settlement.
Clearly, Peter should be posthumously pardoned to restore his mana, that of his family and finally relieve the NZ Justice system of a long term contempt by many New Zealanders over Peter's prosecution.

Scott Watson Another case made a mess of my the COA shortly enters its 3rd year of review by way of RPOM. A mystery ketch said not to have existed is tracked and confirmed by both witnesses and nautical experts. A 'mystery man' has been explained and it is not Scott Watson. A claim by the Crown that Scott made a 2nd trip ashore, after the Crown failed to prove Scott had ever met the couple let alone have them come aboard his yacht the Blade is debunked. That is despite the COA inventing evidence of the '2nd trip[ that never happened when dismissing the Watson appeal 2 decades ago. In the meantime, the 'magic and telling' critical evidence of 2 hairs said by 'comparison analysis' to belong to one of the victims, Olivia Hope, has been shown to be a junk science method - also revealing that the 2 hairs could not be those of Olivia.
Like the Tamihere case, where it is said perjury goes to the heart of a conviction, junk science does so equally devastatingly,  it can be expected Scott's case will be resolved in some fashion by the RPOM either by a pardon or a referral to the COA.
Scott's case remains of high public interest since a number of books and documentaries including the most recent 'Doubt,' the deepest look into the case so far where the NZ public got to hear from witnesses who saw the mystery ketch but were never called by police, being ignored instead and one whose account was changed without her knowledge.

On the horizon cases:

Rex Haig. Any changes by the Supreme Court by virtue of posthumously pardon for Peter Ellis or even arguments against in a negative decision may open the door for Rex's family and possibly supporter Mike Kalaugher. It was Kalaugher, who along with Arthur Taylor, successfully prosecuted witness C in the Tamihere case and letting the public know his name, Robert Conchie Harris - now recognised as a life-long police informer who gained early parole for lying about an alleged 'confession' by Tamihere.
There is a long term issue remaining with the Haig case and that is the office of the Solicitor General refusing to confirm that it knew that the primary witness against Rex had confessed to the murder he later accused Rex of committing.

Gail Maney prosecuted for the disappearance of a fisherman, Deane Fuller-Sandys in a case where the body was never found but items, probably belonging to the man was on the shoreline or washed ashore. She is now having her case looked at by Auckland Lawyer and QC Julie Anne Kincaide with Tim McKinnell the ex-police detective that opened up the Pora case. Maney's convictions for Fuller-Sandy's death and that of Leah Stephens have been described as one of the worst yet miscarriages of Justice, and I think the public is going to be in for a shocking surprise. Men high on the suspect list for the murder of Leah Stephens were granted immunity for evidence against Gail and a man still in prison for the murders of both. Stephen Stone. Police had offered Gail immunity but she refused to give false evidence for a crime she didn't know about and 1 that may not have happened. Gail's case besides having no physical proof that can withstand scrutiny relies on the premise that she somehow had the capacity to 'order the death' of Fuller-Sandys by a man she hadn't met at the time. The case matches Watson for police malfeasance and many of the cases of the others here for the COA's rubber stamp of dodgy as convictions.

Mark Lundy. The case was thrown out last month by the highest Court in one of the most poorly understood uses of 'junk science' imaginable. The court flattered itself with the misunderstanding of a forensic junk science immunohistochemistry (IHC) crowning itself as the only Court in the world thick enough to allow IHC to be used. Not only that, but the Court explained what IHC did as a function in clinical biological testing on the known matter before saying that IHC, therefore, was able to do the same in a forensic science setting where the biological matter was unknown, aged and rotten. While ignoring hard fingernail DNA evidence taken from the nails of the 2 victims and analysed as coming from 2 unknown males. Victim fingernail DNA is resulting in scores of wrongful conviction cases in the United States to be overturned. Ironically, it was in the States where an attempt was made to use IHC evidence, but it was rejected at trial and upheld in the State appeal court. The case with a very little public objection to the double murder convictions is thought to be over for Mark Lundy. Nothing could be further from the truth.



.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

All roads for Mark Lundy head to Texas and back to London's Privy Council

All roads for Mark Lundy head to Texas and back to London's Privy Council

New Zealand Courts can't deal with the Lundy case just as they could not deal with the Thomas, Watson, Tamihere, Pora, Haig and Maney cases. Small town complex, need to support the police? You decide.

A popular view of the Law in Texas may have been for years symbolised as 'hang em high.' But that view internationally is changing. The arch-villain in the Lundy case is a Texas IHC clinician Dr Rodney Miller who cooked up all the controversy in the Lundy case. The Mark Lundy case is identified by many as relying on 'junk science.' But what is not widely appreciated is that it wasn't only questionable science but the entire process that led to its use, there is nothing about its use that does not ring an alarm. Both the NZ Court of Appeal (COA) and the Supreme Court (SC) refused to hear arguments against its validity relying on new evidence since the Lundy retrial, after which they used the IHC to uphold the conviction. That should be cause for concern for every New Zealander whatever their opinion on the Lundy case might be. Lundy was not given fair appeals and whilst every New Zealander has the right to a fair trial, Lundy has never had one free of controversial science, and never has he been successful at any appeal here. The right to a fair trial is implicitly also the right to a fair appeal,

But let's consider the Texas connection to the Lundy case. First of all, when what was supposed to be fragile central nervous system tissue (CNS) found on Lundy's shirt, it wasn't recognized as being such but for some reason the shirt instead of being placed in the custody of the exhibits officer with every other exhibit, it was put into the safe of the officer in charge Grantham - who would later say he did that because he didn't want Lundy to find out about it. How Lundy was going to find out about the location of his own shirt, which he had freely admitted wearing, was never explained. That would result in the shirt traveling to a Texas with Gratham to Miller's lab. Despite worldwide literature saying their tests should never have taken place, they ‘proved’ the shirt had CNS (or perhaps something like it)in 2 microscopic spots. They didn’t do that with orthodox forensic science or anything anywhere near it.

The term 'forensic safety chain' is where evidence is kept safe from contamination, manipulation or deterioration.  As an example something like CNS, or suspected CNS would immediately be treated with formaldehyde or some similar product to prevent its deterioration for further deterioration because CNS immediately starts to degrade when its blood supply has stopped and contact with air is made. That stopping of deterioration is termed as ‘fixing’ or setting in place the condition of the specimen in order that it may be tested in as near its original ‘live’ condition as possible. In practical terms, the window to do that 'fixing' would be minutes rather than hours. The forensic safety chain was amok from the beginning and would never get on track - yet our Courts have continued to ignore that to the point of becoming impatient about it even after information came from Texas after the retrial that a stolen sample brain had been converted from its intended use to support retesting in the Lundy case. But that wasn't the first time Texas was raised in this case and will not be the last.

Here we go back to the beginning, well in fact 59 days after the Lundy shirt had been kept in Grantham's safe so that Lundy wouldn't find out about it. What you would think was the primary evidence had been overlooked. A cynic would say, however, that something that had happened in both the controversial cases of Arthur Allan Thomas and that of Scott Watson was happening again. Progress with the case wasn't being made and police needed evidence so the shirt got searched - or at least looked at by staff from the Environmental Science (and) Research (ESR). None could determine what 2 small stains were, some spoke of necrotic deterioration, some recorded notes to that effect (and later changed them), one, Dr. Teoh's opinion, was hidden - he said no man should be convicted on such deteriorated material. So right from the outset of the investigation if things had been bad, they had got worse and that would continue until long after the retrial.

To their credit, the ESR people said they could not test the shirt spots – that they were too far gone into deterioration. But 1 of those present, Temple Camp (who would later change his prognosis and be dropped as a witness after the 1st trial probably due to the vulnerability of his credibility) suggested a Dr. Miller, the Texas Pathologist mentioned earlier, with no forensic science experience. Grantham was desperate enough to use a trained monkey by then as there was other evidence in the case pointing away from Mark Lundy. That body of evidence is important and it is an absolute blight on the SC that they dismissed it with the simple comment 'not cogent'. We shall return to that evidence later and yes, its Texas connection to (fingernail) DNA exonerations a worldwide trend.

For 'cogency' as to the condition of the shirt material, we will take but 2 opinions (from many), 1 from a prosecution witness and a 2nd from a defence witness offered to the Privy Council as to the fragility of brain matter or CNS outside the body (noting again that when the NZ clinicians were looking at the shirt stain the alleged CNS had been out of the body for 59 days and not 'fixed' in formaldehyde:

Dr. Du Plessis for the Prosecution said at trial that brain tissue was one of the organs that start rotting most quickly or rapidly.

The evidence of Professor Sheard for the Defence before the Privy Council was that the subject specimens were poorly fixed and necrotic. Professor Sheard referred to research showing that brain proteins are subject to progressive degradation after they are removed from the body.

So the experts were in agreement to some extent. Here the case takes a twist. How could rapidly deteriorating CNS not be rotten after so long? The Crown experts, despite Du Plessis agreeing about degradation times. said that the shirt spots had been 'air-dried.' Most people would know that the month of August in New Zealand is deep winter - as cold and wet as it gets. Far from a suitable place to air-dry something outside a lab. So how did this material air-dry? No one can say short of it being speedily wiped on the shirt somehow or as it flew through the air. No effort was made to prove in the laboratory how it could have possibly air-dried. So the Jury was asked to buy into sheer nonsense that the Crown made no known attempt to prove the probability of.

Rather than troubling ourselves with that let's look at some literature and evidence given on the claim as to accidental smearing to enable air drying:

The Journal Endoscopic Ultrasound in 2014 “Preparation of Smeared Specimen” describes smearing as a well- crafted technique and one that should be performed by personnel who have the acquired skill to create a single layer of cells within a minimal to no distortion” The article notes that the significance of correct smearing cannot be over emphasised as smearing error leads to tissue lost, artefacts and interpretation difficulty.

So it is clear, the Crown alleges that Lundy was able to smear biological material onto a non-flat surface made of shirt fibre. If that could be believed as the Crown asked, then we are to assume that Lundy also had the necessary equipment to do so and took particular care in the preservation of material in a moist environment nowhere near a heat controlled lab.

So what really happens to allegedly air-dry samples for testing? The Journal of Cervical Cyteology 2000 says in relation to cell fixation that it creates critical problems.



“Immediate fixation of the cellular material, within seconds of specimen collection, is necessary to prevent air drying. Air drying obscures cellular detail and compromises specimen evaluation. Immersing the slide or spraying with fixative can prevent the problem.”

I don’t think that even the Supreme Court, who remember appear to have never even bothered to read the 65-page warning as to the use of IHC in a forensic setting, would believe that Lundy could have so easily achieved accidental air-drying as described above. But that claim had been before the Court and was in the trial transcript. Perhaps they just wished to avoid such information and keep Lundy’s case off the abysmal New Zealand record of wrongful convictions in major cases.

The Supreme Court needed to understand the perils of IHC and air-dried material before they used the Proviso supported by the IHC. Before upholding Lundy’s convictions and not ordering a retrial they may have more carefully read what the Privy Council considered on this from a Dr Whitwell who told that Court that the state of “preservation on the samples was extremely poor and that a diagnosis of its exact nature was impossible.”

Next, we go to Dako, the FDA approved the largest manufacture of the ‘stains’ or anti-bodies in the world to determine  the suitability of their product to be used on allegedly ‘air-dried’ material:



“……because the first steps of tissue handling arguably dictate the quality of the results, more than do any steps that follows.. necrotic degradation begins immediately once the tissue is separated from the source of nutrients, so the time to processing is often quite critical. For most IHC procedures, it is imperative that tissue not dry out."


We can see from this not only the improbability of the shirt stain air drying by itself or Mark Lundy somehow facilitating the process. But the literature is clear on the total undesirability and unsuitability of IHC testing on air-dried materials. So the implausible explanation forwarded by the Crown for dried out samples, in fact, did not solve a problem but created another – Dako says don’t use our product on air-dried biological matter.

So at this point, we are 4 steps along the way:
Critical evidence outside the forensic safety chain.
NZ specialists saying the material can’t be tested.
An explanation that degraded material was accidentally air-dried.
The manufacturer Dako saying don’t stain air-dried biological material with our product.

The next 2 steps encompass the correct stain being used on the alleged CNS. That is a stain specifically produced and approved for use with a specific tissue, brain, kidney or liver for example. Then the quantity of the dosage.

Before considering those steps here is a list as to why Miller should not have been doing forensic testing at all apart from his willingness to claim that anti-body stains were brain-specific when they were not, but also his increase of recommended dosages to achieve the readings he wanted. Simply if Miller was using a red dye in a basin full of water where it said 2 capfuls of dye was required to prove that the water was safe for some medical procedure where he had a required result in mind, he would simply keep adding more capfuls of dye until the colour changed. :

No forensic training or accreditation.
His lab did not have forensic accreditation and was not of a forensic standard.
He would not have been permitted to give his disputed evidence in Texas.
His record-keeping was poor.
His ‘assistant’ was the officer in charge of the case Grantham, just to dispel any thoughts of scientific impartiality which Miller no doubt had never heard of.
He wrote emails indicating his bias and ignored court directions not to discuss his evidence with prosecutors during breaks in his evidence. He did this by asking the prosecutors to ask him a particular question to lessen the impact of some evidence he gave.
He refused to co-operate with information requests.
Despite writing that he knew that the donor ‘bucket brain’ was donated for specific use as for scientific purposes he had no hesitation to do otherwise, therefore, violating statutory regulation.



Dr Miller makes no reference to occasions where he would change the dilutions rates from  those specified by the manufacturer. The GLAP (BioGENX){a stain} recommends a dilution rate of 1:100-200. Dr Miller used 1:6400. The manufacturer of NEFN recommends a dilution ration of 1:50-100. Dr Miller used 1:800. That in itself raises a concern that Dr Miller felt free to conduct a process approved solely by himself in order to enhance the prospects of achieving what he considered to be the desired results.

The 4 brain ‘specific’ stains used by Miller (All abridged for simplicity)

            Synaptophysin (Manufacturer Dako)

Dayle wrote: Monoclonal antibodies (SY 38) to synaptophysin have now localised it in  adrenal medullary cells, the paraganglia and the neuroendocrine cells of the gut, pancreas and, lung and pituitary.

Synaptophysin can be a valuable adjunct as a generic marker not only for neuroendocrine tumours.

The Dako datasheet confirms SYN stains for neuroendocrine cells (which have neurons or glial astrocytic cells from the CNS) and lists eight types of cell it will react with including gastrointestinal mucosa. Neither the brain nor CNS cells are mentioned. The data sheets specifically records ‘synaptophysin is not fully understood in terms of what proteins will exactly do.


S100 (manufacturer Lab Vision)

The manufacturer indicates that S-100 will stain positive for skin, melanomas and the paratext of lymph nodes for a variety of cells including paracortex of lymph nodes. SPC lacks specificity for CNS.



GFAP The journal of Neuroscience: Astrocytes: Biology and Pathology at 2209 states;

‘There is ample evidence that GFAP is not an exclusive marker of astrocytes…GFAP is expressed widely in many tissues by a variety of cell types.’



Neurofilament (NEFN manufacturer Dako)

According to the Human Protein Atlas website this protein is detected at low or medium expression levels in colon and soft tissue.

The manufacturers describe NEFN as labelling neuronal processes and peripheral nerves. It is not specific for CNS.

In short none of the brain, ‘specific’ markers were specific to the brain despite that is what the Jury was told in a very convincing way by the Crown. The Courts have allowed those fallacies to stand despite they would have been strongly considered by 2  Juries although completely false. The mention of glial cells and skin is particularly important. Animals like humans have a 2nd brain: the stomach brain which has glial cells as does the brain.     

Several observers of the tissue claim to have seen glial (also found in the brain as well as the stomach) and skin cells. That fits with animal DNA found in the DNA shirt wash, but again nothing supports the claims that Miller was using brain-specific markers. Our Courts have never dealt with that despite that it was before both the COA and SC but set aside.  One might wonder why that was so unfairly done. The only thing it achieved was the lie that IHC could be relied upon to uphold the convictions once the other junk science mRNA had been ditched – having done its job for the Crown and ensured Lundy was re-convicted.

Before closing on this very long post I will return to Texas wherein 2013, that state, passed a ‘Junk Science Law’. That was with considerable help from the Texas Innocence Project. https://academic.oup.com/jlb/article/2/1/149/808685 From the Introduction.

“In the past decade or so, forensic science techniques have come under scrutiny, due to lack of nationwide laboratory standards, scarce research and methodology, incompetent and even unethical examiners, and overburdened laboratories. As a result, individuals and organisations, such as defence counsel, scientists, and the Innocence Project, have been advocating for reform not only within the discipline of forensic science but also within the justice system itself. Recognising the need for criminal justice reform, and continuing his mission to ‘bring about needed changes to the adult and juvenile criminal justice systems, in Feb 2013, Texas Senator, John Whitmore (Dem) authored Texas State Bill 344, allowing courts to grant convicted individuals habeas corpus relief based on faulty or discredited scientific evidence.’”

It goes on to speak about the ongoing tension between science and the courts and how the new law may provide insight into that conflict and the public’s understanding. Equally importantly it speaks about future-proofing the justice system. I take that meaning to include such persons as Miller, out to prove what those paying him wanted, ready to cut corners, break the law and lie to a Jury.

The Lundy case carries a vast overburden of deception and cutting of corners which our Courts appear to have turned a blind eye toward. NZ surely needs a ‘Junk Science Law’ or a Judiciary able to sort out the chaff from the wheat when police go shopping for evidence and find someone like Miller and ignore every corner he cuts – even appear to assist him in that.

But the Lundy case has a narrative of innocence that has been pushed off the page by junk science and lack of investigation by police. There is strong and compelling evidence of other offenders that the Supreme Court flicked away with the comment of ‘not cogent.’

For cogency in the Lundy case, we will look at the case of Lydell Grant who was last week exonerated for a murder he did not commit. DNA found under the nails of the victim was said by the state prosecutor’s science examiners to not exclude Mr. Grant. The Texas Innocence Project eventually got involved in the case, one of their first jobs was to retest the DNA. It found that not only was Mr. Grant excluded but the likely killer was identified. The District Attorney took the case over and within a short period arrested a man who confessed. Both Amber and Christine Lundy had the DNA of 2 unknown males under their nails, the police have never found those men and there is no record that the national database has ever been searched for a DNA match. The house was seen open late at night, unknown fingerprints were found – real evidence, not something dreamed up by the good Dr. Miller.


https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/dna-test-frees-texas-man-from-life-sentence-and-leads-to-confession-of-a-new-murder-suspect/ar-BBYfNse?ocid=spartandhp&fbclid=IwAR3uti5XgCoRriBVXxCC761pYtF-1gxR2_wrovNbawrcEr0G04yW4LSm-JE









Friday, December 20, 2019

Supreme Court Fails In Lundy Case,

Today the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of Mark Lundy against the convictions for the deaths of his wife Christine and daughter Amber. In 140 paragraphs the Court either did not grasp the science of the case or chose to use support evidence which was not convincing.

The link to the decision can be found here: https://www.courtsofnz.govt.nz/cases/mark-edward-lundy-v-r-1/?searchterm=Lundy

It's a long read but I will summarise the main details and in some instances cite the paragraph.

Essentially the Court agrees with the Crown that material said to Central Nervous System (CNS) found in 2 spots on Lundy's was that of his wife. Not because the CNS tested for Christine's DNA but rather the shirt material around it did so. The Defence explained this by pointing out the error of only sampling shirt material around the spots (which although microscopice - the Court referred to as 'lumps'). No reason was offered why the lumps were not observed for some 54 days and why the shirt was never kept within the forensic safety chain afforded to all other exhibits. Instead the shirt was left in the safe of the Officer in Charge Grantham - who said he did not want Lundy to find out about it. He never explained how Lundy would have found out about it and what he could have possibly done anyway - such nonsense put this debacle of Justice afloat.

There is a scientific term for false appreciation of DNA called the DNA association fallacy which would apply if a shirt such as Lundy's was only tested in 2 spots rather than multiple spots to compare amounts of DNA found at each spot. In other words, in this case to show that Christine's DNA was only in the area of the spots and not elsewhere on the shirt. There is numerous scientific data on this which shows before a declaration can be made that DNA is in 'association' for example to only 2 spots on a shirt and not the shirt in entirety, other areas on the shirt must also be tested. Other papers describe the ready and common circumstance of spousal DNA found on partners clothing even after going through the wash. Apart from that the main point is that no DNA was found within the alleged CNS but rather in an elution wash used on the 2 shirt cut-outs, so no exclusion of DNA being over the entire shirt from co-habitation or transfer. Exclusion is a word you will read here again later. The Court framed that there was an inference that 'DNA evidence justified that the tissue was from Mrs Lundy's brain'. (para 10)

The Court referred to Lundy's first Trial where Defence conceded it was Christine's brain but that it was there by contamination because of the narrow time scope available to ML to have driven to his home in Palmerston North from Wellington, commit the murders, clean up and return. Note here that the Crown case has been fluid throughout - notably an exact time of death (TOD) in Trial 1 became an 'open' TOD at the retrial as being anytime between when mother and daughter were last seen alive until their bodies were discovered - some fifteen hours later. (para 15)

The Privy Council decision on this case some 60 odd pages from memory and exhaustive in it's detail was mentioned in only 1 para in the SC Judgement (para 17.) It's worth mentioning here that NZ Courts are yet to have acknowledged a Miscarriage of Justice in any of the major controversial murder convictions overturned in the last 40 years or so. Thomas was a Royal Pardon, Bain, Lundy and Pora all needed to go outside the Country to the Privy Council for remedy. Of those only Lundy has not been finally exonerated, along with Scott Watson whose case was rejected by the Privy Council but which was being prepared to return there when the late Greg King passed away. That case like that of Lundy's has significant issues with the science used, with both Lundy and Watson cases having at least 1 common ESR scientist who in both cases offered that word 'exclusion.'

(Para 18) records that Justice Kos at a hearing on the admissibility of a Junk Science mRNA noted that all witnesses agreed that the stained fabric agreed that the stained fabric (from the shirt) contained CNS tissue.  A lot different than all witnesses agreeing that stained fabric contained CNS tissue from Christine Lundy.

In (Para 90) The Court rejects that Christine may have sneezed mucus DNA onto exactly the same 2 places, Rather than explain the ridiculousness of the idea of 'onto exactly the same 2 spots' watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnafrAtfMzE.

In the same para the Courts speaks about the CNS being fresh enough to smear on a shirt without a probable and provable explanation why it was not deteriorated on contact with air as all other CNS found in the crime scene was. The following para (91) also on the shirt, confirms the soundness of the forensic safety chain without mentioning Grantham keeping the shirt outside the forensic safety chain, and not surrendering it to the exhibits officer who would evidence to say that in all his years in the police force that had never happened before. Remember Grantham was concerned that Lundy 'not find out about the shirt' - that he blinking well owned and told police he had been wearing.

Here comes that word 'excluded' in para (97); "Paint on tools found in the garage could not be excluded as coming from the same source as the orange paint on one of the fragments found on the bedroom and 4 of those taken from Mrs Lundy's body." Just this week an American Lydell Grant was freed pending a fresh examination of the case by a Texas District Attorney after retesting of Lydell's DNA which had been deemed to be unable to be 'excluded' as that being found under a murder victim's fingernails was retested by the Texas Innocence Project and found not only not to belong to Lydell,  but to match a known felon. "Not excluded" apparent in both the Lundy and Watson cases is fake and misleading evidence.

As for painted tools I think even children know that a mechanic's or dad's tools may have paint on the handles but never on the striking edge of a hammer or the blade of an axe.

Para (104) is an important para which displays illogical reasoning by the Court. "Killer must have been covered in blood and brain tissue left outside the master bedroom and the doorway and hall where Amber's body was found, suggesting that the killer shed exterior clothing before leaving the house." When in fact the killer or killers (remembering there was fingernail DNA found under both victims nails as in the case of Lydell Grant above) DNA of 2 unknown males was found under the nails of both Amber and Christine. The Court of Appeal offered that could have resulted from the pair shaking hands. Simply shake another person's hand to discover fingernails do not contact the other persons hands when shaking. That DNA came from persons police have never found, there is no evidence that police ever checked for matches on their data base or asked any of the 100 or so suspects to provide DNA. We have to ask why not. Just as we have to ask why Grantham, the man who hid the shirt, took back 21 hairs found in Christine's hands and 'lost them.'

In Para (126) where explaining an open ranch slider door noticed by a neighbour at the Lundy house around 11am shortly after Christine turned off her computer was of no moment: "It is more likely that Mrs Lundy had not yet shut the door before going to bed." That is she left the door open in the middle of winter, her husband away, until 11am at night with her young daughter sleeping alone in another room at a time where there had been recent burglaries in the neighbourhood.

Para (132) discusses motive. This where Mark, cold and calculating, takes advantage of Christine increasing their insurance cover from 200,000 to $500,000 and kills her and Amber. Good in theory but the increase had not taken effect on the 30th of August when the murders happened. And the alleged financial strife the couple were in needed to settled for $300,000. Other evidence would show that had the sale collapsed the vendor may well have sold at a better price, something that was later achieved

Para (134) excludes other offenders. That is despite the 2 unknown men not being found, or the donor of unknown fingerprints and footprints being located, the palm hairs ever being tested before they got 'lost.' And no DNA tests attempted from the fingerprints to match the DNA from the nails - or indeed the palm hairs conveniently lost.

Note that in Watson 2 hairs were found after around 6 searches. In Lundy hairs were found immediately and then lost - something can't be excluded from that.

Cheers.






Thursday, November 14, 2019

Meeting Mark Lundy


It’s hard to describe working at home to help a person you have never have met fight something you may come to believe is a wrongful conviction. There’s a risk in that, being wrong, exposed by lack of detachment and so on. But there is also another side, the genuine feeling of helping someone in a terrible situation. That work may begin with little more than a concern about a conviction – one that raises questions or doesn’t make to sense for a reason you may not at first be able to put your finger on.
What I’ve noticed from that in my experiences is that those men or women wrongfully convicted, despite what they’ve been through, or are going through, are often the kind of people that would give others a hand even if they weren’t like that before they were wrongfully convicted. There must be something about getting knocked down by a wrongful conviction that delivers a finer appreciation of looking out for others – well so it seems.
Friday I took an overnight trip to the centre of the North Island. I spent the night in the family home of 1 of Mark Lundy’s childhood friends in a part of New Zealand where some folks don’t lock the doors and strangers say hello in the streets. I got a glimpse at the reason why some of Mark’s friendships have held together, not just by one of his friends but by 2 of them and their families. Smart industrious people whose children are doing extraordinarily well as I feel certain would have been the case for Mark if 2 unknown men had not broken into his home and left their DNA and hair there along with a deep mystery which police have only scrapped the surface of.
A reader does not have to agree with me on that last sentence, but it is the reason rightly or wrongly I spent 100s of hours on the Lundy case followed by 1000s more once I believed he is innocent.
On Saturday morning like clockwork the 2nd friend arrived and I was a little late and delayed them on their 6.25am leaving time. I had gone deep into the night in the engine room of the Lundy supporters group – all paperwork was at hand with explanations and details. So was a strong debate on what the job was. One I’ve had before where I reject nailing the prime suspect using the DNA found at the scene. Finally a truce was made – Get Mark out of prison first. The debate would come up a few more times in the next 8 to 10 hours but more as something familiar, a little humorous but settled for now as to what I was doing.
At one point my host having said the previous evening they do not talk much about the case to Mark in order not to upset him said that I could ask him any questions I wanted at the visit. Not that I did really have any questions, I already knew a lot about the case particularly the improbability of forensic science said to hold the case together. I was curious about meeting Mark however, find out something about him other than what I read or seen in the news.
Marks 2nd friend drove. For at least the 1st hour nothing was mentioned about the case, for various reasons not excluding the desire not to excite another round on completing the investigation. I’ll give the 2 men factiousness names, the 1st Robert the 2nd Bill. They will probably read this so I must be accurate – Robert was determined, absolutely. Bill was a person for whom logic reined. They were old mates that poked fun at each other, not deterred by a relative stranger sitting in the car, trying to get a handle on them, how they thought and so on – no doubt just as they were doing with me. It was all safe talk in the beginning, about business, insurance and other such things until I brought up something about the case as I was switching my mind to realising if I did have any questions for Mark I had less than a hour to think about them.
It was then that I appreciated that Bill would not go down a rabbit hole as Robert might easily do on issues with the case – before climbing and shaking the dirt off. So they were a strong mix – ideas and logic at work, the good opposites that make progress. We arrived on time to the controlled entrance and carpark area before going through a higher security screen than I expected at minimum security before going through to meet Mark.
In person he is a big man who moves well. He doesn’t in anyway match the impressions given through the media. He is direct and engaging, a good speaker which made sense the strong support he had from his customers about his cheerfulness. At 60 he looked more than capable of doing a day’s work. He’s intelligent and insightful. Not that there was any reason to do so, but he clearly was not trying to make some impression on me – what you saw was what you got and he along with his 2 friends of over 50 years were soon jostling over the jokes they made about one another. That followed an exchange of hugs and in my case a warm shake of the hand.
I got to hear a lot about Mark’s short term plans toward parole, very well- reasoned. He would later say when discussing some men that we both knew that it was his impression that a lot of men that go to prison get in someway time locked as who they are by the age of when they were imprisoned. Although it wasn’t perhaps intended to be, I found it very insightful. I could see that Mark holds his own place in the prison, isn’t a pushover, but has his own mind – one that is focused on freedom. He did not once complain about his situation, not even a hint about what I imagine he must feel being in prison for nearly 20 years on junk science, so poor that it doesn’t even deserve the maligned label of junk science but something even worse.
After my debate with Robert over the possible outcome of Mark’s Supreme Court appeal I asked Mark what he thought. To my surprise he wasn’t either optimistic or bitter about it. He like Robert considered the Courts as mindful not to over rule lower Courts. This set off a big debate with Robert clearly enjoying the moment with an ally this time - Mark.
When that finished I asked what the plan was should the appeal fail. Mark quoted Jonathan Eaton, not regarding anything cynical about a prediction of the SC decision, but as to next steps if there was to be no retrial. I was happy with that. It showed a couple of things, most importantly that JE was in for the long-haul despite that I personally believe he is confident of a win at the SC, as I am. Secondly, because Christopher John Halkides and I are down the track on material to be used at a retrial or in the event of not winning at the SC. Mark has read a lot of that, and took some delight in speaking about the number of American exonerations that matched similar circumstances to his own case. In other words, I felt, he knew he was going to win if not in the short term – then later.
He went onto speak about how he is usually positive about any of the proceedings and how one of his family members is not, but at this point the family member is positive while he is not. I didn’t say so but I liked that.
At some point the conversation turned to prisoners with low iqs and how they fare in the criminal Justice system. Eventually in general conversation Mark revealed some of his experiences with men who had the iqs of 9 or 11 year olds and how he would write letters for them or guide them into work, understanding that the mentally challenged are more at ease with some sort of job to do. It will be a surprise that even in prisons, and even prisoners with a somewhat challenging public image can be functioning with kindness toward others left behind in the intellectual development.
I was surprised by this, but perhaps shouldn’t have been because some years ago I saw a video of Mark’s late father who made toys for children and stuck with his son. I’m always on about being objective and not subjective – but that video gave me a nudge about who Mark was, just as did a letter sometime back from Scott Watson who mentioned amongst other things making toys for kids and Christmas.
Scott and Mark know one another, I doubted that would ever be firm friends because their lives had been so different. At around 40 Mark was a businessman, already a carpenter, a father and husband who owned his own home. Scott on the other hand had just build a boat, was something of a rolling stone, had women in his life and was seriously considering sailing around the world. Neither man was to know that beast called injustice was about to lock onto them, neither could have been ready – but if Mark’s theory he volunteered by accident they were 15 years apart in life experience, one a few years into adulthood the other beginning middle-age when a man trap was set upon them. They may be more alike that they realise, in time if good overcomes bad, just the same - exonerated wrongly convicted men.
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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Gail Maney Imprisoned for not Lying

Gail Maney Imprisoned for not Lying?
Found the time to listen to the Pod Cast ‘Gone Fishing,’ all 8 parts – available from Radio New Zealand and put together by Amy Mass and Adam Dudding. Certainly, is a comprehensive Pod Cast if not completely searching.
Much to my surprise it wasn’t Gail’s situation and the role she was meant to have played in the death of Deane Fuller-Sandys that was the surprise, but the role of Stephen Stone. This was mainly the result of the complete doubt that Maney is guilty. Because the Crown case relies on the death of Deane in the garage of the home where Maney was living using very questionable witnesses (who told multiple stories), and the lack of hard evidence as to whether Gail had even met Stone before the death of Deane. Then there is evidence which always sounded like complete nonsense for a so called ‘hit.’ Stone showing off the body in a boot, also ‘forcing’ others at the scene to shoot Deane. Those aspects of the case are the fantasies of a mad man, we meet him a little later and his name is Franklin – the OIC of the inquiry.
Add to that, considering that Gail is meant to have ordered the ‘hit’, there is nary a word about how he was paid. No disrespect to Gail but people such as Stone described to be - very macho and dangerous tend to do their own thing and are not likely to be robotic, let alone ‘advertise’ their work. As with a lot of these sensational stories relying on shock and horror the little details do not line up or have the ring of reality to them. There are now also retractions from 3 of 4 of the main witnesses.
When the Court of Appeal (COA) dealt with the first of those from a woman name Tania Wilson, it said that she was an “unreliable witness”, which even in itself is something for a Jury – not the COA. The COA seem unable to consider at its worst Wilson admitted lying and at its best – exonerated Gail – in fact either version could result in a fresh jury finding Gail innocent. Our COA have a terrible record in terms of Miscarriages of Justice – off hand I can’t think of any of the major ones which the COA has overturned.
I think it is reasonable to doubt whether Deane was killed at all because of the lack of solid evidence and the unrealistic narrative of the key witnesses, none of whom gave a single narrative but rather keep changing what they had to say until Franklin felt he had put together a ‘complex’ case.
So, if I understand it correctly – if Stone did not kill Dean, then not only is Gail innocent but so must Stone be on the same evidence. There is an absolute dearth of evidence on 1 aspect of the case which was not dealt with in the Pod Casts or in the media that I have been able to find – which could be critical to Stone’s claim of innocence also for the death of Leah Stephens the 2nd person he was convicted of murdering.
This started off as a blog on the ridiculousness I saw in the police first going to Gail for help, and when she chose not to speak ended up being charged with murder. The ex-cop in charge of the case Franklin is forthright as to his opinion that if Gail had told police what they wanted to hear she would not have been charged, just like the 2 men who gave evidence (under immunity) and admitted raping and killing Leah as well as taking part in the shooting of Deane. I was unable to find it, but I seem to remember an Auckland police man named Franklin who was responsible for 3 Tongan girls going to prison for a robbery for which they were later cleared. Someone might know if it one and the same man?
Anyway, after that start on a narrow point of how police first tried to lure Gail as a witness only to later charge her with murder - the full ‘blast’ of the dangerousness and ridiculousness of the case against Gail became front and centre way beyond the simple but telling point – that Gail could have sung for her supper. Franklin putting together that scenario, that if she ‘gave the order’ (seems so stupid to repeat that nonsense) but didn’t believe Stone would do it, in other words prove the case against Stone – she would not have been in the dock.
How Franklin dealt with Maney was the same way he dealt with 2 men who admitted murder and didn’t spend a day in prison – but he seems not to comprehend the gravity of that talking on and on about the care he took and so on. Justice? No way.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Something laid bare about the Lundy murders.

In the States the FBI knew about the unreliability of 'hair comparison' tests long before they announced recognition of the problem along with how many wrongful convictions resulted - around a 93% failure. The world (but apparently not the NZ authorities) may have found out about that in the 2015 Obama P Cast, but the information was by then over 15 years old (but not for NZ testers), a time during which both Mark and Scott Watson were convicted.

That failure rate, its delayed announcement as a junk science is a very telling about the way police and prosecuting authorities have continued to use poor methods leading to false convictions long after the problem was identified. The Lundy case was within 2 years of that of Scott Watson where hair comparison evidence was the primary evidence - yet 22 years later no admission from ESR or the Crown as to its unreliability. In other words, Scott Watson remains in prison (where Lundy followed him 2 years later) on evidence that had a 93% failure rate.

In the Lundy murders the same type of hair evidence (but genuine crime scene evidence) was 'lost' because, on the face of it, the evidence would have shown the obvious. Not only did the hairs found in Christine Lundy's hands not belong to Mark Lundy but their DNA may well matched other DNA found at the scene - primarily under the fingernails of Christine and Amber. That DNA was discovered to be from 2 unknown males, yet there was other potential DNA available at the scene in the unknown fingerprints, also in other places around the home - particularly where the breakin occured,

That means that the person(s) responsible for the Lundy murders left their DNA and hairs in the house, evidence not investigated past the point that it meant that Mark Lundy was highly likely to be innocent if the mitochondrial DNA in the hairs in Christine's hands matched the DNA found under her and Amber Lundy's fingernails. Or even if it didn't match, because overseas cases now show that fingernail DNA not matching the convicted person, on its own, can result in exoneration.

Stripping all other detail from the Watson case - the 2 hairs said to be Olivia Hope's - did not come from her and the science proving that is known by both police and ESR. They have known that, just like in Lundy - for 2 decades. We can understand now why police went back to the Hope household for more sample hairs, we can also understand why the hairs found in Christine's hands were not tested - they were visibly able to be seen not to be Mark's - the man police had already decided was guilty.

At the recent Supreme Court hearing into the Lundy convictions Jonathan Eaton, QC for the defence, told the Court that when the Crown 'changed' the alleged time of death police never went back to suspects who had alibis for the earlier time of death - pointing out the extent of the unfairness in the way Mark Lundy has been treated, as we see similarly to Scott Watson whose Jury also heard a fantastic and unbelievable story but not the truth about the 2 hairs. Both stories supported by junk science and prison informants but not by properly gathered and tested DNA.