Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Henry Went Last Night

Alex was wrenched from sleep by the sound of grinding metal and stretching cables as a cell close by was unlocked. Someone dead. He climbed quickly from his small steel bed and listened. There were muffled voices, a distant drum built to a closer rattle. He knew it was the trolley coming along the landing, the death trolley.

He told himself that Henry wasn't dead. That he'd just over-dosed on his saved up gas, or fainted, or cut his wrists or face again. Scarred and cut himself. Alex hoped that it was that, not death. Conversations grew in the morning quiet, he dragged on his jeans and socks.

Warder Rex Stuart appeared at Alex's grill, his eyes and face downcast. Alex walked closer to the bars.
"Henry went last night,' Rex told him in a whisper.
"Yes," said Rex and moved away.

It was all real now, not kept away by defending thought. Henry was dead, the smiling young Maori was gone. Alex walked the few short feet to the back of his cell to distance himself from the activity in Henry's cell next door - the cutting down of the body. He heard Henry being laid out on the trolley in a rattle of noise, then the trolley wheeling away.

"Jesus, that's all I need," came Adrian's voice from the southern end of the landing as the body was rolled past his cell.
"It's the friggen sugar," yelled Monty, closer on the northern side.
Alex knew that Monty was talking to him. "Can't blame anyone," he said softly, sitting on the bed now with his back against the cold block wall.

"He's gone Alex," called Adrian.
"You were always frigging hassling him Alex," accused Monty. "Never give any bastard a break."
"Turn it up," said Alex.
"He's gone Alex," came Adrian's voice again.
"Always picking on him," claimed Monty.
"Listen mate," Alex told him. "The guy was psychotic and on heavy drugs, could be anything. No use blaming each other."

"He's gone Alex," called Adrian. He just needed to tell Alex and then things would be all right.
"Yea, right Adrian," Alex called. They all fell silent then.

A little later breakfast came, rolled on wheels. It seemed unreal to Alex that breakfast came. Henry was dead, just cut down and breakfast came. He usually ate his breakfast in a rush then went back to sleep. This morning he ate no breakfast and did not sleep. The morning light was grey. Unlock came and Alex's steel door was cranked open.

"I won't be long mister, I'm having a shave!" he called, stepping from the cell and calling along the narrow landing from where the warder waved an acknowledgement from the landing grill.

Out to the east, through concrete-barred windows, there was a view of grass. Further over a fortified sentry tower held the ground between two perimeter fences, a road ran the outer fence line. On the far side of the road there was the prison boiler house burning coal, here and there about there were solitary trees and more grass rolling up to distant hills, crops and belts of trees, farmer's houses and part of an orchard seen in the distance. But there was no mark on the landscape that drew the mind, nothing comforting or reassuring. Not a familiar clock tower, stone building or grassy knoll, not a running stream or a close by mountain. No memory.

Cows crazed in the nearby paddocks. Closer, there were noisy ducks on the prison grass, sparrows and seagulls, wild cats slunk in - all searching for food. Closer still men locked in. Alex threw his toast out an open window, spinning the bread in a discus flight to be fallen upon and squabbled over by the waiting birds and cats. The time was 75 minutes after the death trolley rolled by.

"Tell him to let me out!" shouted Monty, all aggressive again. Alex mumbled a reply before walking back to his cell and Monty pushed the emergency button.
"Give it a break," called Alex. "I'm just having a shave." Alex finished his shave. He wanted to shave, it just seemed right that day. He walked to the landing, stopped at Henry's cell. Hanging from the ventilation grill on the back wall was a rope fashioned from jeans, twisted and knotted with one leg cut off. It was important for Alex to look in the cell. He had not been able to bring himself to look at the body - so he looked in the cell. Timidly at first, he slowly raised his head again. He saw the body then, a handsome young man distorted and grey hanging on the wall.

It was an exorcism for the tall lean man to move silently and slowly about the landing. To face the day and the shock - he needed to stretch into it bit by bit. He walked to Monty's cell.
"No use getting all carried away," said Alex, stopping to look through Monty's grill.
Monty was moving in agitation about the cell as though also trying to shift the death away, shake it off. He was wearing jeans and a tee shirt, his arms thick with muscle. Below his dark hair, Monty's eyes were flashing coals on a long thin face.
Half turning toward Alex, Monty said, "You were always picking on him."
"No I wasn't," said Alex gently. "There is no use carrying on like that."
"That bloke over in A Block, you helped him all the time."
Alex couldn't think for the moment who it was that Monty was talking about. There had been so many floating toward death in that place, so many dead.

"All that shit about sugar," said Monty, raising an earlier argument between Alex and Henry. "You know he only had weeks to go and you argue with him about sugar."
"Don't blame me," warned Alex.
Monty looked at him straight. "I'm not blaming you," he said. "I really liked the bloke."
"I know, we all did."
"I'm just telling you, I like the bloke. I met his father up the visiting room."
"I know that," said Alex, reasonable now.
Monty seemed to want to guarantee the point. "I liked the bloke he said again."
The recitation finally upset Alex.  "I don't give a stuff," he hissed.
"I'm just telling you," said Monty angrily.
Alex wrapped his hands around the grill to Monty's cell, the closest he good get, his knuckles paled whiter. "I don't give a stuff," he said. "Come out to the workshop and we will talk about it."
Seeing Alex properly upset seemed to calm Monty. Henry was dead and Alex was angry.

With that, Alex said he would see him when he came out. He walked along the landing to the security grill.
"Morning Adrian," he said, passing Adrian's cell. "We'll be right."
"Gidday Alex, I'm staying in today," he said quietly.
When he reached the southern end Alex stopped at the Bulgarians cell. He stopped to look in to see how he was, what he would be making of this kiwi breakfast. "Morning Sid."
The short muscular man raised a hand to his cropped hair. "You going to the workshops?" he asked.
"I'm coming too, we'll do a workout."
They always did workouts together but Alex had forgotten that morning. "Okay," he agreed, though he didn't much have the stomach for it. He moved on. A warder opened the landing grill and Alex stepped through. There were 4 warders and one lightly rubbed him down for weapons. Alex walked to the western side of the cell block through a small sally port into the little workshop and a few minutes to himself to think about the death.

One side of the workshop was a grill set on concrete blocks. There were posters around the walls and steel table bolted to the floor. On the western side a partition of concrete block housed a toilet and divided the maximum-security workshop narrowly in two. In the northern half was a television locked to a frame on the wall, in the other corner a radio built into the block.

Soon the Bulgarian army deserter arrived, his face expressionless.
"You know about Henry?" asked Alex.
"Yes," he said abruptly.

They worked out hard in competition against some errant thought. Chin-ups with a 30lb bag of sand tied around their waists, dips between cane weaving tables, push up with sandbags on their backs with feet up on a chair, sweating and straining. They took off their shirts to reveal muscle glistening in sweat before doing sit ups and curls with the sandbags. They finished with sparring, perhaps longing for the taste of blood in the mouth from a let-through punch. Then the workout was done and over with.

Monty came to the workshop. Quiet now, bringing the strength that had helped him survive years in Paremoremo. News came over the radio about the death in D Block.
"They're onto it quick," said Monty.

During the day visitors at the grill to talk to the men, social workers, priests, senior staff all sharing in the loss in some way or other. The news had spread around the prison. Men with families thought of their kin, those without families may have wished for one. But in the workshop Alex had to fix a restraint in his mind to prevent himself from seeing Henry walk by one last time with his cheeky, knowing smile. Alex needed to resist the thought that Henry was being cut up. Not just buried but drawn and dissected in autopsy. There would be no funeral for them to attend. Even Henry's cell would no longer be his, the few small belongings gathered up and sent home to his father in the South Island with the cut up body surrendered back by his keepers.

Others around the prison would be despising Henry for his weakness on a ship they all sailed, perhaps laugh about it. Some would think of it by comparison that they were at least better off than Henry. Some might even be fascinated and buoyed by the news, think they could perhaps do the same and escape the dry rotting death. Others could be frightened but all would be circumspect, reminded how close death was to the concrete pit which ducks flocked around to feed and where men lived with no real memory.

Late in afternoon, after the return to the cell block for lunch and the opportunity to go to the workshops again, a voice rose, rich resonant and soulful - echoing into every corner of D Block and the earth below where it was rumoured battles had been fought and men killed. A voice that somehow lifted the chill beset from the morning. A Tohunga sang a calming prayer in Henry's cell, that his spirit might lift away and not add to the misery of the haunted men held there.

Back out on the cell landing just before final lock down came Monty was out picking up the dinner plates. He stopped to talk to Alex.
"I should have given him his tea last night," he said. "Woken him up when I was out picking up the plates. I threw some socks at him. It could have been that," he suggested.
Alex shook his head sadly because the day had been long and dispiriting. "No mate, you can't look at it like that."
"Bill too," continued Monty. "He was joking with him last night, it could have been that."
"No mate, it's no one's fault," said Alex, but he didn't know. "It's just this place, guys like Henry shouldn't be here, maybe none of us should. It can get to you, but it's much worse for blokes like him. They should be in a hospital somewhere, or sent home to their old people. You don't put a mixed-up kid in a place like this.
Monty sighed, deciding that perhaps it wasn't the chocolates he won off Henry at poker the previous afternoon.

Terrorism or is it? .....from a correspondent

"Evidence from Detective Sergeant Aaron Pascoe was given to the
hearing that film and photographs of a September 2007 camp showed a
woman he said was Ms Morse holding an object believed to be a Molotov

The person carried the object out of the view of the camera and
returned a short time later without it.

Mr Pascoe was to give evidence that he believed she threw the Molotov
cocktail into an outdoor oven, where police later found remnants of
Molotov cocktails

Photos of a person holding a pistol in various military type poses
were said to be of Ms Morse.

Two pistols later seized by police were found to be unable to
discharge a shot although an attempt to modify one appeared to have
been made.

Justice Winkelmann disagreed with Ms Morse's suggestion that because
only non-firing guns were found, no functional pistols were used

Also brought to the court was a CD of gunshot sounds recorded on the
Tuhoe land in the Urewera Ranges.

Lawyers for the accused argued that the gunshot recordings could not
be played in court because they had been made by the police illegally
and had been edited"
So in overall summary one person assumed throwing a molotov cocktail
into an oven.
A photo of one person with two pistols that are not even functional.
Gunshot sounds from rifles that were found attempted by the crown to
imply the pistols were functional.
Even the judge accepted that one without a shred of evidence.

Note to police crown prosecutors and judges..
A dozen people playing simulated war games on private property does
not constitute terrorism..

Its a fantasy game much as paint ball war games are..or children
playing cowboys and indians..

Or is the truth NZ just wanted to be part of the terrorist scare..

Neither the Melbourne 12 nor Toronto 18 cases themselves involved
events that have actually taken place.
Both have prosecuted individuals for belonging to groups that have
merely planned or talked about terrorist attacks, which have been
aborted by public authorities before reaching fruition.

Authorities have learned about these plans and this talk by listening
in on “secretly recorded” conversations..


Saturday, September 24, 2011

More questions than answers arise from the proposed 'retrospective legislation.'

The mooted retrospective changes to cover flaws in surveillance laws are in danger of raising even more concerns about the power of legislators to change laws to trap those that would otherwise go free in a democracy. The changes, we are told, are required because otherwise some serious criminals already on charges might go free. That in itself is a breach of freedoms, the changing of the law is not to 'catch' terrorists that might otherwise go free, in fact the 'broken' law was used 'reckless(ly) as to whether their (the police) actions were lawful or they carried out covert surveillance knowing that it was unlawful.'

In the scheme of things the Tuhoe raids were against what we were told were terrorists attended with a 'trust us' type attitude of investigators who leaked information that might have made some nzers feel that indeed terrorism was a present danger in NZ. Since then the Supreme Court has dismissed evidence against 13 of those arrested because the evidence to be used against them was unlawfully obtained and did rise above the necessarily high threshold of its value, or that of the public interest, that might have allowed the Court to use it's discretion to admit the evidence despite it's unlawful collection.

One thing we can be sure of is that the Courts rightly would have admitted the evidence if it stood as absolute proof of acts of terrorism, there is no doubt about that. Something else that 'waters' down the value of the evidence being far less than proof of terrorism is that the Government don't seek to include the 13 former 'terrorists' in the net of the proposed retrospective legislation. Suddenly what is revealed is that 'anonymous' dangerous criminals, ostensibly more dangerous than terrorists for whom laws have been melded to catch, are not the 'prize' after all. The prize is in fact is another 'trust me' objective, an unknown number of alleged offenders, on an unknown number of charges and of who there is no indication that other evidence lawfully obtained against them is not enough for prosecutions, we are asked to trust that there is not sufficient other evidence apart from that unlawfully obtained. Additionally, the legislators express no faith in the Courts to apply a test to the necessary evidence against these mystery individuals, to determine whether it might be admitted despite the manner of its collection.

So we move from one darkness to another, terrorists become terrorists no more and the new bogey man is unknown but dangerous. So dangerous in fact that he, she or they are elevated above the primary concern of the lawmakers - those who might reduce the country to anarchy, civil war and acts of terrorism. So we are asked to move from one frightening beast (suddenly made docile) to another without hesitation that the public might not say 'hold on, what about all that other bs?' and instead swallow was is in fact an erosion of their freedom.

Where might this take us? To secret lawmaking for sure, also to retrospective lawmaking on the basis of false pretence where retrospective lawmaking becomes the norm to a time when faith in the law might be reduced overnight in Parliament on grounds we are not availed to and which are not subject to public notification, submissions and debate - a type of executive power gone mad.

Other questions arise, the 13 now rendered harmless 'terrorists,' were held on illegally gathered evidence, surely they should be compensated as of right because lawful detention, restraint or imprisonment cannot be on the basis on an unlawful act by the authorities. Additionally, sceptical as I may be - why do some of their number remain on charges that will not be heard until after the election, also when does the discretion to dismiss charges that are not heard in a timely manner get exercised?

Time for calmness to prevail, because the lawmakers have failed there should not be haste exercised in remedying the law, certainly not retrospectively and certainly not on a 'trust me' basis that has already once failed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mai Chen: 'constitutional convention'

In an article published to day on the Urewera case lawyer Mai Chen has laid out the encroachment upon freedom that retrospective legislation brings. In particular Mai Chen lays a simple pathway that observes that the Supreme Court held that evidence relevant to 11 of the Urewera accused was unlawfully obtained by police. We are yet to know the full story with the remaining accused, but on the surface if 11 accused were subjected to illegal investigation then they probably all were.

She warns that Government plans to 'freeze in time' events and return to them with a new law that had not applied at the time of the alleged crimes, thereby making once illegal procurement of evidence, suddenly legal in a later time to when the charges were laid. That's you on your front step receiving a speed camera ticket for driving legally in a 80km zone because since the day you had driven at the correct speed the limit had been dropped to 50km and a recording device attendant to the camera was noting your rego anyway in case it was later discovered that the decision to have the 80k limit was a 'bad' law, or bad decision because of it being a high-crash area or some other such thing.

My example is simplified and there is the gravity not for the now free of charges Urerewa 11, but for other accused who the Prime Minister has implied are serious criminals. So it is something of a trade-off, letting the Urerewa 11 go free as they should, but repairing the net for others still subject to have evidence gathered against them illegally suddenly made legal. However anybody who has had some excuse for parking overtime because of delays in a medical clinic, speeding in an area they thought had a higher limit, not wearing a seat belt because they were distracted as they left their driveway might tell you their predicament carried no weight in determining that they would be prosecuted. So we have not only events frozen in time and returned to when it suits the Crown, but also selective choice as to whom that applies - in this case not to the Urerewa 11 but however to anybody else caught in the bad law proposed to be made good.

Mai Chen says that the Government is permitting the Urerewa accused the 'fruits of their victory, consistent with the constitutional convention that Parliament should not usurp the role of the courts to decide the guilt or innocence of individual citizens.' A situation as it prevails is a matter of selection, accused 'once were terrorists' may be removed to their freedom forgiven for being trapped by a 'bad law' or application of the law but the mysterious unnamed apparent villains caught in the same illegal trap may not.

I'll move to what most struck me about this situation apart from my specific objection to being frozen in time while events around you changed, making you one day a free person and the next caught or imperilled by a law that came from the future whilst you were frozen and unknowing. David Bain, whom I seldom blog about now, has been caught in this time-warp trap for 2 years, he was judged by his peers and found not guilty now the Government try him again, which by Mai Chen's example above shows more bad law, in a prevailing set of rules set up by the Government and contrary to all principles of freedom.

But for now, every nzer is faced with recognising that the rules could be changed upon them and applied retrospectively and selectively to their detriment. It's not a fair go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Commissioner of Police responds to Ross Muerant.

In what might be a first Police Commissioner has replied by the way of an open letter to former MP and Police Officer Ross Muerant, taking issue with an article published in North and South in which Ross Muerant commented about police 'culture' as destructive.

Quite quickly in the letter Commissioner Marshall seeks to reject Muerant's call for the Thomas case to be re-opened, he says that Muerant should know that unsolved murders always remain open. Good point, if but self-serving. Marshall has refused to act on a 'submission' by Chris Birt that seeks Norma Demler be questioned and investigated as to her alleged sighting on the Crewe farm after the murders and before the police were called, and additionally on her claims as to when she arrived in the district, later marrying the slain Jeanette Crewe's father Len, and taking a role in the administration of the dead couple estate. Peter Marshall reported to Chris that Norma denied the claims and that he was not going to take it further.

Commissioner Marshall makes some general comments about what Muerant didn't achieve in his police career, which I expect is meant to give greater weight as to what the Commissioner says as compared to the former officer. It might surprise the Commissioner to learn that people judge an argument or information on its merits not by comparing the length of service in the police of two opposing proponents.

He says that little can be gained by 'dancing on the graves' of former senior Police and calls the interest in why a previous Commissioner Bob Walton, ordered his staff not to interview (effectively investigate) Norma Demler despite the sighting of her on the dead couple farms, 'an untimely attack.' Actually, I didn't see it as an attack at all, I see it clearly as in the public interest. I note a common characteristic when people have a miscarriage of justice lumped on them, as the late Vivian Harrison did, and as the Crewe's daughter Rochelle has, those that have failed to act are defended while the victims continue to be ignored.

I'm sure Peter Marshall knows that it is on Police files that Walton ordered that Norma Demler not be investigated. What is untimely is that she remains un-investigated under successive Commissioners, including now, Peter Marshall. It's clear that Marshall doesn't like what Muerant admits, it is also clear that Muerant is factual and his intention is not to dishonour anybody because he has been remarkably candid in admitting what he himself did in the police and which was overlooked or seen as part of the culture. Peter in using time as a 'cure all' neglects to note that the Thomas case is of another time and fails to realise that is one of the disturbing factors by those intimately injured by the events is that time is being used against them. That somewhere the thought is harboured that the sooner they are all dead and silent the case will die from memory - when of course it will not, and part of what is driving that is that is the awareness that time is being used as a weapon against truth.

Peter has within his power the right, the duty, to open this case again, to open the files and present them for anyone who should so apply under the Official Information Act. The fact that Peter refers to his case as historical is good reason that it should be opened for analysis, not continued to be closed down and every word released like a painful tooth extraction. Open the books, what harm can be done more than an innocent man spending a decade in prison, his ex wife going to her grave never being apologised to for being 'accused' as an accomplice after the fact to murder, and for a child, now a woman, who has appealed that the deaths of her parents be properly investigated.

In closing I note, that the Commissioner and others often refer to the amount of time spent on the Crewe case, what they fail to note is that by far the majority of that time was in defence of a corrupt investigation.

Iain Clegg, not quite in the same footsteps as Bruce Emery.

The following from a correspondent....

Iain Clegg was last June convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to

eight years' jail with a minimum of four years, while Skinner was

found guilty of murder and sentenced to at least 15 years' jail.

Clegg appealed to the Court of Appeal, lawyer Graeme Newell, QC,

saying he was not directly responsible for Mr Wilkinson's death and

that none of the injuries he inflicted was life-threatening.

The court stated:

"Any reason there may have initially been to challenge the police

officers' presence on Mr Skinner's property could not have justified

their pursuit outside the property and for some 200m".

Isnt that exactly what Bruce Emery did in the death of the young tagger..

pursued the tagger from his fence down the road

He only received 4 years and was out in 1 on home detention..

Hypocracy once again

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The dust still settles on Simon Power's failure to further erode the rights of NZers.

Simon Power, somewhat like Garth McVicar, chooses events that create public concern or anxiety to sheet home laws and policies to further divide society and make purchase from rare events in a manner that transports our society backwards. Likewise, a manner which divides our society and creates a medieval, stifling atmosphere of fear, most often fear of nothing when it is seen in the cold light of day.

Power removed a law hundreds of years old, the defence of provocation, because of one case, so ignoring hundreds of cases where the defence of provocation helped break down the greyness of what a reasonable person might do when faced with possible death by violence. The one case of course was the Weatherston case, one which for years in the future will cause consternation for its brutality. The law change of course effectively ignored that in the Weatherston case, the original law of provocation worked effectively. Behind the attack on a suitable working efficient law allowing recognition of provocation, half a step away in fact, was probably the true reason that drove Power and his frightened allies - a common objection that properly allows the relationship between the victim of a crime and the alleged perpetrator to be examined. Understandably, there is great difficulty for the family or friends of a victim for details of the victims love life for example, or propensity toward promiscuity, violence, sexual, drug or alcohol abuse. All of which creates in the family's mind that the victim and not the perpetrator is on trial.

Of course a Jury is entitled to hear such evidence, and also hear it tested because it helps them consider the 'guilty mind' aspect that attends crime. Most readers would be totally sympathetic that a woman charged with killing her lover is able to call evidence that showed her lover had been abusive in a number of ways, or had such a propensity for violence that when she acted in some fashion to take his life - that she did fearing she was about to be killed.

Given that this objection to victims 'being tried' is somewhat in the public mind and likely to be the driver for all sorts of calls for changes to the law I think the public and the law were entitled to a more reasoned approach from Minister Power. For example the ability or logic even to speak about the need for the Courts to have all the facts and for Judges to be able to exercise their powers as to what is and isn't admissible - an everyday situation. But no Simon Power had to have a knee-jerk reaction and change the law at a time when there was still some public pressure and a lot of misunderstanding about the provocation defence.

Of course, there was an immediate step Power could have taken which both assisted evidence being able to be carefully considered by a Jury and the desire of a family not having to undergo the stress of feeling that their loved one was under scrutiny for being a victim. He could have written to the Judiciary and the Law Society and advised that such cases, relatively rare that they are, might as a rule have suppression orders attached to particular evidence that a family might find objectionable - a power I understand the Courts either already have or which could be exercised by being encompassed in current rules.

So we see the difficulties of having politicians, those such as Power with little life or Court Room experienced, as law makers. Simon Power has always had his eye on his own interests as any politician is entitled to, but as a lawmaker a politician must have the ability to put that aside and be detached. As I read in an editorial in todays Sunday Star Times, the ancient legal cliche 'hard cases make bad law.' Simon Power has made a number of bad laws, not ever showing the presence of mind to realise he has heightened public expectation in some quarters, such as McVicar before his fall out with the Minister for 'undoing good work,' that all that a bad situation takes to be 'fixed' is a new, and most often tougher law to be introduced.

This week Power came a cropper, his attempt to expunge the 'right to silence' was stopped in its tracks despite his political attractive trappings of 'saving' Court time and making the process of the law more streamlined and efficient. Even the Judiciary and lawyers spoke out against the intended changes.
Power was however able to get through some tougher sentences for those that don't report child abuse, despite a growing cynicism in his own party that longer sentences are of any value. A more realistic person than Power would know that these recent changes will have little effect, as people prepared to ignore child abuse or reporting it, are unlikely to have any idea or concern of the consequences anyway, or of law changes that make those consequences harsher.

What has been less significantly understood, something which Simon Power, of all nzers would know but chose to ignore - was that the 'right to silence' if removed was likely to lead to more abuse that contributes to miscarriages of Justice. Consider this, both Arthur Thomas and David Bain, initially forgave their right to silence and (as it will be seen know) naively co-operated with police who ultimately ensnared both men in miscarriages of Justice. I say Simon Power knows that best of all because of the number of cases he has dealt with this year alone and others in which he tries to relegate himself to Judge and Jury against the very essence of that which upon our law is based the Magna Carta, which took from politicians or heads of state the right to judge, rather bestowing that upon the peers of the individual.

'Hard cases make bad law,' so do politicians seeking political power and support of the type offered Power by McVicar and which over time might be seen as the power which brought both men down.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The relationship between the Police Commissioner and Norma Demler made clearer...

Peter Marshall wrote a letter to investigative journalist Chris Birt concluding the police inquiry into the evidence which showed that Norma Demler fed the baby Rochelle Crewe after the murder of her parents, with, in part this explanation. 'You will appreciate that I have a responsibility to prioritise investigations in terms of Criminal Investigation Branch matters. That is an ongoing obligation and accordingly, after considerable thought, I do not intend to direct further inquiries arising from your submission.'

Of course a complainant to a crime does not make a submission, a submission is made to a Court, for instance, to find favour or establish a set of circumstances that prove, disprove or mitigate some circumstance that is before the Court. A letter or complaint to the police is not a submission to a Court and neither is a police officer a Judge to whom submissions are made.

Included in Chris Birt's 'submission' was the fact that Bruce Roddick saw Norma Demler, or someone that he took for her, with the baby Rochelle, some time after the murders of Jeanette and Harvey. The complaint actually was that Norma Demler was at least an accessory after the fact to the crime(s) of murder. In support of that was confirmation that Norma Demler claimed never to have been in Pukekawa at the time of the murders or up to 2 years later.

In the complaint of Norma Demler's involvement in the murders Chris Birt produced evidence contained on the police file:
An eye witness, Bruce Roddick.
Colin Harvey, a trustee of the murdered couples estate.
Beryl Dick, the sisterinlaw of Norma Demler.
An anonymous farm worker.
And others unknown.

Commissioner Peter Marshall (then Assistant Commissioner) in his letter confirmed that Norma Demler in her interview had denied being the woman seen on the Crewe farm with the orphaned baby.

Derive from this at least the answer to 2 things if you can;

1/Consider how frequent it is that an accused, or suspected offender, denies their involvement in a particular crime, and if under the law a denial is a defence to be decided by the police and not the Court.

2/Look now at a common feature of denial of an offence by an accused or suspected offender - that they were some where else at the time. Most frequently,  a claim by an offender to have been somewhere else at the time of crime is pivotal in gaining a conviction where there is proof to the contrary. In the case of Norma Demler there are at least 4 people saying that she was where she claimed not to be - at the time of the murders. At least 4 people none of who, unlike Norma, had an interest in the estate of the murdered couple.

There is something left from this still owed to nzers, owed most particularly to those whose lives remain disrupted, something owed to the public interest.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Why doesn't the current Commissioner of Police order the interview of Norma Demler?

The following was a question forwarded to the blog 'Belated Vindication for Vivian Harrison?'

Does the instruction from Commissioner Walton not to interview Norma Demler still stand after all this time? If Len Demler did murder Jeanette and Harvey Crewe (and lets face it, that has been obvious to everyone for the past 40 years except for perhaps the police and justice department) doesn't that make Norma Demler an accessory to murder seeing as she was identified as the woman seen at the Crewe's after the murder? Why are the powers at be not insisting on her being questioned, if she is still alive. Who knows, after all these years she may now have a conscience. Rochelle Crewe has been carrying this burden for 42 years, she deserves some closure (for want of a better word) and she sure as hell deserves to have this huge weight lifted off her shoulders. Surely it's about time someone stepped up to the post and put right the wrong that was done in 1970.

The matter remains one of high public interest. Rochelle Crewe asked for the inquiry to be re-opened earlier this year from memory and I believe that was refused. The historical nature of the case was quoted as a reason  for the inquiry not to be re-opened. In a time when a fraudster is treated as a victim after being punched by someone he defrauded money from, when McVicar has made something of an occupation of leveraging for political power using as an excuse victims rights - why wouldn't the Commissioner order that an interview took place?

As the writer above points out Rochelle has been carrying this burden for 42 years. Vivian Harrison died with it still on her shoulders, and unfortunately by implication there remains the connection to Arthur. One has to wonder why Rochelle is not treated as a victim. Additionally why, apart from a deliberately flawed investigation that resulted in false imprisonment, there has been no legitimate murder inquiry. An inquiry that resulted in a deliberate miscarriage of Justice defies being labelled as 'legitimate.' I can't really buy the time factor as an excuse, I see that as providing a reason to  protect others and avoid the rekindling of public feeling about the Crewe case. A classic mistake really, the Police should be seen as divorcing themselves from their duties. By their inactivity inferences can be drawn that they simply do not care about Rochelle Crewe or the late Vivian Harrison and would rather preserve the view that the police 'got the right man' and Muldoon let him go.

The issue of Muldoon in this is interesting. I can't help but think that it was part of the times that Vivian was discriminated against firstly because she was a woman and secondly perhaps because she left her marriage with Arthur. That 'paternal' view might have also supposed that as Rochelle had 'only' been a baby at the time that she therefore had less than a daunting future not knowing fully what had happened to her parents. It's difficult to understand how the powers that be at the time, and now, haven't acknowledged Arthur's pardon, or the results of the Royal Commission and returned to the case with energy. No victim of the Crewe murders benefits by the Police self-protection or lethargy. Because the controversy is not one that will retire, common sense would suggest an inquiry should be launched. Or at the very least Norma Demler be interviewed and failing her willingness to be interviewed, as is her right, then an assessment made using the conflicting information written about by Chris Birt in his North and South article this year. In reality there is probably enough information on record to charge Norma Demler at least as an accessory after the fact and let a jury decide. That is evidence including the positive identification, and the conflicting and false information from both herself and Len Demler as to when she arrived in the district - the evidence remains abundant.

I don't think the issue of her age, the 40 or so years that have passed since the murders is sufficient to now not pursue this matter as it should have been during the original inquiry. Age of potential defendants certainly isn't a factor in other historical crimes as we frequently see. From reading Chris Birt's article it is plain to see that a body of the Police involved in the inquiry were unhappy the investigation into both Len and Norma was blunted, despite the clear motive that existed in terms of property. The ongoing inaction leaves an impression of self-protection, or protection of interests in conflict with the course of justice. There is another side to this of course, that it would allow Norma Demler to be exonerated in the public mind. But the bottom line must surely be the interests of Rochelle Crewe as the writer above points out. It wasn't until I received that letter that I realised that I had somehow been mesmerised by the 'adornments' of this case and was unable to see the simple question as one that deserves to be answered and which appears easily able to be done. Ex Commissioner Walton instructed that Norma Demler not be interviewed and later proposed he was confused by that, well I think a good body of nzers are also confused by that - and with the new question and obvious question, must be asking why not now?

To be frank Rochelle deserves this proper exercise of the legislative duty of the police and so does public interest.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kent Parker - stuffed like a turkey?

I wonder when or if the gravity of the situation Parker and Purkiss are in will ever sink in. They've now had two defences struck out, essentially after more than a year they have no credible defence (not that they could ever had one) against the complaints of defamation made by Joe Karam. With those 2 defences struck out a claim for increased costs was due before the Court by the 14th August 2011, something which Parker didn't publish on his site. However, over a period of time he first admitted that he had a loss and which he later claimed was 'just quietly' a victory of some sort, but silence on the costs. Karam's lawyers have twice had to respond to statements of defence which have been found to have no merit and which have been criticised by a Judge as being 'discursive and, and at times, argumentative.' Those costs are likely to be in the region of 20 to $30,000 or more and the situation is created that Parker and Purkiss may be bankrupted before the case, if it ever does, goes to trial.

The amended Statement of Claim by the plaintiff was 52 pages long, in 3 causes of action, it alleges that from July 29th 2009 to April 2010 the first defendant (Parker) published 45 defamatory statements of his own and 'others' on a Facebook website, and on his own website (Counterspin) 111 defamatory statements. I placed the foregoing 'others' in brackets to remind those 'others' of the situation they are in, although it is only to this point Parker and Purkiss called to task. It may well be that each of those pages, and the work involved in correlating them to the original statements and the 2 failed defences might be worth in terms of money even up to an equivalent of $1,000 per page.

The struck out statement of defence was similarly lengthy and was described by the Judge, as I have written above, as discursive and argumentative with all the hallmarks of a 'pleading prepared without the benefit of legal assistance.' It's paragraphs are described as in whole or part to be 'prolix, (and) contain evidential, unintelligible or argumentative material' that is not consistent with the High Court rules. Later in the judgement the Judge points out that 'The breaches are too numerous to describe individually,' so much so that he only uses a few examples in his judgement. Later, in describing the defendants practice of repeating or invoking particular paras of the defence repeatedly he says the practice 'makes the defence convoluted and virtually impossible to follow.' So much for Kent's 'victory.'

In paragraph [40] the Judge says 'I consider the deficiencies and defendant's conduct constitute an abuse of process under r 15.1. Redress is warranted.' Which is as clear as day that Kent and Purkiss have established themselves a hefty  obligation for costs, lifted in value because their conduct is 'an abuse of process.'

So much for costs, and now we wait to see if Parker and Purkiss can overcome the hurdle they created for themselves not only by defaming Karam but by conduct in the High Court in a manner which has been determined was an 'abuse of process.' Interestingly in the pleadings Parker, who on other occasions, has bragged about the traffic number to his sites, has tried to down grade that despite there being evidence of 'veiws' of around 20,000. He claims, with out any factual support, that those viewers probably only looked at the first page - that's all it took Kenty baby. Of course the Judge gave that argument no merit, as it was part of what was struck out, but it shows that Parker thinks the world is populated by idiots who will believe anything he says (on that respect, he is partly right - though it's clear his former buddies are avoiding him like the plague now.)

Kent has made harmful admissions in his pleadings that in my belief virtually destroy any chance of success, not that I ever believed he had any chance of success. It has always been evident that his statements, like those of Kalnovitch, nina_s, obook and others were always visible as plainly defamatory. He has acknowledged he could have deleted the offending material but provides no sustainable reason why he didn't. On that point, he has major problems, and my experience with him is a good example. He deleted my posts on his board within hours -  because he obviously felt uncomfortable being told of the lesson he is now receiving in the High Court. He, as others will know, deleted any body's views that didn't match his own, that along with the continuing defamation is why Kent Parker and Vic Purkiss have destroyed themselves by their efforts of attacking a man of whom they are insanely jealous.

Parker uses the words 'not necessarily' when describing the power of publication in his pleading which to my mind is a total admission of guilt, a/ that he is the publisher and b/ that the publications were defamatory. His pleadings of honest belief, freedom of speech also have fallen short of being credible for the reasons I have pointed out to him and other members of his idiot tribe. 'just because an idiot believes something to be true, doesn't mean that it is true - it simply shows that an idiot believes it to be true.' I digress there a little and should say that the test is what a reasonable person, cognisant with the facts, would reasonably believe.

Finally Parker, Purkiss and their band of merry halfwits might begin to understand that 'free speech' isn't the right for an idiot to speak in a defamatory way in public about something or someone, when they don't have the mental aptitude to comprehend, ( merely because of lack of wit, mental competence or in the case of the hate-siters, hate) what they're saying or publishing on the net.

I may write more about this later, however in may ways it is all to predictable, however surprising, that in reality the idiots could not contain themselves from continuing to act like idiots.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Do the Judiciary have a 'natural' tolerance to elements that form a Miscarriage of Justice?

In a recent blog below and others else I wrote about common elements of MOJs. Understanding those common elements and the response to them by the Judiciary, Justice Department etc, probably displays why they continue. No industry or public service in New Zealand would tolerate elements that repeated themselves over time to the detriment of what that industry or public service was designed to deliver. A faulty valve of a type from a single manufacturer that failed consistently would be abandoned, as would hospital apparatus that showed a tendency to fail and therefore cause disruption to services or worse - it's the way of progress and delivering outcomes. Disruptive events or failures become historical, a pattern or template of things to be avoided, monitored, or discontinued over time.

Then why, does the Judiciary and Justice system have no historical knowledge or template of events common to miscarriages of Justice? Some would immediately say because the facilitate it or have a tolerance to it, of course such views for some members of the public destroy faith in the system - and written here and else where are numerous cases where blameless members of society are indoctrinated, by their experiences with the system, to hold the view that the 'system' is corrupt. Where does the blame lie for that? There can be only one place because our lawyers, or at least some of them, have been ground down to holding views of potential mojs that are myopic, or that fighting against such things is just too difficult, or that the system is self-protecting and one shouldn't rock the boat. Whatever the case, faith in the system is eroded.

In times when 'zero tolerance' has become a fashionable phrase, I wonder why the Judiciary and department officials haven't adopted a 'zero tolerance' in cases that show investigative corruption, the common things, such a faulty identifications, 'discovery' of evidence in a crime scene are exhaustive searches failed to find the particular evidence earlier, 'stool pigeons,' faulty dna or forensic analysis, hidden evidence, illogical Crown reconstructions that defy logistical test and so on. Though the very opportunity to wonder why these things are tolerated opens the door to the invitation that there is collusion of some sort at work, even if it be a sub-conscious reaction or inclination to be 'on side' with the system - eventually this undermines the system.

Another area of note here, is that when mojs start to become unpicked by diligent members of the public, lawyers or other professionals, the Courts show a willingness to look beyond the 'tainted' evidence for support from peripheral evidence, which on it's own from the outset wouldn't have been strong enough to sustain a conviction. In other words they go looking for something to uphold the evidence that has failed, a complete reversal of the process of our law, and something which Judges warn juries about in final addresses is that they are not to look beyond the critical evidence for something which might support a conclusion they could draw unless there is a firm connection of some sort. Our Appeal Courts have been criticised for placing themselves as members of a jury for the obvious reason that a jury are people drawn from all aspects of life, each with their own experiences, and not with legal backgrounds within a system that any Judge must have. None of this withstands the view that corrupt or tainted evidence should, with few exceptions, destroy a suspect conviction or Crown case.

Something very troubling at the moment is the Watson case, where the independent reviewer of the case decided there was some need to speak to discredited 'prison informers' again, and this would be an example where when other aspects of the case don't hold water - particularly weak parts of the original case are looked at as significant despite having already failed. Likewise the failure of ids in the Watson and Hall cases, if they fail, or were improperly obtained, or undisclosed - out the door they should go, along with the conviction.

There should be no anxiety about tossing out failed or suspect evidence, and likewise the whole case where appropriate under the doctrine of experience or 'history' of the elements of mojs. Because when they are bitterly held onto the system destroys public belief in it self. There should never be anything personal attached to considering the reputation of the police or Judiciary, or the system itself when observing factors that weaken or destroy a conviction, because the system is therefore working against itself and not in the public interest. There should be no hint that the police or the system is self-protecting and every effort should be made to enhance that, one bent cop, or inquiry head, is one too many - yet we see a whole system capable of falling over itself in denial of the obvious, in the future that will be seen as a type of madness and those that looked elsewhere for support of something that has already failed at critical levels as corrupt.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My condolences to Jean Hubbard....

She has just lost her husband, now her dignity is picked from her as though she were a puaper or a beggar with speculation in the press as to who will pay for Alan Hubbards' funeral, also comments from the Prime Minister about the statutory management of her life. I think she may still be in hospital from the crash that led to Alan's death while vultures talk  destructively of her as a woman and nzer.

As far as I know she has asked for nothing, stoic and kind - in the face of adversity with her husband now gone.

Though for little it may be worth, my love to her and her family.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Falsely convicted Alan Hall, a study of never being wrong investigated by The Innocence Project.

After Arthur Easton was killed in his Papakura house prime witnesses described a 6ft offender probably Maori. According to Easton's sons the offender was right-handed, they fought with the intruder who came into their house, got a good look at him and were definite about his being right-handed. It would be likely that the pathologist had something to say about the dominant hand of the offender, or may have had something to say about that under questioning. One of those sons clubbed the offender over the head with a squash racket until the racket broke.

Some 4 months later a short, left-handed asthmatic European Alan Hall was charged with the murder. He'd never been in trouble before. The Innocence Project manager Dr Mathew Gerrie says of Alan Hall, 'I will tell you he is a very simple guy,' and points out that Alan does not have the cognitive abilities to mount his own case. He also says that the case is one that has flown under the radar and 'is one of the real shockers of the NZ justice system.' Alan was convicted and served some 10 years. It was his mother and brothers who uncovered the information that there was a witness from whose evidence it was omitted by police that he, the witness, had seen a 'Maori or dark - skinned male running' in suspicious circumstances nearby the crime scene at the relevant time and  not a shorter fair skinned older man.

There was no physical evidence linking Alan to the murder scene, not only was he too short, left-handed and white but the next day his workmates didn't notice any marks on him that might have resulted from his being clubbed with a squash racket that spilt none of his blood, saliva, foot or fingerprints at the scene. A woman whose evidence, had it been called, corroborated the evidence of the witness Turner gave the description above of 'a Maori or dark-skinned' told police in a patrol car near the scene that night, and repeated it the next day. The witness, Denise Richardson was never called by police nor were two motorists who corroborated what Denise and Ronald Turner said.

To make matters worse Ronald Turner was led by police to believe that a statement, that he signed unread, was a faithful account of Turner's description of the man seen running away after the fatal stabbing. Turner, conveniently was never called to give evidence or be cross-examined, his evidence was entered by consent. Hall's lawyer of the time was not told of Ronald Turner's description of the offender being omitted from the statement, nor was he  told of the evidence of the 2 other motorists and Denise Richardson. The information only came to light following its discovery through the Official Information Act after Alan Hall's appeal had already been dismissed. This being despite the fact that the trial Judge said Ronald Turner's evidence was important, not realising that it wasn't a faithful account of what Turner had seen, and being unaware that the true account was supported by 3 other witnesses not even called.

This is the first case that Project Innocence have sought to bring before the Courts, on this occasion by exercise of The Royal Prerogative of Mercy which for many years has shown itself to be an unwieldy, out dated concept. Alan Hall  is reported as saying that 'Arthur Easton has been wronged twice. They used his murder to convict an innocent man.' And points out that all he wants is for 'it to go back to court to get another trial where the whole story is heard.' Alan lives with his mum now, she had to down-size her house and shift to another area to fund help for her son.

Arthur Easton was killed on the evening of 13th October 1985, 6 years after Arthur Thomas was pardoned, around a decade before David Bain would be afforded 'an actual miscarriage of justice' by Dunedin police and prosecutors after his father shot his own family before turning the gun on himself leaving a plethora of forensic proof of his own suicide and 15 years before Scot Watson was imprisoned in another case where police preferred their own version of offender identification to that of their own witnesses. Two of those convicted, beside Alan are now freed, Arthur by a 'Royal Pardon' which accounted for planted cartridges cases used in the murders of the Crewe couple but which at the time of their deaths had not been manufactured. His ex wife unfortunately was never officially apologised to or compensated for being identified by 'innuendo' as being an accomplice at least after the fact when the police already had a positive identification of someone who remains alive being seen on the Crewe farm after the killings, and likely to have been feeding the Crewe's baby daughter. David Bain was found not guilty after a re-trial in which it was revealed that police, like in the Hall case, gave 'undertakings' to faithfully relate statements from uncalled witnesses but never did. Alan Hall has been 'free' since 1995 and now waits with Scot Watson the outcome of petition for the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

There is little sustainable argument that any of the 4 men should have ever been charged, and each case is characterised by the investigators misconduct and omissions of evidence. But in reality Arthur's ex wife Vivian Harrison went to her grave earlier this year plagued by the fact that there had never been as little as an official apology to her and I doubt that the case will ever be probably resolved until at least that happens or the police involved in the framing of Thomas are charged. David Bain waits 'patiently' while the current Government fail to act on his compensation for wrongful imprisonment. Hall and Watson wait, 2 of 4 brought together by injustices that now span over 40 years and which have resulted in 4 innocent men spending a cumulative total of 50 years in prison.

It's good to see The NZ Innocence Project embark on it's first case, but at the same time there remains a sadness that sucessive governments over 40 years have done little of lasting effect to expunge from our justice systems injustices that each have individual and collective characteristics that show the failure of a system. Even the formation of The Innocence Project blights the stagnant way our country deals with the falsely imprisoned, treating each case individually in a way that protects the system from criticism that draws substantial change and not connecting common features in a way that becomes 'text' book established, hallmarks, precedents, common events in the way the innocent are railroaded and left starved of justice and truth.

I hope  today, as Justice Minister Simon Power, fiddling in his last few months in office takes time to accept his own failure and that of his predecessors for not having the courage, willpower or humanity to connect common characteristics of known miscarriages of justice together, or even make a start on it, leaving it instead to individuals to unpick the deciet of the upholders of the law, the lethargy and failure to question from the Judicial bench, anybody within the system to say enough and to begin to construct a net that will not fail and let these cases of this type continue to fall through. As the record shows miscarriages of justice are often easily sighted, clumsly and illogical in their construction along with  requirements for evidence to be hidden or ignored, or sadly to be fabricated - something to prevent that in the majority of circumstances is within the easiest intellectual grasp of the brave and driven, to see there is no substitute for truth within our system of justice.

Good luck to Alan Hall and his family, of course to Scot Watson, the only 1 of the 4 mention above who still lanquishes in prison, best wishes to Project Innocence and how ashamed our past and present Ministers of 'Justice' should feel that finally a project to aid the innocent finds flight from within our universities and not from within our Courts or Governments.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ACC - a safety net or the hangman's trap door?

A woman is claiming ACC cover for mental injury after suffering post-traumatic stress disorder when she discovered her partner was HIV-positive.
In 2004, the woman found out her sexual partner was HIV-positive and endured a traumatic six-month wait to find out if she had also contracted the virus.
Though the test eventually came back negative, the woman became mentally ill and lost her job due to the stress. ACC refused compensation cover.
Appearing in the Court of Appeal yesterday her lawyer, John Miller, argued that the woman was the victim of a crime, not just an accident, according to the Dominion Post.
ACC would cover an injury, such as a bad back, sustained during sex, he said.
Physical injuries are covered, but mental injury was only covered in some situations, ACC's lawyer Alistair Barnett said.
The woman's former partner, Justin Dalley, was convicted of criminal nuisance in 2005 for not telling another sexual partner he was HIV-positive. Victims of certain crimes are covered but others, such as criminal nuisance, are not covered by ACC, Barnett said.

Here is another example where inconsistencies as to what situations ACC applys becomes a Court Case. John Miller points out that a bad back sustained during sex would be covered by ACC but not apparently the accidental trauma of discovering that one might have been infected with HIV. The more of these cases that become public show that there appears to be little commonsense in use of the safety net designed to capture members of the NZ public who suffer mental or physical injury. Also, a puritan like attitude if sex is involved that develops a mentality against victims of certain crimes, or unproven crimes.

Putting aside the specific details of this case or others for the moment, there is no escaping the cost, in 'saving' this money by denial, created difficulty or other means that this insurer uses - is greater than in fact provided the services. Pragmatism isn't at home at ACC, they'll spend a 1,000 to avoid paying 50. From an outsiders point of view it seems, like all insurers, their philosophy is to avoid paying out. I can't see the public benefit in that, particularly being one of those that pays ACC levies, I'd rather see the money spent in the spirit of catching those injured, rather than being used to fight against them using interpretations of the law rather than the spirit of the legislation. People are being paid to deny other nzers their right to ACC cover, people who seemingly harbour some disapproval of  victims of abuse in a way that reminds me of the ongoing ordeal of Louise Nicholas who isn't allowed to tell ACC of her stress disorders but must be told by ACC what they are or aren't. Then of course is Jacqui who has written here earlier and who like Louise resists being 'instructed' by ACC personnel who are operating under a design to deny claimants, in certain ACC categories, fairness. And for what? To deny them until they die, as happened to Vivian Harrison, under an equally unmoving Justice Department that allowed her to die without correcting the public record that she, like her husband, had never been involved in anyway in the Crewe murders.

Where's our egalitarian society headed when those physically or mentally injured have a trap door placed under their feet and not a safety net? Why are those entrusted to ensure the application of the spirit of the Act driven by denial to applicants? Why must applicants fight because of events they were not responsible for in anyway? Why don't the public know (this might be available I'm not sure) the actual cost of denying or delaying treatments under ACC compared to what the cost of those treatments would be. Traditionally, cost cutters are tasked with cutting down spending. It seems that ACC need someone to ensure delivery first of services rather than denial first. It's all a mindset, and at the moment the mindset is against those that ACC are legislated to serve.