OK, so here's the story of what actually happened at the conference today.
Lindy Chamberlain wept when she talked of baby Azaria in her speech;
Tipple choked when he described his battle for her; Ochoa got distinctly
wobbly-voiced when he described how his mother was stressed to the point of a
stroke by his false conviction; Estelle Blackburn had to pause and wipe her eyes
describing her fight for John Button; Rubin Carter and John Artis choked up
describing the way their lives changed for ever and so many years were stolen
from them; Barry Scheck got emotional when talking about the great numbers he
has helped and the horror of the even greater numbers needing help.
his speech, and the whole room was in tears; everyone was enormously moved by
the love and courage David showed, and by the enormity of what this man had gone
through. It's been a day of sadness in some ways: of loss and betrayal by the
system that is supposed to be there to protect us
So David was no different.
What was particularly shocking was that not only did he get wrongly convicted of
a heinous crime, but that was on top of finding his family dead and the profound
emotional devastation that caused; it was on top of not being allowed to attend
his family's funerals and say goodbye. What was different, and silenced everyone
listening, was the enormity of what he went through. Lindy Chamberlain lost a
baby and then in effect her other children. But David lost his whole
In his speech, David went through his family, delivering a eulogy
for each person, with great love, respect and affection. He had to stop
regularly to gather his composure, frequently his voice became choked and his
jaw worked as he tried to regain control. David described the
shock and sheer terror of what happened that morning in painful detail, having
to pause to calm his voice and his indignation palpable at the end. The
delegates were all, without exception, enormously shocked by what he had said;
deeply sympathetic, and respecting his fortitude in being able to speak about
And then, as soon as his talk was over (and the journos had all been
sitting in the back) they went off for the press conference. The first question
asked was 'David, did you kill your family?' Then "David, why did you say you
hated your father?'
Everyone at the conference was shocked at the crassness,
cruelty and blatant stupidity of the questions. Hotel staff wre gossiping about
it in shocked disbelief. One of the bars decided that they would not serve the
journalists. Delegates accosted and asked for their opinions refused to answer,
treating the journalists with the contempt everyone felt they
And then? Off they went. They had had their opportunity to
savage David, to kick at him when he had spoken so eloquently and movingly. They
took it, spitefully and callously, and then left.
Did they avail
themselves of the opportunity to inform themselves about the conference, about
the common features of miscarriages of justice and wrongful convictions?
Apparently not. Did they take advantage of the opportunity to talk to
international lawyers, forensic scientists, criminal profilers, and all the
others working for the sake of true justice? No, but they did spend time in the
casino. And they asked a man who had just spoken for an hour of the pain, grief
and suffering he had experienced and obviously still feels at finding his
beloved family dead; who had described in detail what had happened....whether he
had killed them.
Would those journalists' mothers be proud of them? I
I was ashamed to be a New Zealander today.
(My footnote, one of those journalists was Martin Van Beynan, associated to the hate-sites at least by being quoted and lauded there. He has a support base of hate-siters, and his question was about hate and it was a distored lie, I'll include the name of the other 'journalist' when I have it confirmed.)