Monday, November 25, 2013

Protecting 'injustice' in New Zealand.

Everything arising from a common denominator will have similar elements, often simple, expected characteristics that quickly reveal any construction of deception and lies. So it is with Miscarriages of Injustice in New Zealand. It's one thing to point them out, as simply as they were the missing clothes of the Emperor, yet another to grapple with why the 'system' allows them to repeat, then treats them as if they were novel and not simply paragraphs from the tried and true 'Book on how to frame a suspect.'

Take a look at some well known examples, just as one would look at 'evidence' in isolation and then later in continuity.

#The shell casing found in the 'Thomas' case, first it wasn't there then it was. 40 years have passed no police action, apart from some promotions and awards in the decades that followed.

#The 'Weir' glasses lens in the 'Bain' case, it was there 3 days without being seen but however was said to be visible in a photo taken at the time, then after 3 days 'discovered' after hours by Weir who later admitted misleading a Jury about it's position. So a lens that couldn't be found, but which was 'photographed' only to be 'freshly' discovered under a ski boot. 20 years past, no police action against Weir, no police action against the Officer in Charge of the case who so willingly accepted the 'find' without question, and no comment by the various Judges involved directing that a criminal investigation be launched as to whether or not there had been a Conspiracy to Defeat the Course of Justice.

#The Teina Pora case where he tried to claim a reward for a murder of which he lied about knowing the perpetrators. His claim was dismissed as fantasy. Around a year later he was held for 4 days incommunicado by ex Detective Rutherford, refused a lawyer and 'assisted' to admissions which resulted in his being convicted of a crime he clearly didn't commit. This while at the same time allowing the true perpetrator, 'lone wolf' serial rapist and killer Malcom Rewa, to escape conviction. Case still before the Courts, no investigation into Rutherford, no Judicial 'interest' or public comment about a case of a clear Miscarriage of Justice whilst Pora remains in prison having served 20 years.

#Lundy, convicted on 'witchcraft' a 'smell test' on digested food to determine time of death, 'hidden' advice that suspected DNA was too de-generated to test before going abroad to find a now discredited Scientist, with a now discredited 'search' approach to gain a conviction where it might safely be said no convicted would have otherwise resulted. Still before the Courts, the Prosecutor responsible for the file in which the evidence was hidden promoted to a high position in Crown Law.

#Watson. Many witnesses key to Watson's identification now saying, that following the proper and lawful procedures of identification, they would not have identified him as having been with the missing couple. A series of inconsistencies - over the identification of the yacht onto which the deceased couple boarded - most critically that they 'stepped up' to board the yacht which they were dropped off to, rather than stepped across or down onto Watson's yacht. A central witness recanting his evidence of a 'confession' by Watson, some how now unable to be 'found' by The Crown but the evidence recently 'allowed' to stand by a QC commissioned to investigate a petition for clemency, and who took it upon herself to 'test' fresh evidence, and evidence going to the 'safety' of the Conviction, in a manner at odds with that applied by New Zealand Courts and the Privy Council. The 'reliance' on 2 hairs, to uphold the conviction, that were from the same 'gene pool' as one of the deceased but not necessarily belonging to the deceased,  and which weren't found on a blanket from Watson's yacht 'before' some hairs were removed from hair brushes in the home of Olivia Hope. Then, coincidentally, 'found' during a 'further' search of the same blanket in the laboratory to which the hairs had been delivered . Case dormant at the moment whilst Watson remains in prison. A reasonable chance of success if a Judicial Review was sought, as to the 'manner' of the QC 'findings' and the extra judicial approach taken. In 'fairness' a case which ought to be before The Court of Appeal to be argued either for the conviction to be quashed or a retrial ordered. A 'campaign' was waged against Watson before he was ever charged, it was put in the public mind that he was guilty. Personnel involved in the Bain case were also involved in the Watson case and importantly, like Bain, one person was targeted as being guilty to the exclusion of others that might have been guilty.

Of course all the above cases have other aspects than are not mentioned here. Possibly only in the Watson case was their immediate public disquiet about the verdict, generally in the others it was considered that the police had got the right person until, as it invariably does, the 'wrong' evidence began to emerge. Motive in all of the above claimed by the police were never straight forward, and in some cases bizarre - note here the tendency that when a person is 'framed' the continuity of the allegations against them is stretched to incredulity. David Bain 'apparently' ducking in and out of bushes, a liar one minute and truthful the next when it suited The Crown. Thomas, happily married, but 'disgruntled' by a gift that was never opened, his alibi witnesses discredited by the same police who would plant evidence implicating him. The Watson motive 'revealed' by a prisoner in bizarre and incredulous detail even though he was a stranger to Watson and a 'friend' of the police.

What can be said about all these cases as time has passed is that there is a situation alive in NZ where 'injustice' is protected, where the perpetrators of those injustices are protected and in many cases rewarded. It can also be said that the police or Crown take passively the news that officers have 'lied' under oath, so to the Courts. It appears that never once has a Judge ordered the evidence of lying police officer to be investigated, or that police willingly have done anything other than ignore people such as Jones in the Bain case admitting that he 'lied' to help the Jury. So why did Jones lie 20 years of so after Hutton framed Thomas? Because he knew no person in his situation before him had suffered any consequence for 'planting' evidence or lying to a Jury, that in fact such actions were not
'unsettling' to the respective Judges and in some ways might be seen as being later possible passages to the reward of promotion in some way. There is an immunity abroad in the administration of Justice in New Zealand for those that take part in injustices, those that lie, hide or plant evidence and the Courts that don't speak out.

If Jones for example was charged for perjury in the Bain case, if not by the Police then by the venerable McCready of Wellington, convicted and sentenced to imprisonment - a message would be broadcast. One which says that the police are neutral gatherers of evidence and the truth, they don't have 'positions' or 'stances'  and no investment in their work beyond the oaths they take to serve the New Zealand public, that if it is 'too hard' to find evidence to convict they don't some how 'find' it, or if there is evidence showing an accused person's innocence. or likely innocence, they do not hide it, or 'promise,' as Weir did, to 'correct' it on the record. The Courts, Crown Law and the Police Administration are guilty of turning a 'blind eye' to an environment where actual miscarriages of Justice are happening, right now, today.

Approaching this another way, as MOJs are so small represented in overall conviction rates, proving that police get it right something like 99.9% of the time then what benefit if for them to 'fight' from a 'neutral position' the few times when MOJs emerge, not just fight for months, or years, but decades.
Fight, a long time long after some of the original participants are dead. There can only really a few people responsible for that the Minister and Commissioner of the Day and the attendant Government. It is them that take up the 'cudgels' of the indefensible, who get dragged down to the common denominator. It is safe to assume such individuals never imagined that their professional, or political lives, would morph into denying common sense, turning a blind eye, and supporting the dark arts of solving mysteries by trading with the devil or conjuring evidence in a place that would circumstantially 'prove' a case that might otherwise be un-provable.

Of course there a public pressure on police to 'solve' certain crimes, but no crime is solved by framing somebody, in fact more crime is committed by doing so. In the middle somewhere it is grey, no doubt villains are sometimes successfully framed for crimes that have committed. But looking at the cases above none of those falsely convicted were villains, 3 had no convictions, one was basically a truant school kid who even at seventeen had the mental development of a child under 12, while the last had minor brushes with the law. What we do know, is that in framing Thomas and Pora the real culprits escaped conviction, Demler in the first instance and Malcom Rewa in the second.  Whilst in the Bain case the father Robin's hands were conclusive proof of his guilt and the primary reason his son should never have been charged. With Lundy it has become in some quarters that he must be guilty because no one else would have done it, well hello on that one. If he's guilty where's the proof because speculation means nothing. In Watson if the police no longer have the confidence of one or more of their prime witnesses why isn't that tested before a Jury, it proves that the first trial was a counterfeit version.

As far as the real culprits escaping conviction, it can't be underlined enough where the blame lies for that. The blame is with the 'blinkered' approach starting with investigating police, the Officer in Charge and Crown Law for not being able or willing to test the questionable, they as Lawyers must be aware of - such as items missed on earlier searches, scientific advice contrary to the thrust of the police case, the production of witnesses ready to sing for their supper, a credible narrative, the application of common sense - as in Bain where one suspects hands told of his involvement in the murder of his family, while the others were free of evidence that might link him to the crime. This is really at the second stage where The Crown are buying into a hypothesis, one that clinically often will not make sense. They have begun to make the case 'work.' The 'correct' person has been arrested or is about to be arrested, the ducks lined up. Will common sense prevail, a Judge perhaps asking a telling question when the matter is before him or her - the answer is no - the decades of an injustice are just beginning and the police, The Crown and The Court will see in many cases witnesses commit perjury, knowing, confident that they will never be charged. It has become institutional.

Is there an answer? Yes, deterrent. Imprisonment for perjury, conspiring to defeat the Course of Justice and all the elements that allow police like Weir and Jones to 'admit' lying or misleading and suffer no consequence. Hutton for never pursuing Len and Heather Demler by exploiting the obvious flaws in Heather Demler's account of arriving in the Pukekawa district and ultimately exercising proprietary rights over family holdings in the area. Of course Hutton was never interested in how that cartridge case came to be found in that garden bed despite having a red hot trial to its time of manufacture and transport to Pukekawa because he was the 'architect' and officer in charge of framing Arthur Thomas. Would Weir and Jones been more careful with their evidence, nonsense about skin sharpening in profile when under pressure, if it were a fact that Hutton had been brought to task? If the big things are to be fixed it is the detail of the smaller picture - that which is blatantly revealed in the belief that good can follow from a bad common denominator.

1 comment:

  1. A good summary Nos, you could add in the Scott Guy case and the ridiculous fairy story that the crown tried to sell to the jury of how Ewen MacDonald 'did' it. Fortunately the jury didn't buy it, He should never have been charged.
    And yes there are various police as you correctly point out that should have faced criminal charges over their actions, justice in NZ is a joke, its all about winning, who cares if its true or not