Saturday, December 28, 2013

What's in store for Kent Parker.

It seems the reserved Judgement is unlikely to be released this year leaving Kent the unwelcome opportunity to consider his 'fate' longer than he might have hoped for. The delay in itself is very interesting and something upon which speculation might be built. I personally think the Judgement may in some ways be a landmark. The reasons for that are numerous. First of all it's unlikely there has ever been a sustained defamatory attack of this nature and over such a long period of time before in New Zealand. Additionally, the fact that the offences took place on the internet as well as else where will likely be giving The Court pause for thought.

Kent, like all the sisters, has shown a remarkable ability to shoot himself in one foot then the other. It would be only a naïve sister who would consider that Kent's undertaking to the Court to take down his hate-site, only to do so and then reinstate it, would not have been brought to the Court's attention. There may in fact be definable elements of Contempt of Court in those actions. Whether that is the case or not, Kent has demonstrated how far he and the sisters are off the planet once again by showing their 'concerns' for justice actually, and at will, become straight out law-breaking. If Kent, wanted to further aggravate his situation (as if it needed it,) then misleading the Court was a good choice. How he might imagine that the Court would happily be deceived and not response was about as silly as the sisters swallowing the cover up of Robin Bain's suicide. That is not the point here however because Kent has 'successfully', along with Aunt Fanny and other dimwits, managed to get himself, The Herald, TradeMe and Fairfax sued - and in style. They alone have been singularly responsible for 'cyber space' starting to be 'clean up.' It was they and others that thought 'cyber space' had no borders. The word space must have confused them by comparison to the great empty space of their own minds where any bewildering thought could take flight and somehow become real.

The only thing real now is their fall to earth, and contemplation as to 'who else' will be legally brought to task. These, I think, could be observations contained in the Judgement when it is finally released. A construction, or definition, spelt out in simple terms not only of the damage done by Kent and the sisters but where those borders and boundaries of cyber 'space' fit within conventional Law to the point it is finally realised the reason why daily newspapers don't post anonymous attacks, or indeed threats, anticipating that it is legal. Or indeed why, they don't simply publish as 'facts' something which they read elsewhere, heard 2nd hand or indeed print anything that can't be established without doubt as being true. As I have written before, I had these conversations with Kent earlier. The fact is I also had them with TradeMe in particular as long ago as 2009. Nothing has changed about the 'argument' only the acceptance that legal precedent and principle have always applied in cyber place and that it was only 'space cadets' without boarding passes who were unable to understand that.

So what is in store for Kent Parker is literally unknown, he may have fled, may be thinking of doing so, pulling some psychiatric stunt who knows. He could simply be anticipating his fate feeling like a martyr without a real cause beyond his own aspirations. What is in store for the rest of the community is the possibility of a 'growing up' of use of the internet. Possibly 'class' actions against Facebook and others who for many years attempted to absolve themselves of their users care with a type of self-indemnity that is showing cracks and continuing to splinter. In that respect Kent Parker inadvertently may have done a good thing,

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Where Scott Watson finds himself at Christmas.

Think a little of a man or woman with a grievance, some dispute over land or property that has left them feeling wronged because they know, that some part of that wrong is obviously unjust. Transpose that land or property to freedom and particularise that grievance to evidence of guilt and you may come some where near how Scott Watson may feel this Christmas.

When a person considers the considerable merits of a Jury trial it is because of the vast range of character, perception, prejudice, bias, sympathy that individuals bring to their task of judging the innocence or guilt of one of their peers. All of those human characteristics based on life's experiences brought together to bring a balanced and blended view of the guilt or innocence of another human being. But what if some of that evidence is wrong, or no longer supported in it's certainty? Well in New Zealand we have a system where a representative of the Crown, the prosecuting body, will 'investigate' that evidence. Such is the situation with the Queen's Counsel Kristy McDonald. She was tasked to 'look into' various matters as to the safety of Scott Watson's conviction that has seen him imprisoned for over a decade.

Two specifics of that 'looking into' were a 'confession' attested to by a prison inmate who was virtually a stranger to Watson but to whom he apparently confessed in gross details sure to disturb or convince any peer. The other was 'forensic' proof, 2 hairs found on a blanket which were not 'found' during a previous search, and which, at very best may have at best been from 1000s of others of which none may have been one of the victims Olivia Hope. Imagine now the 'war' as the prosecution advanced its case against Watson in his trial. They were able to contend that Watson was a murderer who had confessed to, yes, a prison inmate he didn't know. After keeping 'mum' for months and many years since, he coughed to a prison inmate who just happened to gain some benefit from the police for his coughing.

Thinking about that might be a little disconcerting. Most people realise the some sing 'for their supper' and therefore what they sing must be closely scrutinised, particularly where a man or woman may become falsely imprisoned. Any troubling concerns about that could be overcome for example of a positive test for dna of one of the victims in this case being found on a blanket taken from Watson's boat. 2 hairs found there, that might fill the gap. It could fill the gap, resonant over doubts that  a man might mysteriously confess to another he did not know.

So this is what we have with Watson - a confession supported by doubt. When I say doubt, I mean the two hairs that are not proven to have come from Olivia Hope and which by some disturbing reason were not 'found' in the beginning but only in a later search. That's broadly 2 things until the prison inmate, rewarded for his 'evidence' says, hold on what I said wasn't the truth. The prison inmate recants. The man whose evidence the prosecution held aloft as they marched to 'war' has said he wasn't telling the truth. So Watson goes 'inside' the system to find a remedy, Mercy in fact.

However, 'inside' the merciful system is a waste land. The promised 'hope' for the vanquished is an empty place as empty as a fleeing debtor's past promises. More so, apart from being largely abandoned all the counters to which Watson might go are 'manned' by the same person - Ms McDonald. She is investigator, Judge, Jury and Court of Appeal. Of course she is awfully busy, too busy in fact to appreciate that a potentially innocent man, one whom has had telling evidence withdrawn against him should have his plea addressed in a timely manner. In fact Ms McDonald takes several years to complete the file, perhaps because she needed time to shift from counter to counter and role to role. No doubt a particular mind set is required to assume each role that can't be rushed. Watson waits, of course he has no choice. Then a few months ago after several years Ms McDonald's report is finally released.

She hasn't been able to 'find' the witness. In her acute wisdom, she feels that is not a problem, just because the evidence of the witness can no longer stand the conviction can be 'upheld' by the hairs the origin of which are in doubt. I've written before that McDonald's report and her undertaking the role of the Appeal Court in particular is Constitutionally wrong but it is wrong in another way - it is neither fair nor merciful.

Scott Watson finds himself in prison at Christmas for the 11th or 12 time at least, held by evidence that no longer exists,  that which is no longer at the forefront of the prosecution parade 'a confession' but which now however, is replaced by doubtful and speculative evidence upon which the 'confession' once rested in a mutual embrace of doubt.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The hate-sites hit a snag, again.

The devastating defeat of the hate-sites continue. Since the Crown decided to pursue a second trial of David Bain after the first was determined to be an 'actual miscarriage of Justice' it's all been down hill. A verdict of innocent by the second Jury in record time, a finding of factual innocence by a Jurist tasked to inquiry into an application by David for compensation, then a Judicial Review of the Minister's decision to 'interfere' with that decision and a series of defeats as to the honesty and truth of those that have attacked Bain and Joe Karam for years.
The New Zealand Herald settled a defamation claim quite quickly on, Trade Me followed, so now have Fairfax - they have all retired from the 'truth' of the claims made against Karam and his simple analysis of a case of murder suicide from which a innocent young man spent over a dozen years in prison. If one was absolutely crazy they could believe that the failure of The Crown to prove a case against Bain, both at trial and again as part of a exercise to argue against compensation for him, was of no significant merit. Accordingly, they could look toward the Civil courts for The Herald, Trade Me and Fairfax to prove that they were not insane, batty or even delusional - the big guns would 'prove' the truth, reveal what the sisters knew as true.  All good, except the Herald, Trade Me and Fairfax couldn't prove the un-provable either, odd that. Boringly predictable unfortunately.
There has been some significant public benefit however. Fairfax have not resisted the proposition that what is posted on their sites, or linked to their sites, is there responsibility - whether the posting was the work of a bunch of nutters or not. The wider benefit of this is the development of the understanding on the use on the internet. The word should be out, that abusing or threatening others on line in a public forum is not only the responsibility of the persons posting, but of the publisher or medium. This is very fair, and to this point 'escaped' from The Herald, TradeMe and Fairfax. What they allow to published through their mediums is there responsibility, they are not somehow remote from it.
The message is out that while some dodo bird might 'speak their minds' on the net in a public forum the host remains responsible. So Facebook will be responsible for teens urging other teens to commit suicide or for abusing others on line. This is a clear and precise development in the use of the net, also very obvious. The New Zealand Courts have supported these settlements and others under the Harassment Act where there has been online stalking, threats and intimidation. The Law has caught up. Congratulations to Joe Karam and The Courts for understanding the net with it's apparent new frontier.
In the meantime, more bad news for the sisters - they've created a place in history for themselves and it's not the one they first imagined.