Monday, April 4, 2016

Some of the ridiculous things about the Lundy case.

Foremost may be the evidence of a fat woman running from the scene in the early evening. A Jury were asked to believe Lundy, disguised as a woman, was seen running from the house following the murders. Of course an overweight woman running along the street was always going to draw attention the exact opposite to the point of being not noticed. Unfortunately a Jury believed that. In the second trial the fat woman was suddenly missing.

Then we had a high speed drive that took in parts of suburban NZ at, wait for it, an average speed of 120ks an hour. That was something else abandoned by the Crown. As though to completely outdo itself the Crown set the times of death relying on the sharp nose of Dr Peng who convinced a Jury that by smelling stomach contents of a deceased person he could pin point the time of death, a Jury believed that as well. Somehow the Crown wriggled it's way out of that at the second trial by saying they couldn't fix the time of death accurately. Interesting and ominously photos of the deceased stomach's contents were said not to be of sufficient quality so they were thrown out. Much like evidence was thrown out in other cases that proved to be Miscarriages of Justice, that of Arthur Thomas and David Bain. In Thomas important evidence was sent off to the tip, similarly in Bain because, as explained by ex Snr Sergeant Doyle 'the boys' didn't like having blood in the police station. Interesting to note here that despite the Thomas and Bain cases no instructions have ever come from Crown Law or the Government of the day for exhibits not to be discarded in cases where dispute remains about guilt. So why wouldn't police get rid of evidence that didn't suit them, fully understanding that no one will be held accountable for that. In Bain letters had been sent to those in charge of the exhibits that they were required for examination but old Doyle chucked them out anyway. With Lundy in 2 sets of a series of photos showing stomach contents, photos to the middle of the series were set to be of poor quality so were thrown out. Thinking about that, the photos were stored electronically virtually taking up no space and could have been examined independently but no, they were chucked out, deleted. The fact that such photos in a series of photos are said to have been impossible to suddenly be out of focus because the camera was set as it finished for perfect photos with only the middle being allegedly unusable. Of course it won't be missed by Joe average that the photos just happened to be the most important as being able to set the time of death - something which we see from the Crown as precise when it suited them and later as incalculable when they needed no such certainty of time. Chucked out, never confirmed by any independent authority as being unusable. So just like the Bain samples which could be used to prove innocence, the photos gone and no one accountable. It's situations like this that allow Miscarriages of Justice to continue and Crown officials to know they can get away with it. So maybe not ridiculous as much as ominous.

The following are also ominous. Lundy's shirt the most controversial piece of evidence in the Lundy case, handled according to the police manual? Well no. The officer in charge Grantham was overcome by the need to have it handled in a 'special' way. At the first trial he said he did this because he didn't want information to get out about the shirt. He didn't want Lundy to know. Straight up, that's the evidence he gave. So we are to assume that Lundy had free access to the police station, police files and information from the police? Well that's what Grantham appears to have thought. How else would Lundy know? And what if he did find out, what would the result have been, what could he have possibly done? Grantham kept the shirt details close to his chest, appearing to not trust other police in case they leaked to Lundy information that he could do nothing about anyway. With a critical piece of evidence Grantham broke protocol and nothing happened, just as is the case in Thomas and Bain. He knew Crown Law would turn a blind eye to while the Judiciary sat on their hands. There was nothing to discourage him from going outside the parameters because he was protected by Crown Law and the Courts as it prevails. Well heck, even after the first conviction was quashed in part because of hidden evidence helpful to the defence Grantham was not relieved of his status as Officer in Charge, he was actually supported to continue in the role. Resign? What for, he'd only done what others had done in other cases of  Miscarriages of Justice, nothing new there - move on.

Well a little further anyway. That shirt had two small spots on it, Dr Teoh the pathologists in charge of the case  said that the 2 spots were too downgraded to rely upon for testing. Not good enough for Grantham he after all had no scientific training but he knew a thing or 2 about almost invisible spots on a shirt. Enough to break the manual rules on how evidence was to recorded and managed in case Mark Lundy found out about it and did, well nothing. But that isn't the point, Grantham wasn't taking no for an answer he was off to America. Before he left of course a mystery developed that has yet to be solved. Some brain samples belonging to Christine appear to have been released to somebody for testing. So who was it in america that could do something something that Dr Teoh said could lead to unreliable results that could result in an innocent man going to prison. He'd had be a Forensic Pathologist of international standing obviously. No sorry, he was Dr Miller with a lab not accredited for Forensic testing who lived in Texas. One thing about living in Texas surely meant he had given evidence about such things before. No, precisely not. On an issue such as this he wouldn't not have been allowed to give evidence in his own state.

So we have a Dr testing a minute sample for Central Nervous System material months after it had apparently arrived on the shirt. This is material that degrades from the moment it leaves the body, it is withering and rendering to unstable state, as Dr Teoh said unable to be reliable for testing. So in many ways this is a story about an orphan with 3 alleged brothers all from the same brain. One brother landed on a phone in the Lundy home another on a place mat, both were tested soon after and found, as expected to be too down graded. These two pieces of brain were large and visible to the eye of scientists inspecting the scene who were able to identify what they were readily.

Mean while the 2 smaller pieces alleged to the same material from Christine's brain were said to have found their way onto Lundy's shirt as he, according to the Crown, killed his wife and daughter. Not wanting to put to finer point on it but the first pieces had been among a shower of such material that left a shadow on the wall, that is the a sheltered place where no brain spatter sprayed because of the assailant standing between the wall and Christine. That person blocked the spray from at least landing on the shadow area. That blocked spray fell on the assailant. Should I say not as tiny specks but a torrent of blood, brain, bone, hair and spinal cord material.

So back to the shirt and the two small spots, one on the left sleeve and one on the chest area. The sleeve spot was found to be either human brain material or animal brain material. The spot on the chest, like the 2 samples from the house were too downgraded to be tested. So including the 1 from the phone and the 1 from the place mat, and according to the fragile nature of stem cell or brain material once outside the body 75% of the samples failed to be a standard suitable for testing. 1 somehow miraculously survived and only 1 person that we know of in this story who believed it would have survived wasn't a Doctor or a Forensic Pathologist but was in fact a police officer who broke the handling of exhibits protocol, in other words didn't do what the book says. How did he know? What made him so certain, what actually did he see through a microscope that Dr Teoh didn't see? Did he even have a microscope is probably more to the point. To have to ask these questions with a man in prison for allegedly having 2 spots on a shirt would be ridiculous if it wasn't so sad. That man of course is Mark Lundy, never violent in his life, never before convicted of any crime, never involved in prison violence a man who lost his wife and child and his liberty for something only a man without a microscope could see.

That was a sobering last sentence to write, about the real man and his real family taken from him. Taken by who. you may ask. I think it is by a system that allows evidence to be presented which was highly controversial by it's nature. Not only that but from a source that one cannot help think should have had a 100% fail rate, but which somehow survived for months when similar matter didn't last hours, a tiny speck which even after it's shirt partner had fallen to being too downgraded - survived, to be either human or animal brain matter and a man is convicted on that. Convicted on the evidence of a police officer who according to the manual mishandled an exhibit, after brain samples were released shortly before his trip to America where they were tested in a Lab which was not accredited for such work, where there was no external control or rules - where the Doctor did things the way he wanted and got paid in American dollars courtesy of Grantham - a true believer in the 2 spots.

It goes further and gets even more ridiculous. The American with the unaccredited Lab who could not have been able to give the same evidence in own State, was allowed to give evidence in NZ by the Courts. His uncontrolled methods outside the American protocols were ok in NZ. This because of a peculiar Judgement by our Court of Appeal who said that the Lundy retrial would not be a scientific contest, would be easily followed by a Jury because two international experts would provide evidence for and against the American's Doctors unaccredited, uncontrolled methods. They did that because it appears they were blind to a single fact that if there was 'draw' to be had with witnesses for and against cancelling one another out then that should have fallen in favour of Lundy otherwise another Miscarriage of Justice might occur. Well one did,

The special mishandling of the exhibit, the evidence of Dr Teoh, the lost sample brain samples of Christine just before Grantham' trip, the sole survivor sample of alleged human or animal brain found in an unaccredited Laboratory by an unaccredited for such work Dr Miller meant that the stage was set for exactly what could happen. Lundy found guilty by a Jury who returned to ask a question not about the forensic evidence but about Lundy's statement to police - even then they got a redacted version because all the information about the earlier time of death had been redacted. They got to hear about controversial science but not the comments of a police officer berating Lundy for committing the murders at a time the police would later change.

But for now back to the ridiculous, nay scandalous events. If Doctor Miller was in NZ he wouldn't be accredited to do the tests from which it must be considered, although contentious, resulted in Lundy's conviction. He wouldn't be able to drive a motor vehicle, he wouldn't be allowed to enter certain laboratories, he wouldn't be authorised to do his tests, nor be accredited to give evidence on them had he been able to do them in an unaccredited Lab. Miller admitted that he was personally not qualified as a forensic path (that is a contributor on the journey to evidence being admissible in a criminal court). He also said that his lab, ProPath, was not accredited, he also admitted that he was unaware of the International Standard ISO17025. He claimed that he was unaware of the American Society of Criminal Laboratory Accreditation Board ( meaning he was unaccredited). When asked in cross examination if he would be allowed to have given his evidence in Texas, knowing that it was clear he would not, or been allowed to have taken part in the building of a forensic path, his answer was evasive 'This case was not done in Texas it was done in NZ.' He of course was exactly right in his evasion. But the point is that without the checks and balances that would have applied had he been in NZ he was given free licence to give evidence unacceptable to the Courts both in his own Country, and NZ.

Add that to Grantham apparently knowing what the tiny spots were when scientists were unable to do so in NZ, the way Grantham handled the samples beyond the method prescribed in the manual, the missing samples of Christine's brain released some time before the trip to America and it doesn't spell ridiculous but something far worse.

1 comment:

  1. From a somewhat sceptical correspondent:

    Yes that blood silhouette effect in the Lundy case is interesting.It implies that the assailant was pretty much covered in blood spatter.It makes me wonder how the person cleaned themselves up afterwards.Did they use a Lundy family towel, or shower or just walk out down the street to their car? Or did he strip off and have a spare set of clothes?Lundy’s car had no blood in it and the shower drain was checked at his hotel for any signs of human tissue.Unfortunately with the Lundy case I think there are always more questions than answers.