I only became aware of Arthur Taylor prosecuting a secret witness this morning. The link is provided below.
My initial thoughts were something along the lines...of what the hell. Later I realised Taylor's efforts might give rise to resolving 2 other cases, that of Watson and Lundy as well as his current case involving the secret witness who has been charged with giving perjured evidence against the released lifer David Tamahere details of which are included in the link.
First off when thinking about secret witnesses lying it's important to remember that they are provided the opportunity by willing police who feel that without the secret witness they may not gain a conviction. In the case of Arthur Thomas the secret witness was called at the Royal Commission to reveal that Thomas had confessed to him. So in Thomas, not strictly to gain a conviction, but rather to recover lost police credibility. We don't know what favours the secret witness in Tamahere gained, but certainly it's clear he perjured himself, evidenced by the body found later by police buried with no injuries to the head - conflicting with the secret witnesses claim that Tamahere had confessed to bashing the man's head before dumping the body at sea. That's an inventive tale and I will be interested if it emerges who assisted with details of that story, particularly about the watch referred to in the link.
I've blogged here earlier about the Watson case coming to a standstill in part because the police could not find their secret witness who recanted. In fairness, if a police case fails to stand up it is not the responsibility of the convicted person to produce the police witness but the other way around. In the Watson and Lundy case both reflect a vulnerability of coming prosecutions coming undone because of the secret witnesses they used. In my opinion it was just plain dumb for Grantham to rely on a secret witness. But the impression is that he did so soon after the PC ordered Lundy's conviction quashed was because he panicked. The reality is that he was jumping from the pan to the fire because Lundy's conviction relies in part on a secret witness who like the one of the secret witnesses in the Watson case could also recant.
I can predict that Taylor will not let his private prosecution go until he succeeds. This will bring into focus why police did not prosecute the witness themselves on the discovery of Hoglin's body in circumstances opposite in every detail to what the witness had said. Other problems present in that the witness may plead not guilty and claim entrapment of some sort by police and the deal they did with him. Taylor's move is to be welcomed if it opens the lid on a number of cases where secret witness have clearly worked with police and lied in Court. It may also provide a fast track for remedying the retrial of Lundy should someone, alleged that Pang Attempted to Pervert the Course of Justice in the Lundy case in the specific area of his changing times of death of the deceased.
Watson is equally interesting in that the witness who has recanted and who the police 'can't find,' could well be privately charged with perjury in circumstances where the prosecution sought no penalty by view of the witnesses recantation.
Suddenly, a number of cases that were carefully kept in isolation have a common denominator which could see a falling skittles affect. The sheer irony of scrutiny coming about because of a serving prisoner is not lost on this commentator. Arthur Taylor who was taking away from his parents at a young age for being a truant and who when entering state care went on like 80% of his peer group to become a criminal touches irony to the extreme should he become part of the dis-assembly of a number of what appear to be false convictions arising from injustices committed by the same authorities.
I have had conversations with others recently over the apparent reluctance of some Lawyers to argue cases on appeal which have possible undercurrents of accused or convicted people being poorly represented in one way or another at trial. Some have referred to it as an old boy's club thing. Well Taylor owes nothing to that club and is not confused about his task at hand, fairness and justice for all.
Not surprisingly I have thought about Vivian Thomas, Arthur's ex wife, this morning and how as the result of police refusing to charge Hutton with planting evidence in that case - Vivian went to her grave having never received an apology from police for their claim that she had fed the baby Rochelle after the murders and before the discovery of her parent's bodies.
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic ... d=11635525