Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another part of the Lundy retrial con.

I think most observers of the Lundy case  narrow the evidence against Lundy down to 2 areas: the times of death (tod) of Christine and daughter Amber, and the spots on Lundy's shirt. Putting emotion or feelings 1 way or the other aside - that is the Crown case, that Mark Lundy's wife and daughter died during a period when he could have left Wellington and returned home to kill them for a reason which has never been established. On that point the times of death are critical, the second aspect is a single spot on Lundy's shirt said to be central nervous tissue from Christine (brain matter) which had been chemically enhanced before being tested in an unauthorised for forensic purposes overseas lab, and tellingly later found to contain animal central nervous tissue traces which under any explanation means the spot was changed by chemicals along with being contaminated. That's what you get I guess paying unauthorised folks half a world away to test your samples that no one in NZ will test because they believe them to be too downgraded and unreliable for testing.

I want to deal with another aspect of the times of death. Those with knowledge of the case will remember the late change to the prosecution case against Lundy. 2 weeks before the retrial the Crown suddenly revealed that their benchmark evidence that Christine and Amber were killed around 7pm was revised to have been some 8 hours later at around 3am the following morning. I've been doing a lot of reading on that change. I've never accepted that the Lundy defence were given ample time to prepare with only 2 weeks notice to a major chance to the Crown case, I also believe the Crown must have known about the anticipated change at least a year or 2 earlier. It was a deceitful manipulation of the rules in criminal cases of discovery to the other side, putting the defence under pressure from which, to my observations, they didn't recover despite best intentions.

Everything in a prosecution has a design. In the first trial the Crown had designed it's case around a different time of death, one which barely captured Lundy by time - in fact few people believed the high speed trip Lundy was alleged to have taken from Wellington and back unseen. The Crown case had been in trouble from the moment the Privy Council over turned ML's conviction, in part because of the evidence of Dr Pang who set the time of death at the first trial, and secondly because evidence had been hidden, not held back to the last minute as happened at the retrial - but the impact of which was just as bad. However some evidence was still withheld some of which I mention here later. Anyone interested in this case would routinely be interested in not only the changed tod but how it was made to fit, that is how a witness gave explicit evidence as to a tod of 7 to 7.15 to 15 years later make the unintelligible claim that the victims must have died between the time they were last seen or heard from and when they were found  deceased - a difference between a specific time to a general claim that it could have been at any point within a 14 hour period. That deserves a closer look.

Pang said he changed his evidence after doing more reading. Whatever one's feelings are about this case it can hardly been appreciated that a witness changes his evidence after 15 years as the result of doing some more reading. Pang was a professional man, if he was to change his evidence he needed to provide certain reasons for that, however he never did. He was very vague and that's a clear indication to the design of his changes to the times of death. The Crown needed the times of death to fall from one abandoned specific time, to another that fell outside Lundy' alibi. I should say accidental alibi - because on the new Crown case he didn't need one, so much for that falsity.

The change of the tod at the retrial is the prime example of where the Crown slipped up, and why it certainly looks that Lundy is innocent on the Crown case alone as you will see later. Pang never gave any evidence of realistic weight as to why he had changed his mind. Despite the reading he had done since the first trial, Pang was unable to explain why he had never weighed the stomach contents at autopsy, he was also unable to explain if the had taken body temperatures for fear of disturbing evidence - what they evidence could have possibly been. He also didn't explain something that the Jury were never to know, that he in his complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) over a documentary that took issue with his tods, he referred to another book he had read where autopsy procedure was to weigh the stomach contents. He obviously wasn't concerned about that enough to tell the Jury and the Crown were quite happy to hide his explanation of supporting facts for BSA, he simply appeared to just want to change the times of death in a vague way so as to allow the Crown to claim that Lundy could have murdered his family in at 3am in the morning.

Because Pang couldn't do that without getting more egg on his face the Crown called Dr Sage, something of a hotshot Forensic Pathologist with over 9000 autopsies of experience. The Crown appears to have clearly understood that that it needed to combat a point of evidence that Pang had recorded - stomach contents and an empty duodenum (part of the small intestine). The literature says that if there is no waste found inside the duodenum at autopsy in circumstances where the stomach has food then digestion has not taken place, or begun. Digestion was a big fail in the Crown's case at the retrial and Sage's evidence was an effort to get around that. Not an effort to ensure Justice, but something to bolster its weak case. If you argued that the Crown were right because the Jury convicted then you haven't considered what the Jury didn't hear and how they were manipulated by possibility that has scant scientific basis. That is what Sage did.

Firstly before forwarding to Sage's evidence one must consider something we all know, that a person cannot have surgery until 6 hours after eating when the stomach is empty. The formula is accepted as that as little as 4 hours is required - but the safety margin is increased to 6 hours. One must also consider that on the issue of stomach contents and digestion, times that may have assisted with establishing a tod that the defence specialist Dr Horowitz, co author of publication on digestion and related subjects, told the Court that he had not been able to read Pang's retrial evidence in order to allow him to comment on that evidence specifically. He also gave evidence about the lack of time to prepare generally. I have no idea how a Court could ignore that advice from Horowitz and it must surely be a point of appeal even before considering that Horowitz was also not made aware in Pang's submissions to the BSA  he was mentioned as a contributor for a scientific journal he wrote along with a Professor Pounder. Bad enough that Pang's retrial evidence was not made known to Horowitz by the Judge at the retrial, but to also now know that Pang specifically quoted data from the Horowitz and Pounder book to prove his tod at 7 to 7.15pm and that with the author of that book standing before the Jury not knowing about the Pang submission he was unable to respond to the earlier claim by Pang that his reading had included the trial witness Horowitz who did not in fact support a 3am tod. Horowitz in his evidence could have assessed if Pang, as he claimed to the BSA, had followed the authority quoted by Pang from his, Horowitz's book, and  therefore if the claims were consistent with what the author had written and which was peer reviewed internationally. Even more enlightening (or worrying) was that the excerpt from Horowitz's written work included weighing the stomach contents and else where in the work discussed taking body temperatures of deceased persons - both of which in his evidence Pang admitted failing to do. Remember again he said he didn't want to disturb potential evidence, but in fact it was his job to collect the evidence - and of course take samples, weigh the stomach contents, record the details and photograph the contents. So this was the man Pang standing between Lundy and his freedom, having once quoted from a book to support his complaint was now wholly silent on the matter along with a complicit Crown hiding evidence, again.

Onto Sage whose evidence is below. Even in the revelation of his evidence the Jury were duped because for some reason the trial Judge France allowed, during the re-examination of Sage by the Crown lawyers, the introduction of new evidence thereby preventing cross examination on it. I don't know how that happened but it did and the evidence is below. Bad enough before reading the evidence and understanding that what Sage says has no impact on explaining how the stomachs had undigested food in them, which according his his evidence, could have meant that Amber and her mother were eating after midnight. Before turning to that consider this peer reviewed statement on which to approach scientific calculation:

In the paper “Postmortem Changes and Time of Death”, Prof. Derrick Pounder refers to the importance of what is known as “anamnestic evidence”, that is what is known about the deceased’s ordinary habits, known movements, and normal and/or known activities leading up to their death.

In Sage's evidence he stressed and emphasised that 'we do not know' when Christine and Amber last ate. Why was he doing this when at the first trial the Crown had been specific that the pair ate McDonald's shortly after arriving home with them at 6pm. Dr Sage didn't want the Jury 'to know' about anamnestic evidence which scientists applied to deceased person's ordinary habits, he ignored that which had been applied in the first trial because he could use that to puzzle the Jury into thinking that Amber in particular might have some how been allowed to break her before school routines and not go to bed at 8pm and would somehow be eating a cold or reheated McDonald's meal after midnight. Because that could explain, by Sage's evidence, her stomach contents for a tod of around 3 am. Why do I say after midnight? Not rocket science, just a simply reliance on what we all know, before an operation it must be confirmed that the patient has not eaten for 6 hours, 4 hours for the normal course of digestion stretched to 6 as a safety margin. Therefore according to Sage a 7 year old girl was up in the early morning, close to midnight eating, what nonsense with no scientific data in support but actual anamestic evidence in denial as given under oath by her grandmother.

Sage, as you will read from his evidence on which he was never able to be cross examined, would deepen the confusion. Noting that the duodenum when opened at autopsy if empty indicates that digestion has not started, which was Pang's consistent evidence in both trials, Sage was handed the job of re-designing that evidence. He said that a body lying on it's back could force out digested material from the duodenum into the lower bowel. Of course this allowed for Sage to say that Pang's observation didn't take into account that digested slurry may have been forced out of the duodenum. I'm not sure if Sage gave evidence after Pang or not, but I do know the Defence never had an opportunity to cross examine Sage on this evidence, and even more importantly put it to the operating Pathologist Pang. Pang said the duodenum was clear and no fluids present, Sage wanted that to be taken as absolute sign that it may have emptied because of the bodies being on their backs - but there was no evidence given by Pang of even any residue of slurry in the duodenum, he said it was clear. So not only did Sage want to say it could have been forced out, but also to say that it could have been forced out and not left even a trace or any fluid. Presumptive bullshit, if not in isolation then in accumulation because while I like bullcrap to some extent it has to stand scrutiny. So, not only a clean as a whistle duodenum but also another factor follows. The amazingly wonderful Sage performed his autopsy procedures of the duodenum having first tied off the ends. Seems logical and possibly best practice although the Jury never got to hear how Pang performed this aspect of his autopsy procedures and why. But taken to an logical, even if I may use the word, anamnestic conclusion Sage never gave any details of the autopsy procedures generally employed in 2001 and 2000 or any results that provide adverse comment on the alternative Procedure Pang or any other Pathologist may have used. However, there is something even more simple to consider here. The bodies were placed on their backs at the murder scene, removed to the morgue in that fashion, placed on the autopsy table in that fashion - surely by then even another Pathologist as remarkable as Dr Sage would have been able to say that was ample time for the duodenum to clear out, and if by some miracle could say why no trace of fluids or slurry would remain. The duodenum is like a small hose, does anyone expect a hose to be completely empty of water when it's turned off, not straightened out and curved on the ground not to have water retained - even on a slope? The answer is no.

Before proceeding to the evidence of Sage below I point out again what I have blogged about earlier. In his evidence at the retrial Professor Horowitz not only  told the Court that he had not been able to read Pang's retrial evidence, but he also asked the Court for details from that evidence - specifically, how deep into the duodenum Pang had cut. That was never answered. What the Jury heard was nonsense from Sage that couldn't explain the food found in the stomachs of Christine and Amber, the clean duodenums, both answered by a claim about bodies lying on their backs which was never able to be challenged by the Defence. This all points to there being no critical explanation of what evidence the Crown had in 2015 to explain the change of the tods. It was never explained to the Jury why the stomachs of the deceased had the same contents, that as it was argued they had at 7pm in the first trial, as they did 8 hours later when digestion to empty could have, according to the science, happened twice. This is not to say that Christine might not have snacked again after she ate with Amber when Amber was already in bed and asleep, but that she certainly did not eat after she went to bed at 11am, a time, from which point her stomach would not have been quite full but which by accepted times of digestion would have either been empty or quite empty at 3am.

A design fail. A miscarriage of Justice with material hidden,witnesses asked to comment on evidence they had not read - a bloody disaster that has put an innocent man in prison, for the second time.

  If you're
 lying on your back with
 the ordinary pressure of
 what’s sitting on top of you, when you come to  open –  conventionally at autopsy, what I do is I clamp this bit  here and I  take this bit here all out  in one go. So I –
 20 Q. Just turn your page
 around a little bit just to the jurors.
 A. – sorry. I clamp,
 tie off here, actually ligate it. Clamp through here  and  take all this section out  as a foregut but all in one go so when you do  that you can actually see  what’s in here when you open your way down  through here with a pair  of scissors. And when you look at that most
 25 people –
 there's only a scant amount of material in here by the  time  they’ve been sitting  on their back, dead for a while. Unless, of course,  you have the unusual  situation that something’s blocking things up  down  here and this bit’s  all dilated and full of fluid and stuff.
 Q. Was there any evidence
 that you saw which suggested there was a
 30 blockage of any
 A. I think Dr Pang would
 have pointed out if either of them had a bowel  obstruction and  there's no comment, it’s not there, I think  reasonable to  say.
 Q v M LUNDY –
 CRI-2001-054-832244 (09 February 2015)
 Q. And if I understand you
 correctly, what you're saying is that lying on  your back just puts  pressure on the stomach and duodenum because of  where it’s located  and it just pushes through into the small intestine.
 that essentially
 what’s happening?
 A. Yes so the –
 assessing then whether you've got 5 more than you'd  expect  or less than you'd  expect in this section here becomes very difficult  to  do at autopsy. I mean,  mainly in the living, if you're looking at them  with  a gastroscope and so forth  it’s much more straightforward or imaging  them with modern x-ray  material but at autopsy it’s very difficult.
 10 Q. So if we take the
 bodies of the deceased from the time of death of  Amber she was lying,  appears to be lying on her stomach at least.
 You've seen that in
 the scene photos?
 A. Yes, but she would have
 been conventionally turned over as she was  removed from the  scene.
 15 Q. Yes and then taken
 to the mortuary?
 A. Yes.
 Q. And then ultimately
 taken to x-ray as we know. Returned to the  refrigerator and then  subject of a post-mortem examination. Is that  enough time for her to be  on her back to empty out the duodenum of
 20 itself?
 A. I haven't got any
 data from which I can say, you know, here’s a  whole  set of people we’ve  tested, here’s the stuff in there. We’ve done  these  things to them, this is  how long it takes to empty, so I don’t know  the  certain answer to  that.
 25 1700
 Q. And similarly,
 Christine Lundy is found on her back in the scene?
 A. Yes.
 Q. Moved, taken on a
 similar course, routine, to the mortuary,  radiography  and then  post-mortem?
 30 A. Yes.
 Q. Can you offer anything
 about her position?
 A. Well, you know, again
 we don't know how long that sort of thing might  have, there’s no,  there have been no studies as far as I know of what  happens in dead bodies  establishing how much is there to start with and
 Q v M LUNDY –
 CRI-2001-054-832244 (09 February 2015)
 how quickly it might
 change, or whether it changes or how quickly it  might change, but my  observation is that looking at that section it's  often  difficult to know whether  there’s a lot or a little.
 Q. So do you remember of
 the view that, as a form of reliability, it's
 5 seriously flawed
 A. Yes I do.
 Q. – despite
 what’s recorded or attributed to Dr Pang?
 A. Yes.
 Q. Now I think my friend
 was cross-examining you about the report
 10 prepared by Professor
 Horowitz of 12 February 2015 and when he first  read to you this passage,  “An exception which appears to apply to  R V Lundy is that when  there is no evidence of gastric emptying –  that  when there is no, that  gastric emptying has commenced, that is in either  a solid or liquid meal,  components are present in the duodenum or more
 15 distally in the small
 intestine,” and you did answer him originally,  my  friend originally by  saying there are three answers to that or three  parts  to that. Do you want to  now give us the three parts?
 A. I may have lost count,
 yes. The two – no I have to think myself now.
 The two points I think
 that were important were that you don't know
 20 when the stomach got
 filled so using that as a, the emptying as a  criterion for how long  since they last ate second guesses when they  might have ingested the  food.
 Q. And in answer to my
 friend you said, if I recall it correctly, that the  statement which is at the  end of the report in parenthesis one and two is
 25 meaningless unless you
 know when they last ate?
 A. Yes.
 Q. And you stand by
 A. Yes. Well one and two
 hours stays one and two hours but you don't  know where you're  counting from.
 30 Q. Sure.
 – NIL
 Q v M LUNDY –
 CRI-2001-054-832244 (09 February


Monday, June 20, 2016

3 simple reasons why David Bain should be compensated now.

Of course there are many more reasons than just the three reasons which follow. Possibly the foremost excluded from the three that I will soon list is that David had 2 trials. The first was a Miscarriage of Justice so does not count, the 2nd trial gives the public the chance to acknowledge that when DB was given a fair trial he was acquitted, It follows that had that happened in the beginning at the first trial where the police had not hidden or planted evidence he would have been acquitted as trial 2 clearly shows.

Those three reasons, mentioned above are right in the middle of the case where they should be - the hands and feet of the murderer, his blood. I calculate that around 5 million has been spent on avoiding paying DB compensation, most of that by parties that should have no part in the compensation inquiry - the Police and the Crown, they perpetuated the Miscarriage of Justice, lied and hid evidence.

Robin Bain left all the clues necessary in the world 2 of them were discoverable on the morning of the crimes, the 3rd shortly after.

The 1st being blood smears on Robin's palms. A murder victim shot while praying does not have the fresh marks of fighting on his hands, and definitely not smears of blood on his palms. The thickest person in the world should be able to figure that out - but there is not a single explanation from the Crown or police. In fact the Crown gave up on the final death scene were Robin took his life and reverted to the room in which young Stephen was killed. The boy, who was exhibiting repressed sexual problems, or maybe just those of adolescence and who like his sisters had angered Robin with his deceptively puritan ways. Even there outside the lounge was proof of Robin's murder of his family that morning.

So to the 2nd. A towel in the laundry with a large amount of blood on it which was assumed for over a decade to be David's blood. Hello, retrial time starts arriving and the blood is finally tested only to be found to be that of Robin's. So the father with bloody palms had wiped blood off himself before killing himself in the lounge. Where did that blood come from - either the fresh wounds on his hands or from the apparent nose bleed he had suffered, along with the cuts with fighting against Stephen. The Crown and police have not even tried to explain that blood or the smears.

Then to the 3rd, outside the lounge to where the Crown tried to escape the immoveable proof in the lounge and laundry that Robin was the killer. What was found? Footprints. Footprints too small to belong to David, prints that were artificially 'shrunk' to compare with the size of a sock taken from Robin. It it wasn't so sinister it would be a joke, the police didn't measure Robin's foot, compressed as it was in the mortuary by having no body weight placed upon it - instead they measured one of Robin's socks. The problem was however, that around 14 or so years later  a Waikato farmer would make a remarkably simple test. One of those tests that can be so frustrating because it's simplicity was so obvious - David Giles took a photo of David's footprint soaked in blood taken in a laboratory to see if it would measure a match to the photos of bloody prints found in the Bain household after the murders. He placed 1 over the other (see on this blog under the title 'If the footprint fits' ) to show why it was impossible for David to have made that print as the edges shape of Robin's print escapes outside the much larger footprint of Davids. Simple as, just like the bloody towel and the bloody hands of Robin Bain.

5 or 10 million to hide the truth? By a Government successful in botching 3 out of the last 3 claims for Compensation for unlawful imprisonment. It's a sham, a ludicrous sham by amateurs calling themselves an 'Executive' and stupid enough to give the Crown and Police a place at the same table where a Miscarriage of Justice was perpetuated by the Crown and Police. Stupid enough to believe that the public, if they don't already know, will remain oblivious to the fact that a man murdered by stealth does not have blood on his hands, does not leave fresh blood on a towel from praying, does not leave bloody misshapen footprints throughout a murder scene where his wife and 3 of his children lay dead.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Compensation process is stuffed.

What a backward system the NZ Compensation for the wrongfully imprisoned is shown to be. This week we learn that Teina Pora is awarded 2.52 million for 20 years of wrongful imprisonment that started when he was a teenage boy. Yesterday, I heard the Prime Minister and separately the Minister of Justice Amy Adams explaining that there might be changes in the future to reflect inflation and the cost of living when considering what they say is the base payment for false imprisonment is - $100,000 per year. Amy Adams, and I think John Key spoke about not wanting to be unfair to other claimants that received payments in the past, Well hello, this compensation claim is about Pora and nobody else. He was the one tried twice with false evidence who spent the longest of any prisoner so far incarcerated by almost 10 years. He was the also the youngest of that group serving life imprisonment.

I'm not quite sure the worst feature of this blow to Pora. I think it might be both the Prime Minister and Amy Adams pretending that change to the compensation system is difficult. Well lets think about that a minute. When reading up on Compensation in NZ its important to remember that the Government do it along the lines of a set of rules they make up themselves. Sometimes, without notice to the applicant. That happened this year in the Bain case, the Government slipped in a 'new' test without notice to David Bain who has already been 7 years waiting for compensation for 7 years and who had to go to Court to review an earlier botched application that was leaked to the press before his Lawyers were even told. I had my memory jogged earlier today when reading about David Dougherty awarded $800,000 for approximately 4 years for a crime he didn't commit. The Minister of Justice at the time was Doug Graham, Sir Doug to his mates. He obviously had an arithmetic problem because Dougherty got $200,000 per year. Doug had no problems with changing the rules so he pulled a new one out of the hat and Dougherty had to take Doug's decision to the High Court. So these are 2 examples where the rules were changed on a whim.

Thinking about this further it becomes plain the Government are far from neutral on paying out Compensation, they confuse themselves with Crown Law and the Police. In the first instance I have a suggestion for an immediate change and expedient. No Crown Law or Police involvement in Compensation - they are after all the parties at the forefront of false imprisonments. A second thing to throw out would be Government involvement. Looked how messed up the Royal Prerogative of Mercy has become. Back in the 1990s the NZ Law Commission recommended automatic compensation which the Government of the day rejected, going on instead to make itself a ruler above the Courts. That of course has changed, brought about by the Bill of Rights that recognises foremost a citizens right's come above powers deigned upon Governments by Governments themselves. The English chucked out this crap with the signing of the Magna Carta on which our Law is based except for the quaint and horribly abused Prerogative Powers of Compensation and Mercy.

If not convinced by the dog's breakfast that the compensation system has become reflect on how much spent and how long the Bain compensation has rolled on and who the main opposition are - yes Crown Law and Police backed by Government trying to get at least a single tick for a travesty of Justice against the late Margaret, Arawa, Laniet and Stephen Bain - 2 of those deceased attacked in death by a Crown case that Margaret was bedridden and odd while her daughter Laniet had been driven to prostitution by the father who killed her. Did they never consider what made a vibrant and happy woman bed ridden and afraid that her husband would kill her and her children? I estimate 6 million on the fight to avoid paying David Bain and 50 million for the false case brought against him and the gutless retrial that ensued after the Privy Council said that David Bain's conviction was an 'actual Miscarriage of Justice' - something lost on Police, Crown Law and the Government of the day.

So what will this humble man Pora do? I have no idea, part of me wants him to fight on while another says he has fought enough - in fact his entire life. This child like man who would not bow down to the prison authorities in order to gain his freedom for a crime New Zealand, knew for over a decade at least, that he had not committed. Whatever his decision, the man has backbone and honesty grown from that bewildered kid whose life was stolen away by a cop called Rutherford who deliberately turned off his bullshit detector and put a boy in prison.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pora's compensation for Judicial Review?

Looks like a Judicial Review is in the water for Teina Pora. I just wonder where all the advocates that argued Executive Powers couldn’t be reviewed are hiding. It was unusual to watch John Key today maintaining that Executive Powers and guide lines as to compensation are a Law unto themselves and something which might be changed in the future by Cabinet, that is for inflation and other factors to be included. That’s not correct, because any Executive Power used which has direct influence over a particular citizen or group of citizens must set as to its purpose fore-most consideration of The Bill of Rights Act, to which those affected by Executive decisions have redress in the Courts. We all know of another case where that was properly recognised where David Bain sought a review of the process of his compensation claim. In that particular case the 'rules' where changed at the drop of a hat and without notice.
If an action goes ahead will the Government make the payment it has offered pending the result of any Review, or will they look to be seen as punishing him – just like the police and Crown did for more than 20 years?
For those that mentioned Peter Ellis, the same avenue is open to him but he might just be too beat down by what he went through to be able consider doing so.
In the meantime, all power to those supporting and guiding Teina Pora.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What does the Pora compensation mean?

What a marathon by those supporting Teina Pora helped make him free. Congratulations to both Teina and them. Teina for the way he camce through his ordeal with dignity.

These are some further thoughts raised by today's decision to compensate Pora for 21 years of false imprisonment.

One swallow a summer does not make. Putting Teina Pora’s compensation aside the country is still faced with other cases from the era which are not settled. Also, this is a reminder that the Privy Council was able to see things from a distance in a way the NZ Courts did not. There is often comment about Clarke’s Labour Government stopping rights of appeal to the Privy Council from New Zealanders. Some would expect this apology to indicate that the right to go to the Privy Council should be reinstated, not by disposing of it the Supreme Court but rather by employing a successful model of the past where NZ Judges have also been on the Bench, a place from where distinct points of Law have found their way into Courts in NZ. Bluntly speaking the level of cases reversed by number that have managed to get to the PC is worryingly high. Today it seems not to have been mentioned that Pora, like all the others before appealing to the PC, apart from 1 or 2 perhaps, was unable to take his own case to the PC, others had do that without payment in many circumstances. These cases were taken by counsel and supporters with a ‘bloke next door’ attitude to help out. It would be fair to see that acknowledged, and for example a reflection that Pora may well have been in prison for the rest of his life for not admitting what the Government now say was a crime which he never committed.
I haven’t yet read the report, though wonder if when the compensation amount was decided i there was consideration that Pora underwent a second trial in which police put Pora and Rewa together. Rewa being the man arrested by police for the murder and rape of Susan Burdett after Pora was convicted. At that time the police did not stop their miscarriage of Justice against Pora they changed tact and found paid witnesses who would put Pora and Rewa together. With this settlement today goes the truth to the fact the police chose, perhaps coached, and paide witnesses to lie about Pora at his retrial.
I recall the published details that the search for Rewa was scaled down at the time of Pora’s arrest. This happened to coincide with police saying there was no longer a serial rapist allowing for the fact that unknown semen was found in the body of Susan Burdett. That semen was from Rewa. As many will recall woman came forward after Rewa’s trial for attacking Susan Burdett’s head with a base ball bat when he killed her, at least some of them, spoke of Rewa attacking them to the head. They complained that the scaling down of the hunt for a serial rapist resulted in the crimes committed by Rewa later against them. I expect there will be some emphasis placed on that as the result of the Government admitting what has been blindly obvious since Rewa was identified as the rapist of Susan Burdett, that the scaling down of the operation resulted in the crimes against those women which were only solved when the operation to catch Rewa as the serial rapist was resumed. It will be no surprise that they sue, if they have not done so already.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Further reflections on Wishart's book Elementary

Thinking about this book and looking between the lines Wishart has written Elementary with a probable bias that he has either been unable to disguise,  hasn't thought of or just doesn't care. His position as a journalist doesn't make sense because he has let his bias colour every step of the progress of the book.

He, as I've written before, has exhausted the identifications of Watson to the point of worthlessness, but fails to recognise that the lack of clarity of the identifications clears Watson. He attacked the witnesses who withdrew positive identifications, didn't even bother to interview them to capture the passage of time to the present. In fact, he didn't deal with a point that is clearly a concern that goes to the heart of Watson's conviction - witness recantation which was at least worth a chapter or 2 in the book. This inquiry to bring at least a little balance to his work begs the question of whether the investigative journalist could have at least attempted to re-interview the witnesses in the presence of independent observers. Also taken a look, maybe just a chapter, at Kristy McDonald's report into Watson's rejected plea under the Prerogative of Mercy. Well no he couldn't, not even a single word about that. Instead layers and layers of scorn upon the witnesses and not a  mention on the process of Law. It didn't matter that Wishart didn't like the witnesses, what did matter was those witnesses in the context of this case no longer offer support for the Crown's weak circumstantial case. In the absolute context of why Watson was found guilty it is because there was evidence of him going aboard his vessel with the deceased couple. Independent proof of that was argued by the Crown to be 2 hairs found on blanket taken from Watson's boat which apparently match the hereditary line of Olivia Hope, in other words may have belonged to one or other the Hope daughters. An analyst, like Wishart claims to be, would have been interested in that - want to pull it apart very carefully to reach a view, without a preconceived bias. He would have looked at the known facts as to the 2 hairs and tested their probability of having come from the Watson yacht at all. To do so they (the hairs) would have to have had overcome a search of Watson's yacht by police when the yacht was seized. I think we all understand that police searches of potential homicide scenes are critically exercised, items photographed before being disturbed, the whole scene carefully regarded, recorded in minute detail before a single item is moved. The first people in are the forensic specialists. Watson's yacht didn't contain a dangerous gunman, a fugitive, an explosive device - it was simply a moored vessel for which the police had a warrant to search and seize. All the time in the world was available to the investigators but not a single 1 of them saw 2 distinctive longs hairs on a blanket among the few blankets on board. Neither did the forensic scientist who carefully scanned the blanket in a laboratory find the hairs. In fact they appear to have been quite invisible until after a hairs from a brush were brought into the laboratory from the Hope family home.

Why didn't Wishart deal with that you may wonder. Or the second leg of the 3 legged race that is the Watson conviction - that he was seen by 2 bar staff and a water taxi driver with the couple. In fact more, been identified as being dropped of to his yacht with Olivia Hope and Ben Smart , along with the fact that all the witnesses withdrew their identifications of Watson after the trial - with claims of being misled by police photographs and identikit pictures. Instead of pages and pages about what people saw or didn't see, couldn't Wishart have dealt with the withdrawn identification witnesses in a more constructive way than attacking them for a wild and inconceivable thought they were possibly helping Watson. To substantiate my claim, read again the character assassination by Wishart of Guy Wallace and the complete silence on the third witness from the bar staff who did not identify Watson at any stage. If he wasn't biased he could have spelt that out in Elementary, a book which an unsuspecting reader would initially think the purpose of which was not to ignore facts and probabilities of all the evidence. If the jury who convicted Watson hadn't heard the evidence that the 3 witnesses withdraw - would they have convicted Watson. Hardly, because they couldn't put the couple together with Watson either in the bar, let alone on his yacht. A concrete unmovable fact that McDonald should have reached in her report under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy - a single point that demanded a retrial.

So to the 3rd pivotal evidence against Watson, the prison informer. As a investigative journalist it must be the case that Wishart has forgotten about the value of prison informers. Most people understand that prison informers are giving evidence about something they were not part of, in return for some payment. They did not of course witness the crime or crimes but fortunately by some crossing of the stars, reading cards, or taking part in seances, hearing things spoken in sleep or through prison bars - to a willing witness for sale by a person who they don't know but felt the urge to confess to them. Surely Ian is onto that. He was in the Tamihere case but he has apparently since fallen into sleep. I would thought Ian wanted to look into that evidence and determine it's prejudicial weight against Watson, a story intended to move if not a whole country then at least a jury. Maybe it did convince a jury, at least in part but now it is withdrawn - an absolute fact that weakens the Crown case immeasurably. In fact breaks the third leg that falsely upholds the Watson conviction.

On that point, and as I have written before, Kirsty McDonald rejected the recantation of the secret witness because she could not find him. If there was a list of travestys of Justice that would rate near the top. It was not Watson's witness it was the Crown's witness and it was for the Crown to stand by their case and present the witness to Kirsty McDonald for an interview and have Watson's defence team present. The best place for that would have been the High Court before a Judge.

But McDonald, like Wishart, ignored that and the onus on the Crown to prove the durability of their case when cracks appear. That is the essence of Mercy and due process. McDonald like Wishart failed to step back from the evidence and apply even a basic probability test on the new evidence of Watson both singularly and collectively. In fact neither of them tested the 3 core areas of the Watson conviction using a most simple technique, the probability of the deceased couple ever being on Watson's yacht, the probability of the 2 hairs ever being on Watson's yacht, the probability of a witness completely withdrawing a claim of hearing a confession that was 'true,' along with the probability of the original confession being true at all. In this particular aspect it is important to note that Wishart knew the formula of false confessions most graphically. He studied the Tamihere case and discovered the graphic evidence of Witness C which reduced the Jury to tears as C revealed what he claimed Tamihere had revealed to him. Later when one of the bodies was found ashore and not at sea as C had claimed the COA fudged the importance of a known fact - that C had lied convincingly enough to persuade a Jury with all sorts of imagined horrific details relating to the missing tourists, an elegant and sophisticated in detail and emotion - liar. Shift forward a few years and the same sort of witnesses emerge in the Watson case. Why on earth Wishart ignores that can only provide 1 reason because he set out with a bias in mind when he wrote Elementary.

Pausing with that thought for a minute, it supports the Crown for those challenging the Watson conviction to get away from the 3 main issues into side issues where arguments labour far away from the only 3 reasons why Watson was found guilty. Wishart has added to that, no doubt to the delight of Crown Law and the police.

I'm sure Ian would have, or is capable of addressing both sides of the Watson case, instead of totally ignoring one side while providing full support for the Crown which no longer has id witnesses, retains only forensic evidence of low, perhaps zero, probability of being authentic, and a shattered production line of witnesses paid to lie about an event they never saw - an event they only need to imagine aided by prompts by police newspaper or radio reports. A very dirty business which both Wishart and McDonald chose to ignore. Surely, McDonald understands that it is the Crown's witness who has failed to maintain their testimony and that if the Crown cannot longer produce those witness then a new Jury is in order.

If Ian decides to get off his yoga mat, put the celestial travel on hold, overcome his personal and evident distaste of Scott Watson in order to bring a evident measure to his impartial 'judgement' on Watson, contemplate if what he wrote was not understood as investigative, instead read as written in a biased way and not deeply reasoned way - then Ian might respond in order to help resolve the Watson case. I invite Ian to comment on the 3 main aspects of Watson's conviction in a direct way on the points I have raised. That would help.

In closing I should mention a facebook site set up in support of Watson and information there about Wishart allegedly threatening legal retribution against the site owners. If that is true Wishart has truly lost the plot and appears desperate to be believed on the basis of opinions which are not believable merely because Wishart thinks Watson is a prize prick. So I also invite Ian to take up the challenge of helping organise and finance a neutral application of a Bayes theory test on the 3 legs that support, most awkwardly, the Watson conviction, let science and logic into the tent. I would even be prepared to bet that the probability of each of the three aspects of the conviction would rate a less than say 30%  probability of accuracy taken in the overall case, and the collective probability to be less than 20% that Scott Watson is guilty. To go a step further perhaps Ian could agree to match say 10cents to the dollar of any 'crowd funding' or funding gathered by the Watson support group toward reviewing the abysmal work of Kristy McDonald under its guise of 'Mercy.'


Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Greatest of all time dies.

He might be gone but into the dark or light, his smile still glistening because he never fell at all.

As a boxer it was easy to overlook that Ali was equally good at fighting going backwards as he was moving forward such was his seamless style and continuity of speed and movement. On that count alone he stands out before you get to that magical jab that could deliver 3 in a row, seemed like more sometimes. Doubling up on the jab is the ceiling for most boxers but Ali went past that with ease, out thought his opponents before he was even in the ring. None of that compared though to his wit or quick mind, however for me it was when the establishment took him down for his beliefs that the true champion emerged, then later as the messenger of time visited upon his skills his mortality until he was but one man again fighting for the beliefs and aspirations of millions worldwide that I could see the greatest.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Ian Wishart's take on breaking suppression orders.

Reported in the NZ Herald that Ian Wishart is being investigated by Marlborough Police for breaching suppression orders in a recent book Elementary which deemed to reinvestigate the Sounds murder case resulting from the death of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. In his book IW concluded that Scott Watson, currently serving a life term for the murders, was guilty. I critiqued the book shortly after its release and found it far short of compelling. In fact I thought it was bloody hopeless, an opinion I later realised which was shared with Jim Lovering a successful investigator/campaigner in the Amanda Knox case. Jim Lovering was struck by a the same particular criticisms I had of Elementary in particular the confusion over the identifications of Watson, which IW somehow could not discern were basically flawed beyond being useful, and a second and more important point that apparently was entirely missed by IW that 2 witnesses spoke about Watson coming aboard their boat in the early looking to party and propositioning the female when by IW's account he had Ben and Olivia either asleep or dead on his yacht which where he invited the young woman to join him. That was particularly odd. As was Wishart accusing the family of Scott Watson for attempting to cover up for Watson. For this view IW relied on previously unreleased police tapes, which oddly enough indicated that far from helping Watson cover up the murders, his family didn't believe that either Ben Smart and Olivia Hope were dead, and spoke about when they would turn up again to the embarrassment of police. I thought it all very wacko, particularly from an author who has done some excellent investigations in the past.

The article can be googled and is reported by David Fisher. However, if the book was off beam then so are the following comments allegedly reported from Wishart in rubishing the claims made against him by Chris Watson, the father of Scott.

Mr Wishart dismissed the complaint, saying he did not believe he had breached suppression because the information he relied on existed outside the court process.
"The High Court can suppress everything that is given it for the purpose of court reporting but it can't suppress the universe. If you're doing a story that's not reporting the court proceedings, it's not an issue of suppression."
He said it also had to be considered why the suppression order was initially granted because the reasons for it might no longer be relevant.
I don't know if IW was drunk at the time or had consumed some mind altering medication but it's fairly clear that a Court doesn't try to suppress the universe, it actually suppresses names including those of defendants at times, sometimes victims and other witnesses for a variety of reasons. Suppression orders do not lapse if they are infinite, the information may in fact exist outside the court process but publication of those suppressed names is prohibited.
I'm also certain that suppression orders don't lapse because they may no longer be relevant according to a journalist. An order of the Court which is infinite can only be lifted by the Court not because a reporter (who may not even know the reasons for the suppression order) thinks it may no longer be relevant.
I suppose on the basis of the rather odd logic of Wishart's comments a reader is entitled to understand why he so badly misunderstands the Watson case so much that he needed to rely on becoming an amatuer psychiatrist in order to convince his readers that he was right on his conclusions about the Watson case and if they had any doubts they could rely on Wishart's diagnosis of Watson's personality type.
Even more bizarre are his comments that he wasn't reporting Court proceedings when in fact he referred to witness statements and indeed the intercepted taped conversations from the Watson household. Perhaps the man is having some kind of psychotic episode that first began to manifest itself in Elementary before taking full flight where he has become one with the universe and shall not be suppressed by mere mortals.

Full article follows below:

A police investigation is underway into alleged breaches of name suppression by author Ian Wishart in his recent book on the Scott Watson case.
The complaint by Watson's dad Chris Watson, made this week with Blenheim police, claims Mr Wishart included the names of three witnesses whose details were suppressed at the 1999 murder trial.
Name suppression is a court-ordered protection of identity which forbids the use of identifying details of evidence or people drawn into the judicial process.
In his letter to police, Chris Watson alleged breaches in Elementary, the book Mr Wishart published earlier this year on the murders of Olivia Hope and Ben Smart who went missing on New Year's Day in 1998.
Scott Watson was convicted of the murders but has maintained his innocence since being sentenced to a minimum 17 years in prison.
Mr Wishart's book stated Watson was guilty and was based on police information released through the court's discovery process, including evidence not produced at trial.
Watson said he reviewed the books and was surprised to see it contained the names of people he knew had been granted name suppression.
"I've scrupulously obeyed the law for over 18 years (since Scott Watson became a focus of police inquiries) and I don't see why anybody else should be exempt."
Continued below.

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Watson has previously raised questions over suppression - the last occasion was after a speech on the case by Paul Davison QC (now a High Court judge) was put online by another party and included the names of people whose identities had been suppressed.
On that occasion, the speech was taken down.
"Paul Davison had the good graces to withdrawn his - I wonder if Mr Wishart has the same," said Watson.
Mr Wishart dismissed the complaint, saying he did not believe he had breached suppression because the information he relied on existed outside the court process.
"The High Court can suppress everything that is given it for the purpose of court reporting but it can't suppress the universe. If you're doing a story that's not reporting the court proceedings, it's not an issue of suppression."
He said it also had to be considered why the suppression order was initially granted because the reasons for it might no longer be relevant.
An emailed statement from police headquarters confirmed a complaint had been received.
"This is currently being investigated by Marlborough Police. We are unable to comment further while the investigation is underway."