Here is a list of the status of particular high profile cases, many going back decades which have featured prominently this year.
In no particular order, and only my opinions of course.
Scott Watson: This has been a interesting though another frustrating year in the Watson case. I had the chance to learn more about the case and in particular about the Watson family courtesy of a book published by Ian Wishart titled 'Elementary.' Ian, possibly inadvertently, gave weight to Watson's innocence and wasn't happy when I put the case for that in this blog:
Ian amply pointed out enough facts which showed Watson's innocence in a remarkable way even though as the title of his book suggests that wasn't his purpose. I 'got' Ian's facts but not his interpretation of them.
Aside from that I remain frustrated that the Watson case is back in the Courts for the wrong reasons, the right to be interviewed and to meet Gerald Hope the father of Amelia Hope. His Court cases should be challenges to the bull crap reasons his application for The Royal Prerogative of Mercy was dismissed. He's fought the wrong fights as far as I can see.
Teina Pora; This case has been important for many reasons, yet like other miscarriages of Justice the Government of the day have not been able to settle all the matters fairly and dispassionately. It isn't only that there is now a Judicial Review lodged over the Government failing to pay, without good and equitable cause, inflation for the years during which Teina was falsely imprisoned.
There is also the fact that the probable killer of Susan Burdett was not only a gang member but an active police informant, one who was let go at a time when he should have been being investigated for the murder of Susan Burdett. Malcom Rewa is imprisoned for charges that occured after he allegedly killed Susan Burdett, there is evidence that police that police let Rewa off the suspect list after which he went on to commit rapes for which he is now convicted. That lies open to be observed by the Government for the women involved, they should not be left to fight for compensation and apology - they should instead by reached out to by this Government and their agencies. It is known, and shouldn't need to wait until one, some, or all of the women succeed in some legal action against the system that let them down by error, perhaps deliberate error.
Arthur Thomas: Support of Watson, adds to his support of Bain and adds to his public statement some years ago that he understood what a tough time his imprisonment was for his late first wife, Vivian. For a man to endure what he had to suffer and able to put a true perspective to his lost first marriage takes remarkable character, and Arthur has that in spades.
Mark Lundy: A case which I have deliberately left to last for a particular reason. Namely, it's fairly accepted that retrials are often less than fair. But Lundy got the worse retrial in living history in my opinion. The Crown not only dropped aspects of the original prosecution because they were disproved but changed aspects to diagrammatically opposite claims made in the first trial and held onto bitterly for 15 years. But most of all despite international forensics having entered a phase of accepting that samples submitted with from a known or suspect known source revealed to testers, no longer being acceptable, the Crown used exactly the same unapproved for forensic testing and giving the evidence to the same in America Doctor Miller. When for all intents and purposes the retrial evidence had to be right they went back to the same pathetic tester and not one of thousand of approved labs in the world where origins of samples were not known to first testers, or indeed 2nd or 3rd parallel testers.s
I was fortunate to have the co-operation of a leading and many times published forensic scientist on this matter and his opinion, from his in depth and up to date knowledge of the Lundy case, was that ML is proven innocent by scene evidence.
I understand much is happening in the Lundy case and I am very supportive of it's chances to be corrected and ML freed. If ever a case needed a crystal clear narrative to put it in order this one case cries out for shape.
David Bain: What happened in the Bain case was plain to see this year for anybody with either 2 eyes or 1. The culmination was simple, what Binnie found by using Bayesian testing was DB's innocence on the balance of probabilities. What the Aussie retired Judge, Callinan, found by totally ignoring Bayes testing was a $400,000 pay cheque. The Government then paid off Bain to go away. Justice? Who knows, but at least it was Bain's prerogative to walk away on his own terms - found innocent by a Jury.
Allan Hall: Under the radar as always, just the way the Justice Department like it. A middle aged white man of modest intelligence and size fitted up for a murder said to have been committed by witnesses who fought the attacker and said he was polynesian, youthful and large.
David Tamihere: Somewhat a late arrival in cases of interest to me. I always appreciated that Tamihere had been framed, of course that doesn't he was not guilty. I felt for his son and the hand that had been cruelly dealt to him when the late Detective John Hughes, who features poorly in a number of case of wrongful imprisonment, planted the watch in the young Tamihere's bedroom. In recent months I was able to watch an old video of DT's wife and late(?) father which was revealing of what his family was put through. DT's wife is a terrific woman, not in the least the way police tried to portray the Tamihere family.
The whole case has taken on a new perspective with my old mate, the formidable legal beagle, Arthur Taylor on the case. It's hard to think of anyone more capable of showing how Tamihere was stitched up by Hughes and his paid informers. Whether that can result, as it should in a retrial at least, is going to be a watching point for 2017.