Sunday, August 6, 2017

Temple-Camp on MARK LUNDY, fact or fiction?

Temple Camp on Mark Lundy Fact or Fiction.
To this observer, the Temple Camp book that in part features the Lundy case is increasingly looking like fiction from a man who is uncertain about Lundy’s guilt as he well should be. Starting at the beginning TC is effectively claiming credit for convicting Mark Lundy. That is, one would assume, after the first trial which has been ruled a Miscarriage of Justice, none of which is explained or apologised for by TC, and credit also for the second trial in which TC, in his own mind a ‘leading NZ Pathologist’, was not required. Forgive me for thinking that he was considered by the Crown to be a liability perhaps even the person that led the way, at least at the beginning, in what remains internationally a very controversial case. In my opinion, Mark Lundy’s 2nd conviction resulted from a further Miscarriage of Justice that started off in a Palmerston North laboratory where Temple Camp was a big noting celebrity in his own mind.
He was asked what he could see on a slide taken from the Lundy shirt. In his own words responding to Grantham from police that it was brain matter and was told that it didn’t sound like something that could be used in court.
"It doesn't sound like something we could use in court." 
"Well, no, but you asked me what it was. I've done both things. I've done an Aunt Minnie on it, but I've also crosschecked." We moved to sit at the multi-headed microscope in the lab. There were three pathologists present, as well as two registrars, and they all had a look at the slide. We all reached the same conclusion. 

The file tells a different story from Grantham himself:

Grantham didn't mention T-C in his evidence about the identification of brain on the slide.  He said that Thompson and Beathwaite thought they could 'possibly' see one or two what appeared to be glial cells, and Pang said he 'thought' they might be glial cells, and this was after visiting Medlab and meeting Pang and T-C.

So 2 pathologists, Thompson and Beathwaite saying they thought they could possibly see 1 or 2 what possibly might be glial cells, and the third pathologists Pang, saying the might be glial cells after Grantham had visited Miller (the IHC specialist in Texas) and met with Pang and T-C. That’s a lot of might’s, possibly, vague, might, but not the same conclusion as T-C wants his readers to believe.

In fact Miller (the American IHC practitioner) would later explain the total absence of glial cells, yes the absence, so much for those possible confirmatory sighting of glial cells, and less so for the confirmation T-C claimed he got from the 3 men – as being for the reason that the sample came from deep within the brain. All parts of the brain have glial cells, they are less frequent deeper into the brain, but with 5 million or so of them they are spread out. So why write a book and make false claims? Or as we’ll see mislead the Court.

So, whose story is not correct. The man belatedly taking credit for solving the Lundy case but who wasn’t required for the retrial or the other witnesses who didn’t back up T-C Palmerston North laboratory slide observation results which he freely admitted he couldn’t prove his opinion was correct. “I’m right, but I can’t prove it.” Pathologist or idiot? Perhaps something worse a person willing to take part to gain a false conviction. I have no idea if T-C told the Jury that he couldn’t prove his opinion but one wonders why the Crown would use such a witness, unless they were desperate. Some of that desperation is later shown here in papers hidden from the first Jury.

In his new book, T-C talks about the psychology of pathology. Reading some details of his account I wonder about the psychology of self- importance or manufactured credit. More on that later.

Important issues in the Lundy conviction are whether or not diagnostic science using known samples, liver, brain, lung etc can be transferred to forensic science where the sample is not known. Internationally this is of interest in a situation described by one seasoned scientist that it is always the establishment that accept change and new methods very slowly and cautiously, no doubt because of their years of experience, teaching and immersion into improving standards. A second leg of this is that IHC relies upon known samples, so indeed is therefore a fundamentally differing starting point beginning with all the details of sample to be examined known. Forensic science has no such advantage although of course in most cases there is visual physical proof taken from a body, indeed whole body examination.

So that is one difference between the 2 disciplines, the 2nd is the condition of the known or unknown samples as to whether they are necrotic or not. Forensics scientists have to no choice while IHC examiners have a label identifying the specimen, the full history of the patient and fresh samples. IHC relies on freshly gathered samples. In research often such samples are immediately preserved particularly in the case of brain or central nervous system material which deteriorates at high speed, a whisper of death and it’s shape and condition begins to change, so much so that medical staff will pump preservative through the body of a person who passes so that the brain might be fixed, that is preserved for observation in it true form before it has surrendered to its death, frozen for the duration of time. This later procedure is used in the case of samples taken for consented research, not live minute samples taken from a patient in theatre to immediately determine disease or other medical conditions.

The police case in Lundy asks for acceptance that long dead cells to be a reliable transmitter of type of cell, but they ask for it to be accepted without a skull or bones, even mummified remains obvious to the eye, they ask for it with samples that can only be seen under magnification after being washed with particular antibodies in order for their change of colour to reveal the source. Even then things can be tricky, contamination is fatal to true results. Everything must be handled to avoid contamination, from a crime scene human material may already be contaminated or become contaminated upon discovery, handling, storage or testing. The IHC specialist does everything from within a cocoon of contamination safety in ideal conditions, knows the sample, how it has been handled and handles it themselves in a forensically and contamination secure environment recording every step as a Doctor or Surgeon does with a live patient. This is the difference and why T- C and Rodney Miller are pissing in the wind. They don’t have apples to compare with apples let alone being able to know how to safely compare them. As we will see T-C actually altered his notes when transcribing them to evidence, left out critical points, deliberately.

To show TC’s inability to understand the argument even now, of like meeting like, is this from his book where he’s talking about samples taken from an operating theatre and comparing them with a 59-day old speck that was first of all kept in the boot of a car, then in a safe rather than the freezer in the police station exhibit’s area or far more appropriately surrendered immediately to the forensic specialists.

Speaking about criticism of himself and Dr Miller at the Privy Council, T-C reveals some of the argument forward by Professor Sheard of Otago University in the following way:

A critical part of Professor Sheard’s argument was that the shirt tissue had to be compared with identically prepared brain and thus he thought Rod Miller’s controls were invalid. As I explained to the Crown Counsel, this was perplexing. We used an identical control system to diagnose dozens of cancer patients every month. On the basis of these diagnoses, they were started on life-altering chemotherapy or radiotherapy.

Even after almost 2 decades T-C can’t understand the basic science of comparing like to like, rather than like to what might or might not be the same. He’s stuck in a lab doing routine sampling, unable to comprehend that forensic science is a completely different discipline with samples the could come from anywhere and which may have no label of identity unlike those given to an IHC specialist.

The anti-body manufacturers specifically instruct IHC practitioners that their products are not to be used on necrotic material. This brings us to the second core issue. Was the shirt sample necrotic or not. The starting point with this is Dr Teoh who said It was rotten before the first trial and whose opinion was hidden by police for over a decade. As a reader, will see by this point (the determination of the ‘health of the sample) T-C had divorced himself from his own notes and the rules of the anti-body manufacturers, and would never go back to the truth, remaining instead in his manufactured for evidence truth. Later herein, we will read about the savaging his evidence was given at the Privy Council something Temple-Camp seems unable to absorb as being the result of changing his observations to suit his opinion.

Despite the anti-body manufacturer’s instructions about necrotic material, which T-C has observed in his own notes he says the shirt material was fine for analysis using IHC even though he is not a specialist in IHC but rather a pathologists who blows his own trumpet. Was he being truthful? Let’s look at the case notes sent by a correspondent.

Here we have two copies of Temple-Camp’s Briefs, one is labelled DRAFT and is undated, the other labelled FINAL and dated February 15th. From the evidence available, we can only assume that the differences between the two are the “one typographical error” Temple-Camp referred to in Court.

DRAFT : “I examined the slide under a microscope and found components of tissue including blood vessels and cellular material which was poorly preserved but appeared to be brain tissue”

FINAL : “I examined the slide under a microscope and found components of tissue including blood vessels and cellular material which was adequately preserved and appeared to me to be brain tissue”.

DRAFT : “The preservation of the cells on the slide was suboptimal and I was concerned that it would not be suitable to carry out the antigen studies which would unequivocally identify the cells”

FINAL: Whole sentence deleted.

Compare what Temple Camps notes say or didn’t say to what he claims in his book where suddenly the shirt material is well preserved, rather than being poorly preserved or the substance suboptimal:

Where writing about the Privy Council case which was won by Mark Lundy:

These new experts seemed to believe that any brain would have decayed beyond recognition in that time. I thought that was just nonsense. The dried brain-matter was preserved within minutes of the murder and was still preserved 59 days later and will still be so 59 years from now.

His excuse now for altering his evidence shows the arrogance of the man. He cannot accept that lab notes and all other such material are the duty of the specialist witness to the Court. In fact, he says a ‘wise’ pathologists keeps his thoughts (and therefore his observations) to himself. T-C has no concept of the truth or an expert’s duty to the Court.

I had never given written evidence when I had first examined the dab slide, nearly 14 months beforehand. I realised that the defence were comparing a first draft of the affidavit I had prepared at Ben’s request with the final draft written a day later, after I had fully investigated the issue. It is an occupational hazard in homicide investigations that any preliminary comments, rough notes or drafts will be sifted through and minutely compared by astute defence lawyers. They will search for any changes in wording and these will be used to raise the spectre of reasonable doubt. A wise pathologist keeps his thought to himself until the evidence is ready in its final form.

Later he offers advice about the truth that apparently, he feels does not apply to him, though he may not have realised, his admission about pathologists not always being right applies to him.

But evidence is evidence too, and the truth never changes, no matter how much people wish it might. Pathologists are certainly not always right and not even always unbiased

The conclusions arising from this.

In 2 instances relating to evidence TC prepared on the slide material he said firstly that it was poorly preserved. In one of those instances he later said 1 was adequately preserved – he’s gone from poor to adequate about the same material. On the other he said the cells on the slide were suboptimal (poor), later he dropped that description entirely. How can poorly preserved, sub optimal cells, be properly ‘air dried,’ as he claimed in both his book and in Court. They are either preserved or not preserved. His case notes say not preserved, his book and testimony in the first trial say preserved. Someone is cheating and perpetuating a continuing Miscarriage of Justice and according to Temple-Camp it is not him. Note that ‘air drying’ is not used in IHC analysis, however it is claimed by Temple-Camp that particles flying through the air are somehow air dried in the same manner using an air dryer in a control laboratory situation. Temple-Camp imposes chance of science, he scoffs out the basic science of recording all findings and keeping them to be provided to all personnel that may be involved in a trial including the Judge and the Defence. Temple Camp broke the rules, hid evidence and then claimed it was something that it was not according to his own notes. No surgeon, doctor, pilot, or scientist would do that because they have accepted the duty of faithful recording and telling the truth.

This point about air drying was made by T-C’s idol Dr Miller himself where in a talk he said the following:

Miller gave a talk about the handling of thin smears and he said “they have to be fixed immediately to prevent air drying. T-C said at trial one that tissue has to be fixed or else it is not possible to examine it and make a diagnosis.”  

At the PC and we finally get a picture of why TC had not been called at the retrial and perhaps the real reason he wrote a self-congratulatory book:

It was hard enough listening to the lawyer for Lundy pounding and shredding my credibility and my evidence, without feeling I was under scrutiny as it happened. I could only grind my teeth in frustration and wait on events.
I was really pleased the Law Lords had said my evidence was ‘trenchantly asserted’. It sure was, and I did so because I knew it was right. For all that meagre personal satisfaction, I was depressed by the outcome. I had genuinely expected the reason and logic of what we had put forward would prevail. ‘What will happen now?’ asked Victoria. ‘Does this mean that Mark Lundy will be acquitted?’ ‘No, there’ll be a retrial. We’ll have to go through everything all over again and a new jury will decide.’ ‘That’s terrible!’ Victoria said. ‘After all these years in jail and now to have another trial about the same stuff, all over again. Why not just let him go?’ ‘Well, it would be a much cheaper and easier option for us all,’ I agreed. ‘But I’m looking forward to a proper retrial for purely selfish reasons. I would like to know one way or another whether I was right or wrong."
"I'm looking forward to a proper retrial for purely selfish reasons. I would like to know one way or another whether I was right or wrong."
Finally T-C breaks free of the thin veneer he previously tried to cover his intentions with. The whole case is about him being right, not about the truth, or about Justice, about experts honestly and faithfully recording their observations rather than as he said above: A wise pathologist keeps his thought to himself until the evidence is ready in its final form.
I take that observation as meaning be careful what you record until you have thought about it. Does a scientist, examiner, or honest person not need to choose their words where doing a job for Justice, but just simply record what they see? Apparently not in T-C’s world.

On multiple occasions T-C echoed Miller's 100% certainty. Yet on the other hand he has described the Aunt Minnie method where you just know it is Aunt Minnie without hard science to support your sighting, to tell us it is brain (or Aunt Minnie). The ramblings of a dangerous idiot, that wants his ‘truth’ to emerge by keeping his thoughts to himself in it’s final, albeit manipulated, form.

So, which is it? Let a jury determine and settle for Dr Temple-Camp, or encourage Dr Temple-Camp to show truthfully his workings. Speaking about this above he says “keeps his thought to himself until the evidence is ready in its final form.” The shirt had no final form, it was as observed in the first instance, not something manufactured until it was “ready in its final form.”

For example at location 3974 he says

"Even medical students can recognise brain tissue at a glance".

So, let us put this together from his own words.

1. Even medical students can recognise brain tissue at a glance.
2. I'm looking forward to a proper retrial for purely selfish reasons. I would like to know one way or another whether I was right or wrong

Remembering that according to him it was brain but he couldn’t prove it, it was also poorly preserved and suboptimal at the same time as being ‘air dried.’  No wonder the man doesn’t recognize the opposing elements in his own logic and writing. He’s off his rocker on this.
Above where Temple-Camp is talking to his daughter (Victoria) who expresses concern for what Lundy has been through he still unable to grasp anything other than the importance of him being right. His whole book is about his being right despite not being called as a witness after his fall from grace for altering his observations from working notes to the form of evidence. For most people, honest people that is, notes form the basis of the truth, particularly where they are written observations of what was seen. Most people don’t need such observations to distil in silence and off the written page, but then again Temple-Camp is not most people. Earlier is mentioned his delight in phrasing the term psychological pathology. He might well have considered a more seasoned term pathological liar.
On a final note, I return to Doctor Pang and the remarkable changing times of death. Remember 7 to 7.15pm not a minute later for 13 years only to become from 6pm to 9am the following morning. Reminding readers again that T-C was Doctor Pang’s boss. Many people will have thought that Doctor Pang was pressured somehow to change his time of death, a reasonable conclusion taking into account how insistent he was about it prior to the retrial. I find it interesting that Temple-Camp found it necessary to agree with Pang’s new TOD (see previous blog below for full details as to stomach contents etc. per T-C.)
Temple Camp has said he accepted the evidence of Dr Sage at the retrial who gave the opinion that Christine and Amber were not prisoners in their own home, and could have snacked into the night and following morning as an explanation as to why digestion had not started according to Pang’s autopsy report. Temple-Camp was quite happy with that change, it was perfectly reasonable and a sharp thought or similar, according to him. But what he didn’t explain, as a father and parent himself, was if his own children as 7 going on 8 year olds were allowed, or indeed could get up at 1 am in the morning and feed themselves on McDonald’s already 7 hours old. Or if he knew any children who had done such a thing or parents that would allow that. Here I recall from evidence Amber’s grandmother talking about Amber as always in bed by 8 and like all 7 year olds a sound sleeper. That’s not from changed notes by the way.


  1. "A wise pathologist keeps his thought to himself until the evidence is ready in its final form." Just this one sentence is most troubling. It is written by an advocate, not an objective scientist.

  2. Frightening. Not about the truth but able being right. If this is what the man thinks is acceptable in print imagine the conversations held privately between he, his fellows, and police. His duty was to the truth, he let the truth escape with his file notes.