There has been some outrage at the naming on the infamous witness C today as Roberto Conchie Harris, double murderer and long term prison inmate. For some it will seem like the 'scales' have fallen from their eyes, that they suddenly understand about secret prison witnesses or snitches as another name for informers becomes more fashionable.
But it is not only against Harris that outrage should be placed, he merely climbed aboard the train that came calling for him. A train driven by police sent to collect the witness who would resolved a high profile double murder case. In fact they didn't move Harris but rather his later victim David Tamihere from one prisoner to another to be near Bob and be gifted 20 years in prison for crimes that it increasingly appears he did not commit. Bob Harris, 1 of 3 secret witnesses, in the Tamihere case ultimately gained early parole. I am unsure about the gains the other 2 witnesses 1 of whom is dead made from false testimony against Tamihere, but it can be taken from their names being suppressed, and the fact all 3 secret witnesses told conflicting details that the police didn't want the public or Jury to know who was aboard their train.
Today the public were told that Tamihere's case was not the only one inflicted by secret witnesses, also the controversial Mark Lundy case (which awaits a Court of Appeal decision), and that of Scott Watson who currently appeals his convictions under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy. 3 controversial cases all with secret witness involved, 2 with absolutely dodgy forensic science with the third having no reliable forensic science at all. Every criminal case requires a solid spike in the ground but these 3 cases have none. Once there was said to be evidence of brain material on Lundy's shirt, now there is none, Watson, now a 20 year old case - had 2-hairs as the forensic proof that with just $15,000 spent on a forensic update indicates that the 2-hairs have no probative value, who the hairs belonged to and where they came from is suddenly unknown, in Tamihere a key witness is now convicted of perjury for lying in the Tamihere trial.
None of these are stakes in the ground, they are the house on the shore built upon sand, held together by secret people guilty of horrific crimes as bad or worse than that of which they accuse Tamihere, Watson, or Lundy. Justice has been sold out and replaced with a lottery, crooks selling a story to convict another person in order to gain their freedom early, money, advantages. How can they possibly be trusted and why are their good names hidden, only to allow them to continue on in their employment of committing crime and getting concessions from the Crown to help convict the innocent.
Bob Harris is a person whose identity was hidden for 30 years, the arguments for his name to be suppressed centred around the alleged need to protect such people in order that others like them may come forward. That argument is entirely suspect because it appears the only thing that was protected was the police's ability to convict the innocent. Bob Harris's name being kept secret meant the Jury or the public didn't know who the person telling lies against David Tamihere really was. We know now it was somebody not sickened by the alleged Tamihere confession, but someone looking to gain something using lies and deceit, and whose own crimes were at least as bad or worse than that which he falsely accused Tamihere - we also now know he was lying.
There was absolutely nothing gained by the protection and rewards given to Bob Harris, no public good came from it only a lot of public harm - now revealed in its true horror. Not 1 witness lied against David Tamihere but 3, one can almost imagine the late detective John Hughes snickering about the coup he pulled off in sending the innocent Tamihere to prison, as he had earlier assisted with Arthur Thomas and other innocent men losing years of their lives.
David's son was only a child when the watch allegedly belonging to one of the missing tourists was found in his room, and when the whole country would pause in horror at the prospect of a father gifting his son the watch of a dead man he killed. A watch without even a hint of forensic proof was planted, indeed when Urban Hoglin's body was found buried on land, (not dumped at sea at Harris claimed), his watch was intact upon his risk. Hoglin had not been killed and been robbed as the finding of the watch revealed. Even then our Court of Appeal fiddled with the appeal and dismissed arguments that the finding of the body showed that Harris had lied, the Court preferred the proposition that it was Tamihere that lied to Harris - a distortion of the truth that will always blackened the Court of Appeal of that era. The Court did not have the courage to demonstrate outrage against a case that had clearly been orchestrated by police dealing using informers and planting evidence, they took the line that it was a necessary part of the legal process. History has shown the exact despicable process that allows the use of such witnesses and their protection, they are rewarded by both police and the Justice system - they are even released from prison early as if they have done a civic service.
Years earlier 2 other young boys were be impacted by the Tamihere case, having returned home from school to find their mother and her partner dead they would be unaware that they too had stepped into a police trap - because Harris the killer of their mother would be out of prison in less than a decade for assisting in the Tamihere convictions. Released only to reoffend. Consider Watson and Lundy both arguably falsely convicted on double murder - one having been in prison for 20 years and the other only a couple of years less during which time Harris had managed to get himself released twice for double murders which he does not deny. How are these cases all connected? Police targeting the innocent and when finding no evidence paying prisoners to fabricate stories. This didn't happen with Mark Lundy at the outset, only after the forensic science fell apart before his retrial - but with Watson from the outset when no evidence could be found of Scott Watson ever having even met the missing couple. Justice NZ style. All the while our Courts kept their heads in the sand paying homage to a 'civic service' that has corrupted the NZ Judicial process into a distortion of the truth.