Saturday, December 1, 2018

Lundy and the sea of science.

Mark Lundy is soon to turn 60, just before then his papers for Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court will be filed in what continues to be one of NZ's most controversial cases. One that will not go away. In the last 2 years the questions of guilt and innocent have returned to 2 shirt spots which are claimed to have contained Mark's wife's central nervous tissue 'associated' with her DNA. In other words a slam dunk of guilt according to our Court of Appeal.

Recently when doing a little work on another case of interest, that of Scott Watson, I spoke to a critic of Scott's. The critic was essentially a legal professional of some standing but not a lawyer. That person told me that Scott was guilty of another crime 'but the police didn't have the evidence.' That is one of the most astounding statements I've heard a person ever make about another, on that basis everyone in NZ is guilty of some thing or other, but the police don't have the evidence. It reminds of the 2 spots allegedly 'found' on ML's shirt. For 18 years they have been spoken about in tandem, yet 1 of the spots has no relevance because it has not given any conclusive test results. In fact, logically there are no scientific connections that link the spots except that police believe they are associated 'but don't have the proof.' The Courts have followed suit and this is how prosecutions can work, something is made from nothing, a link is inferred despite not being able to be proved and the Court does not object.

Of course if there is no precise proof then the 2nd spot is of relevance to the case against ML, it must rely on an unproven 'association' to DNA. Either, for that matter is the 1st - the one meant to contain Christine's brain matter. We need to look at that spot and the quandary the Courts has got itself into over that evidence. I used the word 'associated' DNA above. In fact ML has his wife's DNA on his shirt like possibly every other married man in NZ has his wife DNA somewhere on his clothes and vice versa. However the suspect material said to be CNS (central nervous system) had no identifiable DNA at all. The Crown were unable to prove the DNA was even human and in fact in tests it showed faint traces of being animal.

To reflect on that CL's (Christine Lundy's) DNA on the shirt in 2 particular areas - but the whole shirt not tested for DNA. The alleged CNS purportedly arriving on the shirt at the same time from an open wound - does not have her DNA inside. In fact it is missing millions of neurons the building blocks of CNS, and has traces of animal DNA. No one has, or can explain that in a way that points to ML's guilt. What should have been on the shirt was CL's DNA, and inside the spot should have been her DNA as well, both surrounded both with wound debris - a lot of it, because there was the blood shadow on the wall where of Christine's attacker. No scientist has ever been able to show that shadow fitted ML, or been able to explain how it can be said CL's DNA and the spot arrived at the same time - because that is what is needed to make the evidence relevant, that along with CL's DNA actually in the spot, not just surrounding it and with millions of neurons missing.

There is a lot of scientific papers about the association myths of DNA. One of the first points is that no one can tell when DNA arrives somewhere, so with a spouse it could be any time, even before a shirt for example was washed. Also the quantity has no significance, in 2 traces of DNA in the same area one cannot say that the larger amount is connected to the crime and the lesser is not. This is the corner our COA have painted themselves into. But there is also another factor.

In 2014 a Dr Miller, a man who has vowed never to return to New Zealand, and one must think because of concerns over 'brain samples' he acquired illegally, did a 'parallel' test to show his novel testing techniques could be relied upon. He took a sample brain that may have already been preserved and placed in conditions where he claimed it had 'air dried.' He then stained it using an IHC technique which tests known samples for disease or abnormalities, but he used to 'show' that it was brain despite that the stain was not brain specific (meaning would only react to brain.) Following which other IHC practitioners (neuropathologists) looked at the sample through a microscope. None of these persons were forensically trained, they all said it was CNS tissue by comparative testing using a subjective technique which has essentially fallen off the 'forensic scientist's check sheets now. The same process used in the Watson case where an 'expert' looked through a microscope and said that something compared with something else in respect of 2 different hairs to 'confirm' their probable source. That process later showed to have a 93% failure rate in FBI hair comparison testing methods conducted in cases where hair was used as conclusive evidence.

In the Lindy Chamberlain case, 'experts' said they saw blood in samples taken from under the dashboard of the Chamberlain family car after a staining process similar to IHC (and also novel) was used. Later the 'blood' was found to be underseal or noise suppressant material. In Chamberlain, like Lundy and Watson - no one could tell when the alleged 'blood' had arrived behind the dash. Just as in Watson no one knows when the alleged hairs of Olivia arrived in the lab (or more to the point if they are Olivia's hairs at all, or as in Lundy the alleged brain (less its millions of neurons and attended by animal DNA) arrived on the shirt compared to the known DNA which may have been from a sneeze or transferred from other clothing. Then why so little alleged CNS (no bone, sinew, skin or flesh) but an abundance of DNA during the course of a horrific killing?

So these are all things common in these controversial cases where someone is guilty 'but the police don't have the proof.' I challenge any reader to explain the Lundy shirt 'CNS' with no neurons. And I do that with confidence that Miller and police pulled a fast one in their 'parallel' test with their stolen brain. Why? Because Miller did not report results throughout his parallel test which indicated the donor's DNA was not present or when it began to 'disappear.' He also did not report when the neurons where present in the DNA or when they began to 'disappear.' Just as NZ 'scientist' did not report the presence or lack of peroxide in the 2-hairs in the Watson case, and still has not. And just as 'scientists' looked through microscopes and said underseal was blood in the Chamberlain case.

Forensic science can be daunting in the hands of some people, and can be misused. It has been misused in all 3 of these cases, CNS without neurons or DNA of the donor, mystery hairs confirmed as belonging to somebody by the eye of an expert using a now discredited method, panelbeaters underseal becoming blood.

In the sea of science that is the Lundy case, why hasn't one qualified person explained why CL's DNA is not contained in the spot claimed to be her brain (or CNS) material. When police chose to support Miller's tests with newer, fresher tests observed by others, why has nobody reported whether the brain used to emulate Miller's original test had neurons after it had been air dried and examined, or whether or not the Donor's DNA was still traceable? At some point along the way the alleged CNS on ML's shirt lost its neurons and identifiable DNA (if it ever had any of each) and picked up animal DNA. Surely the same must have happened to the donor (sample) brain or is this a case like the one the person explained to me about the Watson case 'they didn't have the evidence'? As a final point DNA denatured in some way by time or other processes can be reinstated, but that didn't happen in Lundy either.

Neurons in the brain and central nervous system:

"The basic unit of the nervous system is a nerve cell, or neuron. The human brain contains about 100 billion neurons. A neuron has a cell body, which includes the cell nucleus, and special extensions called axons (pronounced AK-sonz) and dendrites (pronounced DEN-drahytz). Bundles of axons, called nerves, are found throughout the body. Axons and dendrites allow neurons to communicate, even across long distances.
Different types of neurons control or perform different activities. For instance, motor neurons transmit messages from the brain to the muscles to generate movement. Sensory neurons detect light, sound, odor, taste, pressure, and heat and send messages about those things to the brain. Other parts of the nervous system control involuntary processes. These include keeping a regular heartbeat, releasing hormones like adrenaline, opening the pupil in response to light, and regulating the digestive system."

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