Saturday, July 27, 2019

A Joe Parker v Ruiz fight number 2?

Andy Ruiz roughed up Anthony Joshua big time, the shorter man was right in Joshua's face with no stepping back. Joshua beat Joe Parker on points. Joe didn't let go in the way Ruiz did against Joshua, Parker talked about that after the fight the fight he had with Joshua, now we see what may have been.

Immediately on Ruiz beating Joshua,  Parker's stocks grew bigtime. The guy with no quit doesn't like to lose, that's what he took to Joshua - the written off underdog was going to bite. I think any such match between Andy and Joe is likely, Ruiz will want to show Parker the canvas to avenge his loss and Parker will want to do the same because of the feeling the fight was close, but maybe a hometown decision.  Parker is unfinished business for Ruiz. They need to fight.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The biggest mistakes in the Scott Watson case?

The few police and Crown officials that it increasingly looks like that framed Scott Watson made 1 obvious mistake - planting (or accidentally mixing up to rephrase it to a nicety) 2 blond hairs rather than 'find' some short brown hairs as well that could or did belong to Ben. Why? because no realistic thought was given to the scepticism that would attach to 2 hairs 1x15cm long, and the other 25cm long, not being found despite up 6 or 7 searches including specific searches of Scott's boat the Blade itself by ESR technicians. That was after police had searched themselves. One of the later searches in the lab was removing each hair from a blanket off the blade with tweezers, the concentration that requires would readily reveal recognition of 2 long blond hairs among 400 hairs much shorter dark hairs. It wasn't zombies at work but a scientist and technician working on an important case.

The seizure warrant of the Blade indicated the search was for bodies or body parts, exactly the right sort of language to ensure a warrant. After which followed the parade of the Blade towed through the town and port of Picton, creating strong symbolism, a couple missing and a local boat seized - for many of the public and some of the press it may have been considered as game set and match. Just where the details of 'bodys and body parts' emerged from is unknown, but it was sworn in the documents so must have a source to be legal - a situation I understand that has not been explained satisfactorily. It could have simply been police making it up, or 1 of the many undercovers working the area at the time being told that by an informant. Whatever the situation was it became the first strike against Scott Watson in a case which would always lack evidence, need prison narks, media propaganda, dodgy science and a co-operative Court to gain convictions.

Those 2 hairs as readers know, are according to police, the Crown, and at least 1 previous Minister of Justice the glue that 'holds the case' against Scott together. Those 1st searches of the Blade (whether or not the warrant details were believed to be authentic or not, I'd say not) were for blood, hairs, any other sign of the missing couple, or a murder scene. 21 years later nothing - except recognition of 1 big mistake - few people can believe with any certainty that the 2 hairs could survive their secrecy for so many searches only to be magically found together at the same time some 3 months after the couple's disappearance.

People have asked before, the excellent question what about Ben's hair? The excuse I have read was apparently the cost of testing, an unfortunate truth that Justice in New Zealand can rely on cost - something which can result in shortcuts. Shortcuts in this case by design, a single hair from Ben - without a pedigree of multiple failed searches as was required for the 2 hairs alleged, but never proven to be Olivia's, could have satisfied public doubt - at least in the short term until the nagging truth of a suspect ketch, the couple being seen alive on another boat after they were alleged to be dead set in, as it inevitably has.

So we are not considering that Scott is guilty because on the hair evidence he is not, the 2 hairs prove that independently along with information yet to be made public, although each point alone proves Scott's innocence. They also prove 1 mistake. If police were fitting up Scott deliberately or 'mistakenly,' 2 hairs backed up by the proof of a hair or hairs with Ben's nuclear or mitochondrial DNA intact, would have at least provided less concern after the 'mystery ketch' debacle. A human sheds between a 100 to 150 hairs per day, in a fight for their life they are likely to lose more hair as well. One of the police theories inadvertently helps reveal the 'mistake' - the Blade not arriving at Eerie Bay until the evening of New Years day and therefore having allegedly sailed to the Cook Strait and back quicker than a speed boat could. That theory needs to ignore that no screams were heard aboard the Blade where it was moored in the Furneaux Inlet, also for the couple to board unseen, no voices of the couple heard talking as they boarded or later in the cabin, but nevertheless alive on the Blade when it left its mooring and not protesting the departure around 7.30am. A man intent on kidnap or murder would not anchor anywhere near other boats let alone raft up to 2 boats with people on board, chat with the skipper of 1 before later the next morning go aboard hoping for a further drink. Nor would the couple, sensing a change in the purpose of their 'host,' co-operate by being silent. They would have made noise and lots of it,  knowing others on the boats next to them would have heard. Ben was a big man and Olivia was feisty, but we are asked to believe they were co-operating in their own peril. Considering all that was true for a minute, that meant that up to 20 hairs or more from both Ben and Olivia would have been on the Blade and easy to find in such a small area.

So discovery of Ben's hairs, that must have inevitably been on the Blade if the police theory is right, was a certainty and in fact not a big job at all. There was animal hair on the blanket and therefore in the 2 bags where the hairs were carefully put into an environment that ensured their contamination, something no scientist or technician would do to evidence, but would do with hairs which were already eliminated as being from Ben or Olivia. That was the purpose of the blanket search, a confirmation of the searches for hairs on the Blade showing no potential hairs belonging to Olivia,  the reason all the hairs were put together and not collected in the way in which evidentiary hairs would be gathered 2 years later in the Lundy case where the position of each hair taken from Christine Lundy's hands was shown in a drawing, before being placed in a separate evidence tissue for later examination -  investigators knew they would more likely than not have been the offender(s). No, in Watson they went straight into 2 bags after being taken carefully off the blanket by 2 ESR staff in essentially what was at the time considered to be the final confirmatory search that Ben and Olivia had not been aboard. Let's not pretend those staff were untrained, working in isolation and not involved in the Watson inquiry because they were, and they found no blond hairs leading to the logical explanation that if none of Olivia's, easier to find hairs were there, then there were none of Ben's as well. A stupid if possibly deliberate mistake.

Thinking about this further. Search of the boat by ESR for hairs and blood or body fluids, nothing found, but blanket taken for further search just in case. Further search completed by 2 technicians uplifting each individual hair off the blanket - confirming the results of the boat search - a double or triple check (if including police searches), but no hairs belonging to Olivia. Probably a logical step at the outset when a search was going on for a suspect ketch, with 100s of people reporting sighting it, some saying they saw Olivia and Ben aboard, arms tied behind their backs before the investigation fatally turned. We don't have the complete details of the blanket search either aboard the Blade, or in the lab, other than what those that did the searches said in evidence, there was no video recording as there would not be the day Vintiner 'found' 2 blond hairs at a time she had other blond hairs in the lab from the family home of Olivia, controvening accreditation rules. What we do know is that during the blanket search, hairs could have been easily processed into order, animal hair removed, then hair sorted by colour under microscope for finer detail - that's what would have happened if 2 blond hairs had been seen either on the blanket or on the Blade, it was critical evidence. Remember when the 2 hairs were found months after the crimes, they were immediately separated not put back in the bags to be looked at later.

Vintiner gave evidence for hours, a lot about her experience in what is now considered to be junk science 'hair comparison' methods. But 'hair comparison' does have a place in forensic science, if the victim had blond hair then sort blond hair out without mixing, short brown hair, dark or black hair and so on - do the same for further testing. One thing we know in abundance is that a lot of evidence was hidden in the Watson case, statements destroyed and altered, job sheets gone so it is a natural step to consider that is also likely with the 'hair searches.' The hair search on the Blade was well recorded with hairs of interest properly and separately gathered noting where they were found, that has not been hidden but the truth of that has never been properly acknowledged for its indication of what motivated the later searches. Vintener would claim she was busy as the reason it took weeks to search again, too busy to deal with the crime of the decade? No, it was a clear indication as to what happened in the Lab, the smoke and mirrors from which 2 hairs suddenly appeared when the investigation needed them. Just like the Crewe garden bed yielding a bullet shell after it had already been searched, and the room of David Bain producing a glass lens after it had been searched only to be found late at night by a detective not tasked with searching.

There were no blond hairs ever seen on the Blade by scientists and police, or on the blanket search by scientists in the lab where all the hairs were lifted individually with tweezers, or in the later of the first of 2 searches of 2 bags of hairs taken from the same blanket and treated without concern for contamination - because none were Olivia's, and if Olivia's were not there then neither were Bens. And that may be the biggest mistake in the Watson case, the belief that eventually the public would not see that the police and ESR had tricked a Jury not only by police accepting the impossibility of the 2 hairs not being seen in multiple searches but would compensate natural doubt of that with witnesses who claimed Scott had 'confessed,'  others that said that he talked about killing women in their presence - but who showed no concern for that fact and continued to socialise with him. As is hinted above there was an even bigger 'mistake' yet to be revealed which shows without doubt that Olivia's hairs were not those offered in evidence and therefore were not on the Blade or blanket. Without the first mistake, the 2nd would have possibly been harder to find - but was always going to emerge 1 day, because the mistakes completely fit together while the Crown case never has.