Friday, August 23, 2019

Lundy at Supreme Court.

The basics of what I know of Lundy at The Supreme Court appeal next week.

The test for the Lundy case at the Supreme Court (SC) is whether guilt is inevitable after some junk science was thrown out by the Court of Appeal (COA) which the Crown relied upon to gain a conviction at retrial - but since claim it wasn't necessary after fighting all the way to the SC for its admission and used for the damning closing lines 'no man has the right to have his wife's brain on his shirt.' The Crown's prolonged arguments for the admission of the discarded evidence was noted by the SC at the leave to appeal hearing compared to the Crown's position that the evidence was of no significance.
For the Crown other non forensic science, never used in any Court worldwide before the Lundy trial or since, is said to prove the 'inevitable' guilt. It becomes an important hearing after defence counsel say that the COA got DNA evidence wrong - if interested google DNA on a spouse's clothing. A critical feature is now that the alleged Central Nervous Tissue (CNS) is known to contain animal DNA from the food chain and none of Christine's DNA.
What may emerge more clearly for the 1st time is not only a breakin (police say was staged), a neighbour seeing a ranch slider open at around 11am on a cold winter's night (police say doesn't matter - despite being near the time when Christine turned her computer off, previously said to have been 'manipulated' by Lundy in evidence since discarded), untested (lost) hairs found in Christine's hands along with fibres unmatched to any clothing owned by Lundy, there were also fingerprints found in the area of the breakin unable to be matched to any person who had visited the home in the previous 3 months, unknown DNA of 2 males found under the nails of both Christine and Amber but none of ML's. There was no attempt as far as I know to link DNA from the prints, to that of mystery hairs (Lundy provided his own hair as a sample and did not match), or to that of the fingernail DNA.
The 2 men have never been found to be discounted from blame despite that mother and daughter's movements were well known to police with last contact outside the home a around 6pm at a McDonald drive through where no physical contact was likely to have been made. As far as I know the McDonald staffer was never tested as the potential point of transfer, it would be unlikely that mother or daughter would have touched him let alone scratch him in some way.
Multiple peer reviewed papers show that fingernail DNA lasts approx 6 hours under the fingernails as the hands are used, washed etc. The Crown now say (conveniently one could say) that time of death was around 3am where as previously they said it was 7pm the previous evening.
By sheer 'coincidence' both those times (the earlier with a big unrealistic push, the reason for the Crown to abandon it along with a woman who claimed to have seen Lundy running away from the house in the evening dressed as woman) happen to be times when possibly Lundy could have been in Palmerston North.
The original slide taken from the shirt stain was unable to be tested because of degradation, but apparently some of the 'same' matter on the shirt was, found to contain animal DNA but none of CL's. The discarded science was said to by a narrow margin prove that the DNA was human - the crown had 'wanted' it be proved as being not only human (certainly not animal) but also female. A reasonable person might be concerned that 2 biological samples said to be from the same source would not match, 1 being said to be rotten and the other somewhat magically preserved, and that a biological sample would not contain the DNA of it's owner.
With that evidence (and enormous amount more) Jonathan Eaton QC will argue that Lundy's guilt is not inevitable and the COA should have ordered a retrial after discarding the junk science mRNA. There is also some significant concern about the Texas quasi Scientist which the COA would not hear, but which perhaps the SC will. That material, provided by an Attorney of the American Supreme Court, is more significant than what the Jury heard from one forensic scientist that the Texas lab was dirty and not operating to the standards required for forensic testing accreditation.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Time for a change to false imprisonment by design in New Zealand

Follows details of efforts made in the States to even out a false imprisonment rate of around 4%. Like NZ, people of colour, no doubt along with those from the lower socioeconomic stream, the less educated and the mentally unwell, all get the rough end of the stick in cases of false imprisonment. Fortunately in NZ the 'plea bargaining' is benign compared to the States where 18% of the innocent plead guilty. Something which can only happen because of pressure from police and prosecutors. These figures transposed onto the incarcerated in NZ would mean around 400 persons falsely imprisoned for all crimes. Not just the controversial murder cases that become well known here

We still have nothing of this type of initiative happening in NZ and the Criminal Conviction Review process, once implemented, won't be as active as police and prosecutors are in certain American states at sorting out false imprisonment. It needs to be remembered that false imprisonment is not accidental. It wasn't in the Thomas case or any of the others. It was deliberate and no one in authority paid a price for that. They got away with it without even a slap on the hand.