Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Footnotes

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  • Peter Ashby,

    Further examples: one juror passed a note to his wife to say not to let go of their tickets for Stomp because it'd all be done and dusted by the Friday evening. Another said something similar to a worker at the coffee bar across the road. It was a troubling jury.

    Come off it Russell, I have sat on a jury. You think they only discuss the case amongst themselves when they formally retire to consider the verdict? After 13 weeks it would have been apparent to everyone on the jury as to how everyone was going to vote. I don't think that I am giving anything away by saying that was the case in the jury I sat on, it was just that we didn't know who was going to vote 'not proven' vs 'guilty' because they didn't want jailing a man to be on their consciences. That was only a one week trial. There's plenty of time you are shut in the jury room waiting, for stuff like that.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Amy Gale,

    As a child a dear friend of mine had a massive crush on the man. Apparently she used to come over all funny when he was on the telly.

    I clearly remember going to a primary school friend's birthday party, to which she had invited "Mr Muldoon". I wonder if it was the same girl. (The horrible alternative is that there were at least two such people!)

    He wrote her quite a sweet letter apologising for not being able to attend, actually.

    tha Ith • Since May 2007 • 471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Come off it Russell, I have sat on a jury. You think they only discuss the case amongst themselves when they formally retire to consider the verdict?

    I wouldn't expect them to go around informing strangers that it'd all be over real quick, no.

    I'm poorly placed to argue any further, not having been there. My point is that I cannot recall experienced journalists -- who were there for the whole three months -- describing a jury in these terms. Ever.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Mrs Skin,

    I wonder if it was the same girl.

    If it was I'm pretty sure she'd have mentioned the letter, possibly by pointing to it and saying "This here framed letter is the one I got when..."

    I wouldn't expect them to go around informing strangers that it'd all be over real quick, no.

    In my view it's poor form, certainly.

    Looks to me like a situation where a rule has remained unwritten because it was blindingly obvious to the interpretive community that one simply wouldn't. Which is fine as long as the interpretive community doesn't change. But we have. I don't believe that things like this are taken for granted anymore.

    the warmest room in the h… • Since Feb 2009 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I clearly remember going to a primary school friend's birthday party, to which she had invited "Mr Muldoon". I wonder if it was the same girl. (The horrible alternative is that there were at least two such people!)
    He wrote her quite a sweet letter apologising for not being able to attend, actually.

    Many have attested that Muldoon was like that - publicly nasty, while somewhat wussy in one-to-one situations. After Dalvanius Prime publicly slagged the Muldoon government's funding of indigenous arts while on a state-sponsored trip to the MIDEM music fair at Cannes in the early 80s, Piggy collared him at a public function, accusing him of biting the hand that feeds.

    Dalvanius suggested that next time a visiting dignitary was to be be given a traditional Maori welcome the big recipients of arts funding, such as the orchestra and ballet, be put "out there on the tarmac".
    "You mght have a point there," Muldoon conceded, turning suddenly amiable.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    For anyone who thinks we should tinker or do away with the jury system, have a think about Churchill's famous quote:

    ""Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    Then have a think about the Blackstone ratio

    Then tell us what you'd do different.

    After Dalvanius Prime publicly slagged the Muldoon government's funding of indigenous arts while on a state-sponsored trip to the MIDEM music fair at Cannes in the early 80s, Piggy collared him at a public function, accusing him of biting the hand that feeds.

    Why didn't Dalvinius just transform into his big truck vehicle form, and crush him?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Of course not. But my point is that you can excuse a person for letting their attention lapse momentarily. It was a three month trial. Who has the concentration and stamina to be always attentive?

    Nobody mentioned slight lapses in concentration as far as I know - they were talking about sleeping, giggling and passing notes.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • ChrisW,

    A spectre is haunting Thorndon...

    Even before he died (in '84) the house possessed a malevolent force

    Muldoon died in 1992, it was his political death in 1984, but as if a spectre he haunted Thorndon and the House as a malevolent force for some years after.

    Gisborne • Since Apr 2009 • 851 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    For anyone who thinks we should tinker or do away with the jury system, have a think about Churchill's famous quote:

    ""Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

    I tend to agree. But that doesn't mean it can't be discussed or made better.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22834 posts Report Reply

  • Mrs Skin,

    But that doesn't mean it can't be discussed or made better.

    Discussion and improvement is a vital part of the institution. For a time, jurors were in the unfortunate situation of being in danger of being imprisoned until they returned the result the judge wanted.

    the warmest room in the h… • Since Feb 2009 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    I'm poorly placed to argue any further, not having been there. My point is that I cannot recall experienced journalists -- who were there for the whole three months -- describing a jury in these terms. Ever.

    That is interesting because in my experience veteran court reporters know more about the law than lawyers. So there is definitely something to it.

    I wonder, though, whether we would be having this conversation were the shoe on the other foot. In other words, the jury decided early in the piece that Bain was definitely guilty and then sent notes, doodled or whatever. I would venture that this happens all the time.

    I think there is a gut instinct out there that the proper function of a jury is to convict, not acquit. But either way, justice has been done.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    I'm not suggesting we shouldn't discuss it, or that it can't be improved. Clearly there is room for improvement.

    However, I tend to think of the democratic processes and institutions we sometimes take for granted as being houses of cards, painstakingly built up over hundreds of years. Removing or repositioning one of those cards could have a lot of unintended consequences, so think carefully before taking action.

    That is all I am saying, and it is mostly in response to those who make sweeping statements about 'doing away' with the current jury system in certain circumstances.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    That is all I am saying, and it is mostly in response to those who make sweeping statements about 'doing away' with the current jury system in certain circumstances.

    Parliament has beaten you to it, Rich:


    361EJudge may order trial without jury in cases involving intimidation of juror or jurors

    (1) The Judge may, on a written application for the purpose made by the prosecutor before an accused person is given in charge to the jury, order that the accused person be tried for the offence before the Judge without a jury.

    (2) However, the Judge may make an order under subsection (1) only if satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to believe—

    (a) that intimidation of any person or persons who may be selected as a juror or jurors has occurred, is occurring, or may occur; and

    (b) that the effects of that intimidation can be avoided effectively only by making an order under subsection (1).

    (3) If the accused person is one of 2 or more persons to be tried together, all of them must be tried before a Judge with a jury unless an order under subsection (1) for all of them to be tried by a Judge without a jury is applied for and made.

    (4) This section does not limit sections 361B to 361D.



    See also

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    The system's far from perfect, but I agree with Rich. The system has developed over hundreds of years and is the way it is for good reason. Everything can be improved, but I prefer evolution to revolution.

    We shouldn't chuck out the entire jury system on the basis of one verdict. And if we make judges the arbiters of facts they won't always get it right either. People make mistakes.

    I'm not against people debating the issue. But the answers aren't simple and they're not obvious.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    No chance. I was 10 when Muldoon got the arse.

    Was I the only one who read this and thought "been drinking too much soy"?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Normal people wouldn't think of such perverted shit...

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

  • Mrs Skin,

    Also, generalising madly, gay men have high standards. Would Muldoon would meet them, d'yer think?

    the warmest room in the h… • Since Feb 2009 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    I apologise in advance for this complete swerve of topic, but does anyone else share my total lack of interest in Big Wednesday?
    Yesterday it seemed to be the only topic of conversation everywhere I went, and today the front page of the DomPost is completely given over to it.
    Seems like a rather unhealthy national obsession to me.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Normal people wouldn't think of such perverted shit...

    Yes, but what's the percentage of 'normal people' on PAS?

    I apologise in advance for this complete swerve of topic, but does anyone else share my total lack of interest in Big Wednesday?

    I completely fail to understand how it works. They seem to put letter boxes on the TV screen and then someone wins $37 million. There must be more to it than that though.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Brickley Paiste,

    but does anyone else share my total lack of interest in Big Wednesday?

    YES! We make a virtue out of what is effectively a tax on idiocy. We need Keith on this but I think the chances of winning are so small it isn't worth buying a ticket. Like constantly going for walks hoping to be hit by falling airplane parts or something.

    But it is a huge business and in some places a corrupt one at that.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Yes, but what's the percentage of 'normal people' on PAS?

    I believe it's a party of one: just James Bremner, right?

    (Regarding my lack of PE prowess: if feminism was a sport, I would *waste* you, Kyle. ;) )

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    We make a virtue out of what is effectively a tax on idiocy.

    Idiocy is a little harsh, Brickley; more like statistically illiterate.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Sokolich,

    I apologise in advance for this complete swerve of topic, but does anyone else share my total lack of interest in Big Wednesday?
    Yesterday it seemed to be the only topic of conversation everywhere I went, and today the front page of the DomPost is completely given over to it.
    Seems like a rather unhealthy national obsession to me.

    A'greed'.

    I think the these massive first division prizes are obscene. That one person one $36m and then won the second division which was almost another million is beyond the pale to me. (I realise there are even bigger prizes overseas). Call me a commie but I think a more equitable distribution of the prize pool over the divisions would be far better. It certainly would encourage me to buy a ticket if I thought I had a better than 1 in 16mil chance of winning a decent prize. FFS the odds make it hard enough to win even the Division 3-6 prizes!

    Since Oct 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    Yes, but what's the percentage of 'normal people' on PAS?

    Sir, I'll have you know that I am totally normal, its just that everybody else is kinda weird.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Kim Sokolich,

    one = won

    At least phonetically correct. :)

    Since Oct 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

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