Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Lundy and Me.

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Lilith __,

    I’m really uncomfortable with people judging someone for not crying (or not crying “properly”) at a funeral.

    Agree completely. If they don't cry like a hollywood actor, on cue, in front of the cameras, wearing the "right clothes" then they must be guilty????? One of the more disgusting pieces of journalism was that focus on the man at the funeral.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    Actually, I used to live in College Street, only a block away from the drama that unfolded in Chaytor Street all those years ago. I was completely oblivious to it.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 573 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    The problem for me with all those trials is that the tea table discussions often came to the opposite conclusion to that of the jury which suggests the jury saw (important) evidence we did not.

    Yeah, so you see my point - all the talk of flakiness around those cases might have more to do with those ill-informed dinner table discussions, rather than a spate of particularly flaky cases.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    I know this is carrying on along an odd tangent to the main issues, but I can't help thinking of Meursault, convicted of murder because he didn't cry at his mother's funeral (even though he was guilty.) For the record, 13 year old me didn't cry at my father's funeral either, and I am certainly not a murderer.

    Anyway, I think the Lundy case interests the public, in part, for the same reason the Bain case does: not simply because of the nature of the crime, but because of the efforts of individuals to draw attention to the details of the cases in the years afterwards. I don't think it's a purely academic question to wonder how different our justice system would be if every criminal conviction (or even just every murder conviction) was given as much attention after the fact.

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Damian Christie,

    all the talk of flakiness around those cases might have more to do with those ill-informed dinner table discussions, rather than a spate of particularly flaky cases.

    We know for absolute fact that there was prosecutorial misbehaviour in Lundy, with things withheld from the defence. Bain was ruled an unsafe conviction and sent back for retrial. We all know about Peter Ellis. Teina Pora is from the same era and looks to have been very, very shady. Tamihere was pursued with an end goal in mind, and subsequent discoveries destroyed the police case.

    The Privy Council has issued rulings on two of these that support the "ill-informed dinner table discussion", at least in part, and there's enough out there on these other cases to raise valid questions about the police having apparently decided on a suspect and then done whatever was required to achieve the conviction.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Tautoko Matthew- I was in CHCH when the Ellis proscecution began; I publically supported him & law team not least because of the bits I knew about the interviewing of child witnesses and the wild & weird rumours going round the city (and where they originated.)

    Describing a case as 'flakey/flakiness' & queries resulting about them resulting from
    'ill-informed dinner-party discussions' is prats' dismissiveness - now overturned by subsequent results.
    I cannot venture an opinion about Lundy's case - dont known the area, am not really informed about the whole matter - BUT - I do know CHCH-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca,

    And yet Taina Pora a person who is clearly innocent and was basically framed by police (and his family) still sits in jail

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to BlairMacca,

    nd yet Taina Pora a person who is clearly innocent and was basically framed b

    I know nothing about this person & his case-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • "chris", in reply to BlairMacca,

    In fairness to the prosecution, Taina Pora complicated things by confessing:

    An experienced detective warned superiors that a teenager was not telling the truth about his involvement in the murder and rape of Susan Burdett.

    His concerns were ignored and the teenager, Teina Pora, was eventually convicted of the horrific 1992 crime – despite new evidence he didn’t do it.

    “He appeared to me to be a stupid kid who wanted to big note,” the officer told TV3’s 3rd Degree.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I'm not sure if you're saying that's what we were trying to do? It wasn't. I'd never ask a scientist anything other than a scientific question.

    And neither would a lawyer in court. And if one did, the judge would disallow it.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Stephen R,

    I’d throw the Peter Ellis (Christchurch Creche) case in with that lot too.

    Teina Pora case is heading to the Privy Council. A case which I would thank investigative journalism for. It was refreshing to see what I think is sadly lacking in that field.
    ETA......oh now I get to page 3 doh! ignore my post,

    .

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    ill-informed dinner table discussion

    My problem is I know with absolute certainty that I am ill-informed about these cases. I am almost certain that the folks around the tea table are equally ill-informed.

    That there are problems with the prosecutions I am happy to accept. What I am unwilling to accept is that I know enough from the 2 minute items on the 6 O'clock news to make an informed judgement.

    For me that is the issue around these high profile cases. We get so much gossip and very little first hand actual data. In that environment I am very reluctant to distrust the judgement of the jury who while they may not be the perfect at least they were there to hear all the evidence.

    To say now that the privy council's decision proves the prosecution case was bunk is not right either. Note the privy council stated he should stand trial again not that he was innocent.

    We (society) rightly demand perfection from our police and the legal system. But we'd be wrong to expect that to happen. And IMO wrong to damn the whole system when they do get it wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • BlairMacca, in reply to "chris",

    But what the 3rd degree report showed was the Police led him to the house where she was killed, after he clearly had no idea how to get there.

    In any case I am glad its going to the Privy Council, but I can't beleive such a clear miscarriage of justice should have to go that far

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 208 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Remember, the jury don't hear all the evidence. They hear two stories constructed by two groups of advocates using the evidence that falls within the rules of admissibility.

    (Which isn't to say that we're in any better position, or that, in fact, anyone is.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Remember, the jury don’t hear all the evidence. They hear two stories constructed by two groups of advocates using the evidence that falls within the rules of admissibility.

    Bingo. The jury doesn't hear close to everything, even in a very simple trial, and with these cases we're seeing rulings that evidence/information required to be disclosed to the defence was withheld during discovery and thus not scrutinised in court. It might not make the speculation any better-informed than were the juries' deliberations, but it does show that there was very much a culture of doing nearly anything required to get a conviction.

    Mark Lundy's entire trial hinged on the possibility of averaging 176km/h not once but twice within a three-hour window and for well over 100 kilometres each way, on some very heavily policed roads, and that was not any kind of secret. There's nothing uninformed about speculating about how wildly improbable that is.

    Scott Watson's trial raised a mystery boat, of a type identified by someone with knowledge of boats, that was never located. Don't have to be sitting in the jury box to be asking why that boat wasn't tracked down as a matter of priority.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BlairMacca,

    In any case I am glad its going to the Privy Council,

    With regards Lundy, his lawyer Malcolm Birdling did comment how difficult it was to get it to the Privy Council mentioning cost being a big part of it.
    His bail hearing is tomorrow

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    I know that one is asked to have an opinion or take a position on this and other similar cases (Bain, Kahui twins etc etc), but just can't do it. Instead, I usually have two questions'

    Q. 1 If the person in the spotlight didn't commit the murder, then who did?

    Q. 2 Why are the police so seemingly incompetent in such cases?

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Q. 1 If the person in the spotlight didn’t commit the murder, then who did?

    Q. 2 Why are the police so seemingly incompetent in such cases?

    In the Kahui case, it's actually quite hard to tell who actually did it. Chris was statistically likely to be the culprit (common-law partner of the mother), but pretty much everything was circumstantial. It takes no real force to fatally injure an infant so no way of narrowing the suspect pool that way, and without any witnesses coming forward solving it conclusively was always going to be a tough ask. Without reverting to methods of interrogation that are best left to the CIA, the police couldn't compel anyone to talk. That's not incompetence, that's just the reality of being a country where there's something approximating respect for due process in the face of a whole family that closed ranks to protect a murderer.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Don’t have to be sitting in the jury box to be asking why that boat wasn’t tracked down as a matter of priority.

    Plus why when there was sightings of that boat (not Watsons) did the police not bother to look at those.
    Because the Police are human, I suspect that closing a case would carry a certain amount of satisfaction, which could lead to Police fitting a suspect to the crime, especially if the suspect had form or was known to them.
    As to Who dunnit? Could be random(like my thinking) which isn't too common here.But in Poras case, neither him nor Rewa knew Burdett, yet a fair amount of murderers do know their victim. We don't get a lot of murders per head of population in New Zealand.
    Thing is, with the Justice system of "proven beyond reasonable doubt" if it's doubtful, then not guilty. The Crown prosecutor needs accurate proof/evidence. The Police have shown that some of their work is shoddy if nothing else.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Q. 2 Why are the police so seemingly incompetent in such cases?

    I think I have some ideas about the second question. Part of the problem is you only notice these cases because something is wrong with them ... you don't notice all the cases where the police and prosecution get it right because there is nothing to see. Of course you also don't notice the cases where the police got it wrong and nobody noticed, which of course is the big worry.

    The second part is because these cases are usually more complex, there is simply more ways to screw them up than the usual less interesting cases. Most murders are solved and are straight forward. The weird ones where things don't make sense are both more likely to be reported and more easy to screw up.

    And finally there is the media (and of course the readers/viewers) ... a journalist is naturally much more likely to chase a story where it looks like the police got it wrong than if it looks like they got it right. This thread starts with a post about a story where they just couldn't prove that the police had got it wrong and hence the story wasn't newsworthy enough. A lot of effort for no result.

    Add those up and the police seem incompetent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Q. 1 If the person in the spotlight didn't commit the murder, then who did?

    But that's got nothing to do with the trial of the person in the spotlight. Our system is based on the premise of innocent until proven guilty, and the prosecution must put up a strong beyond-reasonable-doubt case.

    On a slight tangent, a lawyer friend once told me that there is a legal principle that it is better for a guilty person to go free than for an innocent person to be locked away. I always wondered about this; it doesn't exactly seem self-evident to me; can any of our resident legal beagles shed any light?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    a lawyer friend once told me that there is a legal principle that it is better for a guilty person to go free than for an innocent person to be locked away.

    Blackstone's formulation. I'd heard it as 100 guilty go free, which is attributed to, amongst others, Benjamin Franklin, so at least knew where to start with Google. It's all Biblical and shit.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"

    I do like the response "better for whom?"

    While I really do think the basic assumptions behind this principle are good, I also think that it can be taken to an unhealthy extreme. The discussion on another thread here highlights how, in an effort to expose doubt as to guilt, the legal system can do tremendous harm to victims.

    The same logic that says if innocent people are condemned then there is no reason to behave virtuously also applies to victims where if they can have no hope of seeing justice done then they will not bother with the legal system.

    It is very easy to devolve into absolute and extreme arguments, but the world is made up of grey places and I'd prefer to see a (perhaps unachievable) system that accepted that in some crimes attacking the victim to create doubt is not the mark of a civilised and virtuous society.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    a (perhaps unachievable) system that accepted that in some crimes attacking the victim to create doubt is not the mark of a civilised and virtuous society.

    I think it is unachievable. Peter Ellis is a pretty good example of what happens when the victims are considered unimpeachable (after some seriously fucked-up coaching, admittedly). Slut-shaming of victims of rape is not civilised, but it's also not civilised to take accusations of rape as gospel without any examination just because it's traumatic to real victims to try and weed out false accusations.
    Possibly taking sexual crimes from adversarial to inquisitorial trials would work, but the victim is still going to have to undergo some degree of re-living the crime in such a court and the judge is still going to have to establish a clear absence of consent in the cases which are not nicely black-and-white (and most rapes aren't a woman being dragged into an alley).

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart,

    Well thank you, learned sirs.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 830 posts Report Reply

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