Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: And meanwhile ...

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    If the sample is destroyed if there is no charge laid, I would be a lot more comfortable with it than if it was stored 'just in case'. If that's a route the powers that be want to take to a logical conclusion, why not take a sample from every new-born child, just in case?

    To me it wouldn't make sense to take samples and then destroy if charges weren't laid or the person wasn't convicted. Why not just take the sample after conviction? Save a whole heap of time and money taking samples and then destroying them.

    We already do. It's called the heel prick test. We've been storing blood from every newborn dried on a card since the 1970s. As far as I know there has never been any intention to analyse their DNA for criminal identification though.

    Yeah this does happen sometimes:

    The Police access Guthrie cards only as a last resort. The Ministry of Health and Police have a Memorandum of Understanding clarifying circumstances in which Guthrie cards may be accessed. Police occasionally request access to a Guthrie card to identify a deceased person, or to match biological material found at a crime scene. If the police need a Guthrie card to identify anyone except a victim, they apply to a District Court Judge for a warrant. In accepting a Guthrie Card the police certify it will be used solely for the investigation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Lockwood as Speaker won't be a disaster and it'll get him out of the Ministry but ordinarily Speakers are former Leaders or Shadow Leaders of the House or Whips... The right were fond of challenging Wilson, who'd not been a Leader of the House or a Whip but yet they'll appoint Lockwood? The one likely outcome is that Cullen will have a blast.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    If the police need a Guthrie card to identify anyone except a victim, they apply to a District Court Judge for a warrant. In accepting a Guthrie Card the police certify it will be used solely for the investigation.

    I wonder what that actually means? I wonder how often it's occurred? Anyone?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Why not just take the sample after conviction?

    Well, I can see the logic in it, and I'm comfortable with it.

    If the police arrest a suspect in, for example, a rape case, and in that specific instance they don't have a strong enough case to lay charges, then the suspect gets released.

    However, an analysis of a DNA sample might ring the cherries with a whole string of other unsolved cases, and the suspect ain't going anywhere.

    However, I remain very uncomfortable with the collecting and storing of samples 'just because'.

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And elsewhere, the DomPost is starting the silly season good and early:

    Key deserts Armistice gathering for caucus
    By KERRY WILLIAMSON - The Dominion Post | Wednesday, 12 November 2008

    On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, John Key was tucked away in meetings.

    The prime minister-elect was a no-show at yesterday's National Commemorative Service in the capital, marking the 90th anniversary of the end of World War I.

    While outgoing Prime Minister Helen Clark and her successor to the Labour Party leadership, Phil Goff, laid wreaths and met veterans, Mr Key sent National list MP Chris Finlayson in his place.

    Mr Key spent most of the morning in meetings, trying to organise the country's next government.

    So, the Prime Minister and Defence Minister attended the ceremony, while another party sent a representative? This is "deserting" how, exactly? This is about as dumb and tacky (given the events being commemorated) as the faux-controversy last year about Clark not attending a a dawn service on ANZAC Day. I think the substance gets rather lost in bickering over the form.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    However, an analysis of a DNA sample might ring the cherries with a whole string of other unsolved cases, and the suspect ain't going anywhere.

    I'm pretty dubious about "while we've got you in here arrested for X, let's check your DNA and see what other crimes you might have committed".

    For one thing, the NZ police don't have a long list of cases for which they have DNA evidence, but haven't found the person to test. NZ Police have a very high conviction rate in the more serious crimes. Only in very rare cases will it lead to additional convictions for unsolved crimes.

    In historical unsolved cases, police have often disposed of evidence, or the case was before it was even known that collecting DNA could be useful. Police might keep evidence for unsolved murder cases for 15 years, but after that they actually have to make choices about which cases to keep the evidence for. If there's been nothing new for 15 years, and they think it's a lost cause, they will get rid of it. Among other things, serious crimes involve a lot of evidence and take up a lot of room.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Jeez, Craig, give it a rest...

    It woudl have been seemly for the leader of the Nats and PM-to-be to have honoured the people who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    And it would be seemly for you to dismount that high horse. Send your bile to the DomPost.

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

  • Paul Williams,

    My concern with this approach is that it potentially fundamentally changes the system of criminal law. The basics require an act and a motivation, taking DNA alters this equation to include all previous acts.

    I understand the appeal, and although on the surface it seems comparatively fair that someone found guilty of a rape might then be prosecuted for otherwise unsolved rapes, but what is proposed is far beyond this.

    Therefore, I have three objections. First, the threshold is too low. An arrest is too arbitrary and individual protections against false arrest not nearly strong enough. Secondly, I would want far more qualified and experienced legal minds to examine the full impact of this apparently fundamental jurisprudential shift. Thirdly, where does this end. Let's not get too Gattaca too soon, but this is a step towards a far more pervasive (invasive?) state.

    Consider, for example, the possibility that having been arrested, but not charged, for receiving stolen goods, you have a DNA sample taken. Is it a stretch to imagine that the next time the Police discover a pawn shop in your neighbourhood has not kept a proper register, you get a knock on your door?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    So, the Prime Minister and Defence Minister attended the ceremony, while another party sent a representative? This is "deserting" how, exactly? This is about as dumb and tacky (given the events being commemorated) as the faux-controversy last year about Clark not attending a a dawn service on ANZAC Day. I think the substance gets rather lost in bickering over the form.

    Craig, spin it as you like but as the reasonably close relatived of someone who lies buried in France, I'm appalled that the PM-elect couldn't make the effort.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I've not seen the Dom but all that is really required is to observe the a moments silence at 11am on the 11th of the 11th. It would have been better to front up at the Wellington Cenotaph at the foot of Parliment Grounds to do so.

    I'm not appalled he didn't turn up but hope the moment was remebered.

    Key is about to lead the NZDF, taking ultimate responsibility for their actions and have the potential to end up in the Hague for them.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    In a speech as recently as 8 October, John Key said:

    I would like to acknowledge that on the 11th day of next month, we will be commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Armistice. This is part of our nationhood and we rely heavily on our veterans' community and, in particular, the RNZ RSA to continue to help New Zealanders to have pride in our country and in themselves.

    So I don't think that he forgot

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, spin it as you like but as the reasonably close relatived of someone who lies buried in France, I'm appalled that the PM-elect couldn't make the effort.

    Simon: So were members of Helen Clark's family (a grand-uncle, if memory serves), and this son of a 28th (Maori) Batallion veteran can't give a flying fuck at a donut that she doesn't do dawn services.

    Still, nice to see I touched a nerve somewhere. And since you and Stewart think I'm riding a "high horse", I'm on one because I spent my childhood watching my usually laid back father get rather tense around Anzac Day -- he never talked about the War, and you sure as shit didn't ask.

    I think Phil Goff in the linked story is 110% right -- not really the occasion for partisan silly-buggers, or newspapers trying to beat up a political controversy out of nothing.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    Eleanor - some more help with your 'research'.

    Cheers.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . I spent my childhood watching my usually laid back father get rather tense around Anzac Day . . .

    Like, for around six months either side of? I'd never really seen my own Dad's reticence re. the war as that much of a negative, but now you mention it, in case I ever need a wooden leg to wave . . .

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I asked my dad one day if he wanted to see Full Metal Jacket. He said something I had never noticed before, I never watch war especially anything to do with Vietnam. It certainly means many things to many people but like my man who's just no good at funerals or (now) hospitals, I think it is personal so a difficult situation to expect one to show ,although what Roger highlighted earlier really just reminds me of the way Key deals with a lot of things.

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

  • Jan Farr,

    Oh dear, another outbreak of Clinton-Palin Syndrome, whose symptoms include opportunistic and fatuous cries of "sexist" and "mysoginist" when faced with uncomfortable scrutiny. It doesn't only insult the intelligence, but it also trivialises the real challenges women face in public life. Read the Tale of The Little Shepherd Who Cried Wolf three times a day, before meals, and don't call me if symptoms persist.

    When I see the reputation of John Key, Bill English, Phil Goff or any other politician not of the female gender approached in the same disingenuous way I promise you, Craig, I will rush to their defence.

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    When I see the reputation of John Key, Bill English, Phil Goff or any other politician not of the female gender approached in the same disingenuous way I promise you, Craig, I will rush to their defence.

    Purely by way of comparison, no-one copped it quite as savagely as Benson-Pope.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Jan Farr,

    True - but I wasn't blogging then

    Carterton • Since Apr 2008 • 395 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    A bit late but regarding Tizard -

    3,695 electorate votes went to the Greens in Auckland Central which split the vote.

    Denise could be a future MP for Auckland Denise - Green candidate for AK Central

    I did hear some sugestion that failing to get Tizard in was a failure of tactical voting in Auckland Central because too many Greens voted for the Green candidate who could never win. There were plenty of grumbles from existing Labour Party voters unhappy with Tizard and her personal vote was clearly down.

    electorate results for AK Central 2008

    I also did a calculation of the party votes for Green in AK Central and it was 15.4% which wasn't a surprise but clearly some discussions between the Greens and Labour about tactics might have been useful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Jason Kemp,

    Also this post which includes Tizard regarding Internet copyright law might offer some clues


    section-92a-cut-off

    Probably been over egged on this site (s92) stupid bills/ laws do tend to annoy voters. The earlier references to this about getting into bed with big music were a bit cryptic but perhaps this closes the loop.

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, several submissions were against the termination of a person’s Internet connection based on the accusation that they might have infringed copyright.

    Not a vote winner for the weightless economy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 368 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Jason
    Thanks for that link. I'm afraid that Ms Tizard is reinventing history a bit, as the theyworkforyou.co.nz points out, as she continues to repeat the theme that the complainers were a year too late:

    There were 125 public submissions on the Copyright (New Technologies) Amendment Bill when it was before select committee.

    As has been pointed out elsewhere, several submissions were against the termination of a person’s Internet connection based on the accusation that they might have infringed copyright.

    Any vague respect engendered by the first half of her interview on bFM (which I thought was realistic and honest) was dispelled by the statements later in the piece.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    Consider, for example, the possibility that having been arrested, but not charged, for receiving stolen goods, you have a DNA sample taken. Is it a stretch to imagine that the next time the Police discover a pawn shop in your neighbourhood has not kept a proper register, you get a knock on your door?

    Well firstly if they have dna evidence that you have handled some of the goods then fair enough, they have detected prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. However in practice the cost of dna testing means it will never come up in such cases, the police will rely on the old standbys of informants and fingerprints.

    The problem with large scale population dna collection is that the idea of exactly how firm the testing is has not actually been tested other than mathematically on those scales (which relies on various assumptions). At the very least they will need to increase the number of loci they use in fingerprinting. The more sites they use the firmer the evidence that it was you, but that costs more further reducing the use of it for all but the most serious crimes.

    I'm not aware of the history and practice in NZ (having been away for too long) but here in the UK there have been a number of cases of people arrested for relatively minor offenses and been found to be responsible or wanted for rapes, murders, assaults etc.

    However as has been mentioned, the NZ police have a good record of catching serious crims, partly because NZ is a village compared to the UK. It is hard to hide in NZ and not easy to leave without detection. In the UK as a result of the poll tax there are huge numbers not registered with the authorities, add in that identity theft is rife and fairly easy and disappearing is possible. Especially if you can hop a ferry to Ireland or the Continent with such ease.

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

  • Peter Ashby,

    My concern with this approach is that it potentially fundamentally changes the system of criminal law. The basics require an act and a motivation, taking DNA alters this equation to include all previous acts.

    So does the taking of fingerprints and they do that if you are arrested even if you are not charged. These days they are digitised and will be automatically checked against the database. I do not see dna collection being fundamentally different in the respect you raise.

    There are other problems as we have been discussing, but I don't think this one flies.

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Like, for around six months either side of? I'd never really seen my own Dad's reticence re. the war as that much of a negative, but now you mention it, in case I ever need a wooden leg to wave . . .

    Joe: If you want to bitch me, come at it straight and leave my father out of it. I've been accused of making a partisan argument in bad faith. I was just pointing out that I very sincerely get pissed off by politicians -- or media outlets -- trying to score fatuous political points off ANZAC or Armistice Day commemorations because there are still quite a few people around for whom those ceremonies have very personal resonances.

    When I see the reputation of John Key, Bill English, Phil Goff or any other politician not of the female gender approached in the same disingenuous way I promise you, Craig, I will rush to their defence.

    And I disrespectfully suggest that Annette King's performance in the Justice and Police portfolios were far below the standards she set as Health Minister -- where you'd have to give her credit for being an extremely safe pair of hands in a portfolio that's always going to be something of a shit-magnet. And I'd be saying the same thing if she had a prick.

    No, I don't think Annette King is going to be any kind of "sacrificial woman". But if she doesn't lift her game significantly -- no more chuntering about a hitherto unknown "law of common sense", or holding peculiar photo ops in front of live crime scenes -- she will be sacrificed. Because of non-performance, not gender.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Joe: If you want to bitch me, come at it straight and leave my father out of it. I've been accused of making a partisan argument in bad faith. I was just pointing out that I very sincerely get pissed off by politicians -- or media outlets -- trying to score fatuous political points off ANZAC or Armistice Day commemorations because there are still quite a few people around for whom those ceremonies have very personal resonances.

    Craig: I'm right with you on the petty and demeaning pointscoring - you couldn't have made that point clearer if you'd put hyphens between the syllables of your words. So your Dad was damaged by his (presumably) WW2 service? He and practically every other member of his generation in this part of the world. Deserving of respect, sure. Using your Dad's experience as a pity-me argumentative flyswatter isn't. First you dragged the poor guy into it, next you duck behind him to cry foul. Cheap and tacky.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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