Sunday, July 19, 2015

Teina Pora: There comes a time.

As with all things there comes a time for definition, a declaration or settlement of some kind. For Teina Pora that time to me has long been passed. I need only think of now retired Detective Sergeant Keith Rutherford, a man of countenance seemingly cast from stone. Could you fool Rutherford, consider that he came down in the last shower, was gullible?

If you believed Teina Pora was guilty before knowing that when he confessed to being present at the time of the killing of Susan Burdett, or being on watch as she was raped and bashed to death,  you may not have known that he was a local in the district in which she died, but couldn't find the house where it happened or even properly describe her. Not knowing what she looked like or where she lived would make it hard to believe his story. Add to that that he was looking to be rewarded for giving information on the murder but didn't know those primary details, where the house was, her physical description - hardly small oversights on such a serious crime.

Different things about the arrest, conviction, 20 years imprisonment before the conviction being thrown out will have stuck with observers of this case. The fact that another man was convicted of raping Susan Burdett on the night she died must register high as a concern. The assumption that Christine was raped by one offender, then later murdered by another who had not raped her and didn't know her or where she lived is difficult to reconcile and is no doubt the reason some 21 years later that Pora is free and no person stands guilty as having killed her - although one is convicted of raping her makes this case extremely bizarre, possibly a world first of it's kind.

So where does the public look for such an implausible scenario to have taken flight? How could the situation be so confused that a rapist, in fact a serial rapist who used violence to the head, had raped Susan Burdett that night, and before she, still apparently alive according to the rapist in his own evidence, and to Steve Rutherford who brought the case to the Courts - hadn't rung the police, a friend or neighbour or simply run from the house to seek help before she was killed by another random stranger?

Well of course the situation was never that confused because the rapist Malcom Rewa killed Susan Burdett. What Pora did was get picked up for another alleged petty crime and decided to buy his way out of it and gain the reward posted for Susan's death. The minute Pora, a boy at the time by definition of the Law, couldn't point out the details of the crime scene or details of the victim his opportunity was spent, at least to any reasonable person with an average ability in deduction. It was over - Pora was a bull crapper, opportunist and time waster. The problem was, the vastly experienced Rutherford, although he clearly knew crap when he smelt it, was so willing to imbibe Pora's lies. He had the opportunity, manufactured by him many would say, to solve a high interest murder case. One can only imagine how he may have reconciled such clear ambiguities other than having been desperate for an arrest.

If that was the case with Steve Rutherford, and there is little evidence to suggest otherwise, it becomes very interesting as to what he may have been thinking, if at all, about the consequences for the illiterate boy of subdued intelligence he would inevitably be sending to prison.

That's what many will find stunning about this case. How an experienced detective sergeant could turn off his bull crap sensor, his deduction powers, but mostly his humanity and be willing to see a young boy go to prison for a crime he clearly did not commit. This is the mystery that surrounds those falsely imprisoned, the justification or plain lack of concern of those police who plant evidence against the falsely accused, hide evidence tending to exculpate them over a period of time, even come to hate them. Why Rutherford didn't simply give the young Pora a cuff around the ear because he was clearly lying is something only Rutherford knows. Observers will have their own ideas or observations as to what makes a heart grow so cold, if in fact it was not already cold, that allows men, and sometimes women, to forget their moral code and sworn duty, to become so distant from what is right and charge others for a crime they at best can only 'think' the person may have committed.

But there is clearly another part to this phenomena, not only the compliance of those with oversight of the case, but how clear headedness is substituted with hate by the framer for he or she they target. Human characteristic is the need to justify what is plainly wrong as being right in some circumstances. Did Rutherford or others in his situation simply see the opportunity to solve a murder and let nothing else get in the way? It might well be that, but there is also another common factor: the justification in the framer's mind, he or she must dispose of contemporary belief of right or wrong and convince themselves with justification that time will eventually desert. It seems to me that must be driven by hate or something very similar to it, if the framer can bring themselves to hate their target, or hate what they represent, or what class or type they appear to be then they have extracted noble cause. If Rutherford thought that Pora was a no hoper, thieving bastard from a bad family, he could for instance have considered that it was better that Pora was in prison even if his recall of the murder and its details would set alarm bells ringing for any person, let alone an experienced homicide detective. If that is indeed the streets of thought that Rutherford entered, then he did so with confidence. Could he have known that every Court in NZ that the case was appealed to would act without concern  for the details that are now so stark about the Pora case. Doubtful of course, but is there where the problem lies.

The Courts lost touch with Pora case as they did with that of Watson and Bain, all around the same time, the Court of Appeal in particular. Not one of those grey men or women spoke to the others on the bench on which they served and expressed doubt. Not one said they had misgivings because of the way Pora was questioned, denied a lawyer, that he was underage or most importantly that he was significantly wrong about specific details of the case in his 'confession.' Even at the Privy Council it was a close run thing and primarily turned on that Court's acceptance of a lifelong medical condition that Pora has from his mother drinking heavily before he was born.

In his recent interview and to my surprise, as possibly it would be also for those that were on the bench of the PC, Pora revealed that he recalls every conversation he had at the time of his video interviews, including which was said to him by police between those interviews. The public of NZ have a right to know what was said to Pora at that time in order that there may be some further understanding as to what happened to him, how and why. That time has come. Perhaps we will finally hear after his 'application' for compensation is decided, the laborious and visionless probe by those that falsely imprisoned him into his guilt. That story deserves its place in history alongside how a man was imprisoned for a false confession and then refused parole for not admitting his guilt.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Robin Bain: If the sock print fits.


For years the Crown held what they claimed was an ace card in the false prosecution of David Bain  that he had killed his entire family: bloody footprints throughout the murder scene which were said to be David's but which were ultimately proven to belong to his father Robin. The 'ace' proved to be a major reason for the 'house of cards' Crown case which collapsed against David at his retrial. Suddenly, what had been described as 'full prints' at the murder scene in the first trial needed to be made bigger at the retrial because they plainly were not David's. Additionally, the very basic fact that a 'walking' print was larger (as opposed to smaller) than a stationary print completely removed the possibility of any of the prints being found in the scene belonging to anyone but Robin.

Ordinarily that would be enough, but because the Crown and supporters of the memory of the late Robin Bain are nothing if not desperate to show that despite all the odds, and a hefty majority of polled public opinion accepting David's innocence, not only do they need argue that the prints that once were complete are in fact not complete, they also need to claim that the tests applied to prints made by David in a laboratory situation were manipulated because the scientist, Dr Anna Sandiford, conducting the tests thought that David was a 'nice boy' after meeting him. Whilst those Robin supporters, Ralph Taylor a veteran hate-siter from Counterspin (the site found to have defamed Joe Karam and others), and a second supporter Dennis Horne (best known for crash landing his plane twice in a short time, the second time when unable to appreciate that water is not dry land and certainly not a surface that a plane can use as a runway) have obviously convinced themselves that proving Robin's innocence is simply a matter of singing mantras and accusing scientists, Judges, Lawyers and specialist investigators as either corrupt, crazy or plain dumb.

How does one combat absolute nutters prepared to say anything, who started with the over powering belief (to their minds) that 'right thinking' New Zealanders knew that David was guilty and Robin was innocent.  Those who denied that Robin's dna was found deep inside the rifle, vacuumed in by atmospheric pressure from an upward contact suicide shot rebalancing the barrel to atmospheric pressure after the bullet discharge, who also denied that David had been strip searched before caving in to over whelming evidence otherwise and 'adjusting' the story to David being the subject of a 'medical examination' noting every part of his body but from behind a blanket, a preposterous stretch of reality to anyone but the bewildered Robin supporters. I recall describing  that claim as the 'dance of the seven blankets' to the hate-siters who clearly seem aroused by the idea of strip searches, naked men and animals.

Well there is no way to combat the nutters because they will merely fabricate something as stupid as above where I pointed out that Horne and Taylor 'negated' scientific evidence as being the work of someone who thought David was a 'nice boy.' However, and of course, the task ahead of David Bain is far less reliant on needing to overcome the bizarre rants of some very twisted sisters who inhabit the twilight world of the hate-sites, but rather to build upon the general acceptance that David Bain is innocent, found not guilty by a Jury, later supported by an independent audit of the case by Ian Binnie QC who confirmed the Jury's finding on the balance of probabilities - which included the footprint evidence of Dr Sandiford but which however was unable to take into account the endorsement for Sandiford's findings shown in the photos above.

The print to the left is a laboratory print from the foot of David Bain, the other is print lifted from the murder scene. Both prints have been brought to scale, that is to a common size in order to observe if in fact they were made by the same foot. Look at the 2 for differences which to my untrained eye are extremely obvious, I will come back to this later because the door before any reader at this point must be identified.

The Crown case against David Bain has been disassembled. In my opinion it began with Joe Karam questioning the finding of a lens in the room of Stephen Bain by a now ex police officer Milton Weir who wasn't tasked with the job, he 'found' the lens 'after hours' despite the room having been methodically searched by other officers previously. This was the same Milton Weir who knew the lens didn't come from the glasses of David Bain but who was 'happy' for evidence to be given at the trial that the lens was David's. False evidence which impacted upon the credibility of  David who was forced to tell the Jury that it was not a lens from his glasses against a false claim by the Crown that they were. Since then there have been further discoveries - that 'scratch' said to be on David's chest and therefore proof of his being in a fight with Stephen was not noted in the strip search conducted by the Police Doctor hours after the murders,  because it wasn't there. Also significantly, previously ignored by Martin van Beynen, a reporter self described as an 'expert' on the Bain case, along with the strip search was that Robin's dna was found in the rifle clearly indicating by accepted scientific research an upward contact shot to Robin's head indicating by a massive scientific probability of over 90% that it was a suicide shot. These were things which the public did not know and which only began to come to light after the Privy Council hearing which found that David's conviction was an actual miscarriage of Justice.

If  van beynen ever publicly discloses why he left out significant information and other critical information pointing to David's evidence from his 'court reports' he may also tell the public why he was involved with the hate-siters in a campaign against jurors from David's successful retrial which resulted in he, van beynen, being ordered to stop harassing a jury member at a time when the hate-siters were 'tracking down' jurors in order to expose them as having corrupted the not guilty verdict in someway. So here describes the door, that which leads to stage 2 of the Bain case, the point where those whose evidence and findings supporting David's innocence have entered following the rejection of a past Minister of Justice of an independent inquiry seeking to Judge David's innocence on the balance of probabilities.

When the evidence of Anna Sandiford, David Giles (who located in a photograph evidence of a mark on Robin's thumb that match the lips of  the rifle's magazine, distinct because of a curve - showing that Robin had highly probably loaded the rifle which was used in his death), and others including the report's author an international Jurist of high standing there was only going to be one reaction, that was this was the new doorway leading to the triumph of science over the black arts of rumour, secrecy and deceit. Binnie's report had been observed in a further report by David Fisher QC (called into help an irate Minister of Justice demonstrating that her bias was all consuming) to likely have been benefitted from a Bayesian test of key evidence - something Binnie had already clearly done, but which has since been achieved in an international peer reviewed published paper that indicates, having used the Bayesian method indicating a probability of above 97% that Robin Bain suicided. These are professional people, experts in their fields who had been rebuffed by a non practising lawyer who aspired by public opinion and 'tough' image to be Prime Minister of the Country, someone who may have felt it important to curry favour with Crown Law and the police. The ex Minister Judith Collins had misjudged the fight, this was not a skirmish where might is right, this was a test of the truth and those I loosely call the scientists and professionals were more than up to the task shorn of political ambition or the hope of winning favour.

Whilst a new application is underway by the Bain team for compensation for David having spent nearly 15 years in prison on fabricated and hidden evidence the public can indeed look forward to an even clearer picture emerging as to the innocence of David Bain, ironically, one could say, that relies on photos and other evidence formally overlooked or left unconnected to the importance of the truth. One such photo is on the right above, I understand never put into evidence, and much like the photos discovered in an audit by the Crown Pathologist Doctor Dempster before the retrial that showed Robin Bain died with smears of blood on his palms. What the photo shows when compared to the photo of the left of David's footprint is that it is not made by the same foot. Going back to the question for both of David's juries 'was it Robin or was it David,' the photo tells us that indeed it was Robin who left bloody footprints throughout the murder scene.

Some readers will have already seen that the 'shape' of the two feet is characteristically different, in fact when brought to scale Robin's print is unable to be kept within the two yellow lines drawn parallel to the print of David's foot. I would argue this evidence alone proves David's innocence, the bloody prints were not made by him, the shape of a foot does not change, while it will extend through walking through a shift of weight th ankle does not somehow disconnect allowing the feet bones to form into a fresh shape only to then 'return' to it's original shape. If anyone wants to reconfigure the heel of Robin's foot print back between the yellow lines they will find, that the 'realignment' causes the toes outside the yellow lines. A foot simply has no significant sideways flexibility, that movement is relied upon by the flexibility of the ankle, the foot itself does not change shape, of course neither do the shape of prints.

Whether this aspect of the 'bloody' footprints is further analysed in the new bid for compensation remains to be seen but one thing it clearly shows if it is produced it will be rebuffed by the Crown in some way, scorned by the sisters as the work of someone who 'liked' David, or other similar, unscientific nonsense. Such reactions to this type of new evidence in the Bain case - show that the Crown are sudden 'experts' on evidence they were not capable of finding in 2 decades and underlines the reason why miscarriages of Justice occur in NZ, it's one thing to be wrong but apparently an impossibility to admit being so. Millions and millions of dollars later, and another photo from the Crown's own files that show they were wrong, absolutely wrong and won't admit it.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bruce Hutton: consumed by noble cause?

This article in today's Herald begins with: History has remembered Detective Chief Inspector Bruce Hutton as the police officer involved in planting the bullet casings which saw Arthur Thomas convicted of murdering Jeannette and Harvey Crewe. In the Hutton family’s first ever interview, his daughters tell David Fisher they remember a different man - one who would never plant evidence.

 The full interview (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11456904) is well worth reading despite that it faces the predictable assumptions that the late Hutton's daughters would hardly likely take a position against their father, nor indeed could it possibly solve the central question of not 'if' but 'who' planted the cartridge shell central to the false conviction of Arthur Thomas. Of course it is apparent that no one has ever suggested that anyone other than police investigating the Crewe murders could have planted the spent case. On the other hand the interview is very revealing about the mind set of Bruce Hutton. In the first paragraph, perhaps to show the kindness of Hutton, it is revealed that BH (Bruch Hutton) took home the Crewe family cat which he 'believed' had been sitting on the lap of Jeanette Crewe when she was shot. His daughters spoke about his engaging with the cat by expressing that he wished the cat could talk - hence revealing what BH went to his grave never knowing for certain, who had killed the Crewes. Fisher says this story bleeds colour into the black and white history of Bruce Hutton. Indeed, I think it does. Even in the 1970s the RSPCA rehomed cats, that a detective would take home the cat and wish aloud that it could talk - does indeed bleed colour. Equally, that BH apparently openly discussed details of a confidential murder inquiry (at that point not solved, and indeed never solved) with his family is a surprise. Erin O'Neil one of BH's 3 daughters says that the details of the cat that it drove their mother up the wall and that she though it to be a bit 'spooky.'

Another daughter Mrs Townsend is quoted as saying that as BH became the villain of the piece after Arthur Thomas pardon a point was reached where 'enough' was 'enough.' Mrs O'Neil reveals that BC warned them not to talk to the press because it didn't work because they didn't stop. An insightful revelation that BH was of a mind that the press were not compliant and talking to them didn't work because they didn't stop. Fair enough, but still overlooking the reason why the press have never stopped reporting on the Crewe murders because what they heard, and indeed were 'told' by BH, 'didn't work' because it was not plausible and it left the public doubts which continue today. Reading that it was hard not to imagine a cross individual telling the press something which may have been difficult to believe, and which certainly did not fill the gaps missing in a narrative - becoming angry because he was not instantly believed, or in some respects never believed.

As the interview deepens so does revelations of the mindset of BC '"As far as Dad was concerned, once it had got to court it was up to them. That was his faith in the justice system." If someone went through the courts and was freed at the end, Mr Hutton told Ms O'Neill: "You just wait for them to come around again," his daughters said. Of course possibly not realising that BC's faith in the justice system was that the system would see that he was right, and if it didn't he would 'wait for them to come around again.' In other words BH could not consider that he was wrong, if an accused was discharged he would take the opportunity 'for them to come around again' to prove, one assumes, once and for all that he was right. In the short quote about faith in the justice system, it shows no faith at all in my mind. In fact it shows somebody that is certain he is right and that there is no alternative, additionally that if the 'system' fails to recognise he is right - that he will wait for the opportunity to show them they are wrong.

There will be those reading this who could willingly accept that police in general do leave things up to the Courts. That is after all their job, to collect evidence and bring charges where evidence is of level that it could be concluded a person is guilty of a crime. However few would accept that it is also the police's job to invest in being right, to lose objectivity and not accept due process. From what BC's daughters have said, BH didn't have objectivity. Despite that he could never prove who killed the Crewes he apparently went to the grave 'knowing' who did taken from this comment in the article where BH tells another detective inquiring recently into the case - "No, I've got my man." Until the day he died, he would say to Ms Townsend: "That's all right. I've got to meet my maker. So does he."

It appeared in later life that BH was still consumed by the case in a manner inconsistent with his own claim of having faith in the justice system, by then however he was relying on the judgement of his 'maker' in a Court which for many in these times doesn't exist. So despite the colour being let into a 'black and white history' as Fisher calls it, a picture that remains black and white is still seen. BH was entirely clear that he was right, it was black and white apparently in his mind. For someone interested in these controversial cases it would not be unusual to anticipate that BH confirmed for many others his utter belief in being wrong. However, taking into account the uncompromising belief in being right would give concern. In reality the facts of the Crewe case are well known, that BH was the chief investigator is also well known, that he put all his evidence (yes, which must include planted evidence to be accurate) but failed to prove that he was right. That is nothing to do with the press, an ex Prime Minister Robert Muldoon pardoning the man BH was confident would also 'meet his maker', a Royal Commission and public opinion it is do with factual evidence and disquiet about the method used to convict Thomas twice using that planted evidence. I've used the term 'noble cause' in the title of this blog, while something of a cliché used to describe a general belief of why some police choose to plant evidence that means they have decided that the accused/suspect guilty, that is, know he or she is guilty and that to assist the 'system' planting evidence is needed to gain a conviction and avoid the possibility of having to wait until the person 'comes around again.'

I should point out here that when BH spoke about the coming 'around again,' Arthur Thomas was a man without any convictions, not a recidivist burglar or robber, but a farmer who for all intents and purposes has led a blameless life. So if BH was one of those police that pursued 'noble cause' thinking he wasn't starting from a position with a known criminal who had convictions but in a 'clean skin' who had once..., yes, given Jeanette Crewe a present years before they were both married.

More is revealed in the article about 'black and white' where a daughter reveals the following: Next door to their home in West Auckland there was an orchard. Other children in the neighbourhood enjoyed its bounty but the Hutton girls knew the fruit belonged to those who grew it. "That's how we were brought up. It was black and white. It was wrong or it was right. If it's not yours, it's not yours to take." BH was very firm in his thinking, there was no colour apparently, things indeed were black and white. He convinced himself that Thomas was guilty and that was the end of the matter,  what hasn't ended however is that a Royal Commission, along with a majority of the population are convinced that somewhere during BH's crusade to prove himself right, someone on the inquiry team planted a cartridge case fortunately unaware that the it could later be proven that the cartridge case had not been manufactured at the time of the Crewe murders. That BH made no effort to get to the bottom of that crime, the planting of evidence on his watch, along with never properly investigating 2 suspects, one arguably the killer and the other later claimed to be at least an accomplice after the fact was, to again use the phrase 'black and white' confirmation that in his mind there was only one conclusion, that was his conclusion and those not agreeing with him would meet 'their maker.'

Sadly, the interview touches upon the fact that BH kept a photo of orphaned child of the late Crewes, Rochelle on his wall. His daughters point to this as further proof either that their father was right or to give a view of his compassion. What the public know about Rochelle is that she had sought the most recent inquiry into the investigation of the killing of her parents, an investigation that has resulted in confirmation that Thomas should not have been charged and the cartridge was planted more than likely by police. It was she who could not accept black and white, or tunnel vision, she didn't accept the opinions of others forced upon her but rather to arrive at her own with all the information that should have been investigated and considered under Hutton's watch.

The full article follows......
Daughters Gail Townsend (left), and Erin O'Neil, and grand-daughter Mary O'Neil remember Detective Chief Inspector Bruce Hutton as an honest man. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Daughters Gail Townsend (left), and Erin O'Neil, and grand-daughter Mary O'Neil remember Detective Chief Inspector Bruce Hutton as an honest man. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The Crewes' family cat came home with Detective Chief Inspector Bruce Hutton. It was called Rasty.
While living in the Pukekawa house where her parents were later murdered, Rochelle Crewe would have tested Rasty's patience in the way all toddlers do with cats.
As Rochelle slept, Rasty apparently did what cats do on wintery nights. Witnesses told Mr Hutton how he would curl up on Jeannette Crewe's lap as she knitted on the sofa in front of the fire. He was there, Mr Hutton always thought, when Harvey Crewe's brains were blown out on June 17, 1970.
The cat moped around after Mr Hutton at the murder scene until the detective took pity and adopted her. At night, after 18 hour-long days leading the murder investigation, he would sit and consider Rasty.
"By God I wish you could talk," he would say.
"It drove mum up the wall," recalls Erin O'Neill, one of Mr Hutton's three daughters.
"She thought it was a bit spooky."
It's a story that bleeds colour into the black-and-white portrait that history has created of Mr Hutton.
When he died in March 2013, it was 43 years since he took up leadership of the investigation into the murder of the Crewes. It was a case which would polarise the nation - not least because of the rise of Mr Hutton in the public's eyes as a key suspect in planting evidence on which Arthur Thomas was convicted. Mr Thomas was eventually pardoned but Mr Hutton's stature as the villain of the piece grew.
That's not the man he was, say his daughters Erin O'Neill (58), Christine Watson (63) and Gail Townsend (65).
Ms Townsend: "There comes a point where enough is enough."
Ms O'Neill: "Dad always said to us 'you don't talk to the press'. You know what? It doesn't work because they don't stop."
This might be the first time Mr Hutton's daughters have deliberately gone against his wishes.
Planting evidence?
"Dad wouldn't sell his soul for his job," says Ms O'Neill. "He was a very, very proud man. To cheat? He would not have got any satisfaction with that, when you know the sort of person he was.
"As far as Dad was concerned, once it had got to court it was up to them. That was his faith in the justice system." If someone went through the courts and was freed at the end, Mr Hutton told Ms O'Neill: "You just wait for them to come around again."
Bruce Hutton grew up outside Dargaville in a family with 21 children. His father had fought in the Boer War aged 17 and then been gassed in World War One. Mr Hutton left school aged 12, tried the army then - aged 17 himself - joined the police. He left for a period, then married and joined up again as he and wife Dorothy started raising their family.
Next door to their home in West Auckland there was an orchard. Other children in the neighbourhood enjoyed its bounty but the Hutton girls knew the fruit belonged to those who grew it. "That's how we were brought up. It was black and white. It was wrong or it was right. If it's not yours, it's not yours to take."
Ms Townsend remembers, at age 7, taking a packet of chewing gum from the local dairy. Mr Hutton smelled it on her breath and took her straight back to the store. "I had to work for them for a month without pay."
On a walk to the dairy, aged 9, Ms O'Neill found a handbag in a call box. She took it home and her father returned it to its owner who offered Ms O'Neill a 10 shilling reward. "No," said Mr Hutton. "She doesn't have that. She's only returning what's rightfully yours."
He instilled a regimented approach to life which saw shoes shining, discipline prized and a diligent rigour applied to all endeavours. His vegetable garden had dead-straight, immaculately-weeded rows and Mr Hutton's girls grew a little that way too - protected surrounds, environmentally safe. He made it clear, some boys - like unwelcome weeds - would not be tolerated.
For all apparent rigidity, Mr Hutton loved Christmas and as Father Christmas would sneak about the night before. Mrs Hutton would make Christmas cakes he would take to the prison. Ms Townsend: "Mum would say 'do I have to ice them or decorate them' and Dad would say 'how would you like to sit in a cold grey cell and have Christmas'."
They remember him as a fiercely intelligent man who shaved in the morning, singing loudly in Latin, and once had an ambition to be a surgeon at a time when university required resources far beyond the means of the sprawling family in which he was raised.
Once he left the house, he was a police officer. He worked hard, studied hard and rose through the ranks. He wasn't a talker. "He would listen and observe and when he spoke he would have weighed everything up," said Ms Townsend. "Dad would never arrest unless he was 100 per cent. He would tell me, 'you don't play with people's lives'."
This was the man who went to investigate the double murder at Pukekawa.
Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton, leading the police investigation, wrestles with a fresh problem as he leaves the Crewe homestead. Photo / NZ Herald Archive
Detective Inspector Bruce Hutton, leading the police investigation, wrestles with a fresh problem as he leaves the Crewe homestead. Photo / NZ Herald Archive
The daughters remember clearly the time following the murders. There was the heavy rain one August morning, recalls Ms O'Neill. Mr Hutton, pondering the downpour, said: "When you have rain like this, you never know what it's going to bring up." Jeannette Harvey's body emerged at Devil's Elbow in the Waikato River.
It was the first indication, she says, of a gun having been g used to kill the couple. The bloodshed in the house had sent the detectives down another track. "All they knew was they were looking for a machete," she says. "This is why they weren't looking for a cartridge case."
The daughters recall the genuine, intense concern Mr Hutton had during the time after the inquiry about some of those campaigning to free Thomas. Ms Townsend remembers her father's fear that his family would be targeted, and how she moved, married with two children, back into her parents' police house in Mangere in response to a perceived need for protection.
Mr Hutton came in the front door one night in a flurry, having driven past the family home and seen a blind a few inches above the sill. Inside, stark against the light of the room, were the necklines of family members above the couch nearest the window. To Mr Hutton they looked like targets. He insisted the family kill the lights and go to bed.
Personnel records released to the Herald through the Official Information Act show in 1973, then-Commissioner Sir Angus Sharp describing the Crewe inquiry as "one of the most involved ever undertaken by the police in New Zealand".
Mr Hutton was awarded a Certificate of Merit, with Sir Angus noting that "his devotion to duty over many years is well known and the diligence and zeal he showed in this case deserve special commendation".
"We never envisioned what happened after Dad died"
Along the way, Mr Hutton had found new love with Mary Plumley and he left the family home. He also left the police. A few years later, Mr Thomas was pardoned. From that time, Mr Hutton refused the National Party permission to erect its election billboards on the farm he owned in Mangere.
Life after the police was one of horse breeding and racing. "I think he missed [policing]," says Ms O'Neill. It did remain a significant part of his life. He sponsored a running trophy in Waitemata police district and would present the Hutton Cup annually.
Mary Hutton died of a heart attack on the Coromandel Peninsula and Mr Hutton later married for a third time, to Ivy, who survives him.
In his later years, Rochelle Crewe came forward asking Prime Minister John Key to reopen the case. For years, her photograph had hung on the wall in the Hutton home. Mr Hutton stayed in touch, through her caregivers, for years, and would have been saddened that the victims had taken a back seat to other controversies. "Through all of this, they have been forgotten. That's what dad didn't want," says Ms O'Neill.
Detective Inspector Andrew Lovelock, who led the review into the Crewe murders, visited Mr Hutton. Ms Townsend was told by her father that the questions focused on "regrets" and "if there was anything they could have done differently".
Mr Hutton told Mr Lovelock: "No, I've got my man." Until the day he died, he would say to Ms Townsend: "That's all right. I've got to meet my maker. So does he."
When Mr Hutton did go, in March 2013, the family felt the two-dimensional demonisation of him, which had bubbled along for decades, boiled over. They were exposed to a fierce public debate.
"We never envisioned what happened after Dad died," says Ms O'Neill. The eulogy at the funeral from now-Commissioner Mike Bush created a frenzy. "You couldn't mourn. You found out who your friends are and who you don't want to be bothered with anymore."
And then, in July 2014, came the findings of the review. It didn't support Mr Hutton's determined, 43-year long stance on Mr Thomas though it found significant evidence led back to the Thomas farm. Others should have have been investigated, it said, and the charge against Mr Thomas could not be sustained.
The police also finally conceded the cartridge was probably planted and, if so, by a police officer. Though the review levelled no charges against their former colleague, an independent review from David Jones QC said Mr Hutton should have been charged.
"It's like a knife going in," says Ms O'Neill. "It's like there is always something else.
When Ms O'Neill was told by police the Herald had sought her father's personnel file through the Official Information Act she sat down one evening - having talked to her sisters and mother - and emailed about the tragic "slandering of a man who served his country honestly and who believed in the justice system".
Now, 45 years after the murder of the Crewes, they have had their say. And there may yet be more to say.
"There's not many books written from the other side," says Ms O'Neill. "There will be a book written - it's already been started."
One day, she says, those who accused her father so strongly will die. One day she will be liberated, as others were when Mr Hutton died. "What has happened to Dad can happen to them too. I can say what I like."
Children love their parents, daughters believe their fathers - would you have the perspective to see clearly?
"Yes, because of the way he has raised us. It's injustice. And because justice has been such a part of our upbringing, it's the injustice that eats at you."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Teina Pora - back from the abyss.

I watched TV3 tonight to watch the half hour show on the now free Teina Pora. After 22 years of false imprisonment he exposed what few people would have considered. That after his 22 years inside for a crime he didn't commit his keepers (the state) simply walked away from him. No apparent concern about how the 22 years might have affected him, how he would adjust to his new found freedom, find employment, re-establish himself, according to him nothing, zilch. He is to find his own way, the state pays him no regard, does not automatically compensate him but instead places hurdles before him which he must jump to hold them accountable. He is persona non grata, an unwelcome stranger to a system that took from him 22 years of his life. Now the country will speculate on whether he should be compensated for being falsely imprisoned, weigh whether his now broadly accepted false confession as a child held in police custody without legal help justified his false imprisonment. Pora's case is an example of why compensation should be automatic, to show that a just system recognises its failures and does not expect a falsely imprisoned person to come back pleading a case for help. If what happened to Teina is disgusting enough, then the process by which he is expected to prove he should be compensated is equally or even more cruel.

But the man, to at least my surprise, rises above the system that seeks now to ignore him. He spoke of where his priorities lie - his daughter and grandson, of forgiveness, of wanting an apology and to ensure the futures of those closest to him. He shows how surprising life can be, that a public portrait painted by snippets of information, contempt and concern can at times be completely wrong, because Teina has not emerged a bitter man but as someone content within himself. He has a difficult road ahead of him with some hoping that he fails and reveals that the police in some way were right all the way along - that even if Teina didn't kill Susan Burdett he is a bad bugger and should have been in prison anyway.

New Zealand should be indebted to Teina Pora not only because of the way the Justice System stole 22 years of his life and now chooses to ignore him apart from some cumbersome process to which he must submit cap in hand, but because of his dignity that the system could never rob from him but which he kept intact and build upon as a lesson of right over wrong.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lundy - 2 unfair trials?

When I read parts of the Crown's closing address in the Lundy retrial I was troubled. The Prosecution closing address was heralded as 'brilliant' or similar by Steve Braunius of the NZ Herald. He had reported on the trial from day one and wrote that the closing was something of a surprise package, he would later write after the verdict that he thought Lundy was innocent. That caused me to think of what a closing address actually is in reality. In theory it is surely a summation of facts and circumstantial evidence with a cross to reasonable speculation built from those facts. Fair enough really, apart from the fact that in the Lundy retrial the brilliance of the closing was speculation based on speculation rather than fact. What the Crown had needed to bring to the trial was clear, and undeniable evidence beyond reasonable doubt that material found on Lundy's shirt was the DNA of his wife. They couldn't do that, so they weaved a picture instead, a mirage.

First of all there is clearly still a defence for Lundy if  such DNA had been found on his shirt. However, all that I heard or read was that material found on his shirt was claimed by prosecution experts  to have been Christine's DNA with defence experts saying that it categorically wasn't Christine's DNA or that it wasn't conclusively proven by the Crown (or the experts called by the Crown) testing procedures, to be her DNA. Before going on this is a suitable time to recall that Mark Lundy had been given a retrial partly on the basis of a hidden opinion by a Crown advisor of his expert view that the DNA was too degraded to be reliably relied upon to maintain a conviction against Lundy. Accordingly, the Crown were tasked with accepting that view and either deciding not to hold a retrial or find 'fresh' evidence proving the NZ pathologist was wrong whilst the American scientist whose evidence the ultimately relied upon was right. By finally deciding on a retrial they needed to find someone who could take the material into 'safe' territory as something that could be relied on to give a reliable testing result. By all accounts, having chosen the retrial, they didn't manage to get a universally reliable testing result using peer reviewed methods. More about this later, in the meantime back to that closing.

Had there been an absence of any concerns about the validity of opinions regarding the claim that Lundy was found to have his wife's DNA on his shirt I don't think there is any argument that the closing was appropriately able to make purchase of that as a fact. However, no such unequivocal facts exist. What does exist are certain claims and counter claims. I have to ask myself how the hell does the Prosecutor get away with such mesmerising mantras as to the effect of 'he [Lundy] had no business having his wife's DNA on his shirt.' Is there an assumption abroad in the NZ Judiciary that it is all right for a Lawyer to summarise a case to a Jury without the normal qualifications that Lawyers are usually most careful to employ, as looks the case here? Of course 'may have been' or 'you might think having heard the witnesses' is a far less compelling narrative, but in the Lundy case correct because it avoids confusion, it extends doubt where doubt actually exists. I seem to recall evidence that the DNA may have been animal DNA if DNA at all.

So where is the line that the Prosecution appear to have breached? Now that the case is under appeal I look forward to perhaps seeing that line tested. If there were ever a case when a Judge should have insisted on a Prosecution closing being based solely on fact, rather than speculative extensions built from uncertain forensics, Lundy surely should have been that case. After 14 years or so there is no conclusive proof that Lundy had his wife's DNA on his shirt, not conclusive beyond reasonable doubt according to Dr Stephen Bustin called by the defence whose article "The MIQE Guidelines: Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments" has been cited over 3000 times.

Below there is a comment from where I have gathered "The MIQE Guidelines: Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments" from Chris Halkides on another post here which refers to the Lundy case. A click on Chris Halkides name reveals his professional interests in reviewing the credentials of Dr Stephen Bustin as a defence witness. This adds to the disquiet about the Lundy closing and verdict. Quite clearly is shows that Dr Bustin, a leader in his field, would never go where the Prosecutor went with his story, because it was a hopeful explanation that could convince a Jury of something that was doubtful. The Prosecutor said unequivocally that it was Christine's DNA yet a leading researcher whose publication on real time experiments, that has been referenced over 3000 times, could not agree with the test methods relied upon by the Prosecutor's witnesses and consequently the results which the Prosecutor, wrongfully it may be argued on Appeal, was claimed to be conclusive by the Crown. It was never conclusive, not in the first trial and not in the second so how was Lundy given a 'fair' trial when the Judge allowed the Crown to close using speculation based on speculation and not fact. It's not fair in my opinion and touches upon a grey area in our system where reality can depart and be replaced by fiction. It is a fiction that the DNA found on Lundy's shirt was proven to be his wife's DNA. It will also be a fiction if the Court of Appeal 'place' themselves in the mind of Juror's and determine that the Jury having 'heard all the evidence and counter evidence, having been warned by the Judge about [opinion] evidence to use their common sense when addressing its value either for the Crown case, or against it' were the Judges of those sole 'facts.' First of all they weren't facts and secondly therefore, the Prosecutor ought not have been allowed to set them out as facts. This grey area of 'Juror's mind' is a modern day witch craft, if some of the Jurors were capable of distinguishing theory from facts there is no test that allows a conclusion that there were some who were not - and that therefore to avoid the 'grey' the Judge should not have allowed the Prosecution to claim that it was 'Christine's DNA' only that the Crown had opinions that it was.

Obviously the qualifications would have weakened the force of the 'brilliant' closing, however, would have left little room for doubt as to what any Juror 'might' have thought. Relying on that to be spelt out by the Judge later, was not only too late, but too dangerous. Am I being too cautious? I don't think so, I wanted  to see a fair trial - Lundy was entitled to it by Law. Were opinions sent abroad from the Courts through media and other snippets that Lundy had his wife's DNA on his shirt? They were, and I know that having read the subject on Kiwi Blog, letters to the editor, and even reports of it having been spoken about on talkback radio - Lundy had his wife's DNA on his shirt, end of story.

So the 'fact' is deeply within the public mind but who knows to what extent, (and that is the question for the COA if this is a point on appeal,) whether or not it was challenged by the Defence at the time or rebutted in the Defence's own closing - the extent of the damage to a fair trial cannot be known, nor can how deeply planted the Prosecutor's mantra was in the Jury's mind, or that of some Jurors. It was speculation based on opinion that was divided that the matter was DNA at all, let alone belonging to Christine,  further speculation by the COA as to the affect is arguably improper. As I referred earlier, in the wider picture should the Crown be able to cite as facts things which are not conclusive at any time - or more particular in support of a very weak case. No, a 1000 times no. The Prosecution can use what they have honestly, not repeat something over and over to a Jury painting a picture using paint that 'may' exist but which can brought to life with brilliant oratory to a Jury whose capacity of differentiating 'fact' from 'speculation' can only be unknown.

Just as an aside here and given thought whilst pondering great oratory, Peter Williams QC, now in fact Sir Peter Williams QC, fairly regarded as a brilliant legal strategist and orator, interesting to consider that had he been involved in Lundy's defence he may well have objected loudly and in front of the Jury, as well as in chambers, that the Prosecution were trying to take advantage of conclusive evidence that didn't exist, and continued to do so each time the Prosecutor made the claim about the DNA again, and again, in his closing. I also 'speculate' (because this is not fact, but rather an attempt to show the damage that can be caused by a Court remaining passive, assuming the thoughts, prejudices, biases or comprehension capacities of Jurors and how that might be corrected in summing up) that Sir Peter might also have argued strongly in his closing that the Crown wanted the Jury to believe something which the Crown had not proved, and they did that to show that Mark Lundy could have killed his own beautiful daughter whom the Jury had heard he loved deeply. On return of a guilty verdict he may have asked to poll the Jury (if such is still allowed) or even asked them if they accepted as 'fact' that there was conclusive evidence of Christine's DNA having been found on Lundy's shirt.

Of course these speculative comments about William's approach, had he been involved, are an speculative illustration of what can happen when opinion is allowed to be confused with fact, despite the way it may be attempted to be put back in order later. More is needed from the Courts, more was needed from the Court in the Lundy case. The Prosecutor should not have been allowed to speculate on speculation - it was too damn dangerous. Something else that lingers about the Jury trial are the relatively common 'guesstimates' that NZ scientists give in evidence at times. From memory in the Lundy trial one expert gave evidence that the DNA was 4million times 'more likely' to have come from Christine that any other person. Well, I've worked out some similar arithmetic that the particular scientist was 4 million more times likely to be wrong if he or she calculated such resolutions not using peer reviewed methods.

Remember also, the NZ pathologists who said the DNA was too degraded to be relied upon and whose opinion was withheld, wrongly by the Prosecution in the first trial - not only was his opinion not put the Jury, or revealed to the Defence - but the Prosecution went onto 'find' a scientist who would say that it was Christine's DNA using a method which was not reviewed at all by his peers at the time, let alone accepted. Trial 2 arrives and the Prosecution forensic witnesses are at loggerheads with the views of an peer accepted expert's opinion who said that he would be very reluctant to accept the RNA work against Lundy if it was offered for publication.

I freely admit that I have the scantest ability to clearly follow the testing and procedures that Dr Busten has been able to set out as a model  sought for over 3000 references, a number more than the entire number of homicides in New Zealand over the last 20 years or so, and that the speculative reference that Sir Peter Williams might have made to the Jury that the Crown stretched the science in an attempt to prove something that didn't happen - that Mark Lundy killed his beautiful daughter, could have influenced me as a Juror to conclude that Mark Lundy didn't get a fair trial.

We know from media reports that the appeal is based around the forensic evidence. Well and good, but there will be others beside myself who will be interested to see how it is that in a trial it can be said that a man had DNA belonging to his wife on his shirt when the proof of that is inconclusive.

Cheers to Professor Chris Halkides for the following:

Chris Halkides has left a new comment on your post "Lundy resentenced; but is it over?":

I have recently had a chance to review the credentials of the defense's two main expert witnesses against the RNA evidence. Both are very good, but Dr. Stephen Bustin's credentials are superb. He has written books on the subject of how to quantitate nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) by polymerase chain reaction. His article "The MIQE Guidelines: Minimum Information for Publication of Quantitative Real-Time PCR Experiments" has been cited over 3000 times. He said that he would be very reluctant to accept the RNA work against Lundy if it were offered for publication. I don't see how it could get any clearer than that.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Anzac Day - Gallipoli 2015

As New Zealanders prepare to remember Anzac Day where it has been argued the country's nationhood began it is easy to forget that a 100 years ago New Zealand was a very young country with many immigrants from Britain making up a good part of the population. I suppose for some then, was the question of how New Zealanders saw themselves, no doubt there was always an eye toward the 'home' countries of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and to a lesser extent Australia - the nearest neighbour. By then NZ had already become a place where equality was something naturally embraced - few would be elevated or lowered in opinion because of status. This was already a country hard at work building roads railways and breaking in farm land. It was only a few short decades since the country had seen land wars resulting in 'punishment' by Government troops carving out large sections of land belonging to 'rebel' Maori. A war of sorts already existed, it was one of people fitting together in a new land and continues today.

New Zealanders had already entered the fray in South Africa during the Boer War fighting with Britain where they were given an early reminder that NZ had already distanced itself from 'class' distinction. A NZ officer was little different than an enlisted man whereas the British brought with them a display showing that even in army life things were measured by rank and wealth, not by bravery and the smarts that tied in respect between the NZ fighters. Many of those fighters were the sons and grandsons of Fencibles - retired soldiers of the British Army offered pensions and land to come to NZ when the threat of civil war, Maori against the new immigrants, was on the boil. So among the 1st fighters a precedent of sorts was set, that continues in many families today - of younger nzers joining the armed services as had family members before them.

This was the case at the beginning of WW1 and would be into the future. Easily not considered in the breadth of war is that the NZers have, apart from the Land Wars of the 1860s always taken part in foreign wars, often under the belief they were fighting for their own freedom - nothing quite so inspirational for young men. Though on the beaches in Anzac Cove pinned down under Turkish gunfire the relative freedom created by being an invader of another country must surely have crossed the minds of many. But it was there, under a baptism of death whistling about puffing the sand and rock that many of the men would identify themselves with their fellows as distinctly NZers.  What some may have been unaware of was the fact that the NZ Native Contingent having sailed for the peninsula were distressed that they were not to take part in a 'European's' war other than behind the lines.

I have read some of the letters from their commanders and sponsors pointing out the 'shame' of the Native Contingent being told they were not to fight - when many had embraced the idea that it would stand them equally beside pakeha NZers for the first time in War. It was not the NZ Government's decision but rather that of the home countries, although as casualties mounted British leaders no longer distinguished who might fight and who might not, so the Maori Contingent were accorded the privilege to fight as New Zealanders first and foremost, even though they had joined the army often along tribal lines, some having overcome resistance to the idea of fighting for those they saw as enemies of their forefathers and land grabbers.

It may be too lightly touched upon in NZ history that the Maori (Native) Contingent fighting at Gallipoli also touched upon the emergence of the concept of Nationhood, because all the NZer's faced death together equally although in many breasts there may have been resentment of one type or the other, but by the time of the final shots ringing out on the British catastrophe that was Gallipoli all those men were equal that survived, just as all those perished were equal in death. As NZ remembers those who served in the Anzacs part of it is the underbelly of the beginning of NZ as it is today, signed in a document, a 'Treaty' no less in 1840, rather than drawing sides again over Treaty claims, opportunity, work or race - it's a time to remember all those men who fought as one. Fought, believing in freedom for one and all, fought for adventure and comradeship that was soon dulled by shadow of death in finding a numbing silence about war many brought home with them.

In one place I visit fairly frequently, named as a sacred place where many of my family are buried I have seen the names of fallen Maori from the WW1. In recent times I learnt that the graveyard was in fact a traditional burial place for local Maori who willingly gave permission for local Europeans (pakeha) to be buried alongside Maori, just as they had fought together many times, and their fathers and grandfathers in much earlier times against each other over the hills and gold. Some of the graves are marked as those killed at Gallipoli revealing a story that was not widely known, nor taught in the schools when I attended. It was also in relatively recent times that I began to learn the history of the Maori part of my family knowing that a number were joined along side my Pakeha relationships on those death swept beaches of Gallipoli a 100 years ago.

Part of what has been an interesting looking back at my family and the many who served in Wars. and those that still serve today, was an interest in collecting badges of the various regiments in which some of those men served. Whilst I have almost exclusively concentrated on WW1 one thing is clear the majority of badges hold the fern, many native bird, also traditional warrior or canoe, as it also true that whilst there was a 'Native' contingent many Maori joined other units as well. I'm not sure at this stage why the fern, bird, canoe and club feature prominently among the badges but a fair guess would be memory of the conflict between Maori and settler when tomahawk faced musket and cannon and sometimes won, where haka was performed and laments sung in the evenings as smoke thinned and birdsong could be heard again through the ferns and the watching bush.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

David Bain: the dusty glasses.

The dusty glasses. The Bain prosecution if filled with irrelevancies. Among the many are the old pair of glasses belonging to Margaret Bain found in the house after the murders. Totally insignificant as to proving any guilt against David, they do however show the very real construction of the Miscarriage of Justice perpetuated by the Crown against David Bain and how it continues.

It's an irresistible conclusion that the 'glasses' themselves point to have not being used by the killer the morning that 4 members of the Bain family were slain. I say this because the glasses were misused by the Crown in an effort to tie David to the killing of his brother Stephen, if of course he had killed Stephen he was guilty of the murders also of his 2 sisters, and mother. Without giving an exhausting history of the glasses the basics are that after careful searches by 2 detectives in Stephen's room they were not found. Later, the Detective in charge of exhibits, claims to have found the lens in the room when 'searching' after hours - obviously doing a job that he was not tasked with. This was ex detective Milton Weir, a most controversial witness in the Bain trial who admitted misleading the Jury.

Years later it would be Joe Karam who, when looking through scene photos who was able to say the lens was not in the position in those photos were Weir claimed to have found it. Eventually, Karam dismantled the entire framing of David Bain having made this discovery. It would soon become apparent to Karam that Weir had not only claimed to have made the discovery that tied David to the killings but that had decided to hide the fact that lens were not from David's glasses at all, but rather from an old pair of his mothers. It was on this basis David Bain faced his first trial and was found guilty. There had even been a question from the Jury concerning the ownership of the glasses and it was repeated to them that the glasses belonged to David, this despite the ophthalmologist having realised his mistake in saying that the lens was Margaret's rather than David's - something the Jury were never told. For what ever reason The Crown continued on, happy to allow the Jury to think the critical evidence was that a lens from 'David's' glasses were found in Stephens room thus allowing the Crown to say that were dislodged in the bloody fight that had taken place during Stephen's murder.

Weir has said that he was hounded out of the police by other police who called him a planter. I'm not sure if he was looking for sympathy but even if he had nothing to do with the lens arriving in Stephen's room, it was he who found them after hours, doing a job which was not his and making a discovery that would 'stitch' David into a scene that misled the 1st Jury and threw David's credibility into doubt when he said, truthfully to the Jury, that the glasses were not his. Weir, at least was happy to see that happen, at the same time breaking his undertaking to the ophthalmologist to correct the record that the lens was not from David's glasses but rather from an old pair of Margaret's.

With that setback to the Crown case of Karam discoveries about the glasses they persevered to resurrect the non existence evidence against David with a claim by one of David's aunts that David told her had been wearing them, and another by a detective saying, that he hadn't wanted to be criticised for handling an exhibit, so withheld evidence in which he had claimed that David had asked the detective to pass 'his' glasses to him - meaning the broken glasses of his mother said to have been in his room the morning of the killings. In a case where everything had been done to place the lens and therefore the glasses in Stephen's room, the detective, Anderson, had kept quite about David asking for 'his' glasses. A lot of people were keeping 'quiet' about the glasses, Weir as to whom they belonged to and Anderson about allegedly putting them in the hands of David Bain who the Crown were desperate to claim had been wearing them. None of it washes, other than to indicate the 'lens' in the Bain case is like the 'bullet casing' in the Thomas case.

But lets look further into the lens. The opthamologist on examining the lens was able to say it was dusty. The Crown of course, said the room was dusty when it was found. The room being dusty unfortunately is of no moment because for the lens to have had any significance it has to be shown to have been used in the murders, that was the whole issue of the lens, the importance of them to their failed case. What the Crown had was the history of misleading the 1st Jury as to whom the lens belonged, the discovery of that, before more bites at the cherry by Anderson and David's aunt - belated evidence that made no sense. Well, not enough sense to show why David would wear glasses that were of a different prescription to his own, 'ask' a detective to pass them to him the morning of murders when they were broken and with, according to the Crown's case, a lens missing. Stupid logic really as is mostly the case when mice and men conspire to defeat the truth.

What is the truth about those glasses? All parties now agree they were Margaret's. The Crown have no convincing explanation of David wearing them or how they got in Stephen's room in such a fashion that they were not found by police officers tasked with searching for them, but rather by the officer in charge of exhibits who was quite happy to ensure that the 1st Jury never knew that they were not David's glasses. The truth is that glasses were broken and of no use to anybody, unwearable in fact. If they had been worn by a killer with sight issues, unless David had the same optical problems of his mother they were of no use to him, in fact presented greater sight difficulties that had he not been wearing them.

All this talk about the lens and their 'use' in the murders, but what does science and common sense tell us apart from the fantastic tale of how the lens appeared in a place that had already been searched. Science tells us that there is no forensic link between the 'lens' and the killings. Science tells us that no blood spatter which reached high up the walls in Stephens room found it's way onto the lens either when Stephen was killed or later when it apparently had fallen to the floor. It was however, dust covered and therefore consistent with not having been used even in a 'dusty' room. So as to the frames, when Anderson the detective who didn't want to 'criticised' for 'handling'  the broken glasses frame with the missing lens, and who obviously thinks it is quite consistent that a person would ask for 'his' glasses that actually belonged to someone else and which were broken - yeah right on that, he gave evidence that is helpful long term to David's innocence. He helped prove the efforts to mislead the Courts about the glasses, either hiding the truth about ownership, or the alleged handling of the glasses post the murders of 4 of David's family. But what he couldn't explain and neither could the Crown is how David Bain, having allegedly worn gloves that were soaked through with blood, managed to handle the glasses without any of that blood being trapped upon them, or indeed upon the dusty lens.

So a man whose hands must have been soaked in blood according to the Crown was able to handle glasses, that is adjust them, take them off, place them on a chair without the most tiniest amount of blood transfer. In short it didn't happen. Neither the lens, the glasses, the bloody gloves, have a single ounce of forensic proof of being handled that morning by David, only claims by police and an aunt, in 2 of those cases emerging 'later' when it could be said the Crown case needed a major credibility boost but only got used band aids.

Thinking about the lens and the Crown case in particular I have to wonder how much longer the Crown will persist with such a dishonest case against David Bain. Other failed cases have shown the Crown's tendency to carry on regardless for decades denying fault as has happened in the Thomas case, as happened with Pora until recently, and as it looks to have continued with Lundy, Watson and Hall. The difference in the case of David Bain is the credibility the Crown sought to wrongfully destroy over the ownership and 'finding' of the glasses has now become its own credibility. There is no sustainable forensic proof that the lens was linked to the murders in the Bain case but there is substantial proof of the Crown manufacturing and hiding evidence relating to the lens and the glasses which fits in with a bigger picture of how David Bain was framed. It wasn't accidental it was deliberate as the glasses and much more evidence now shows.

The further difference is that there is now almost totally conclusive proof that Robin suicided. Not just by the Crown in conceding that he turned on the computer on which was found a suicide note, but from a international examination of all the evidence relevant to whether or not Robin did take his own life, concluding a probability of around 98% that he did. That peer reviewed study probably only didn't score at 100% because of the possibility to reach such a score could have required not only the forensic proof pointing toward suicide but perhaps also a witness or witnesses. The Crown should see the wisdom in taking the opportunity to accept the new evidence proving David's innocence, taking advantage by saying that it was not known or understood at the time. While not satisfying all the misgivings the Crown and his agents will have generated for the public, it will at least show that the Crown has the ability to admit it was wrong in this case when science finally found the way matched by common sense.

It is the Crown that wore 'dusty glasses' in the Bain case and it is the Crown that should now take them off, accept the truth, accept that their predecessors sought to manipulate the truth, accept that a ragtag bunch of misfits have continued to deteriorate the Crown's status in the Bain case further with lies and by trying to prop up that which has already fallen down to irrelevancy - and learn, as the public has seen that hiding and planting evidence in modern times is hazardous. Time has moved on, people are more critical of what the will believe, they want to understand things and see how they stand in isolation or in the 'continuity' of a narrative. The Crown needs to accept that anybody will wonder why a person would ask for broken glasses, with a bent frame and no lens, and won't accept any old dusty explanation.