Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Bad men

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  • David Slack,

    Simon G wrote:

    I think we should stick all the "experts" in the one room, tell them they can never leave until they ALL agree, and make it into a Reality TV show. Rated R18. That will tell us all we need to know how verdicts happen. It's not pretty.

    Be careful what you wish for. You might get Jeffrey Archer...


    from TV.Com:

    Starting this Sunday (11th Feb) on BBC2 is a show called The Verdict ....
    Twelve well-known people- disgraced peer and author Jeffrey Archer, actress Honor Blackman, former footballer Stan Collymore, actress Jennifer Ellison, Anne Summers founder Jacqueline Gold, musician Alex James, entrepreneur Dominic McVey, So Solid Crew's Megaman, actress Patsy Palmer, campaigner Sara Payne, politician Michael Portillo and broadcaster Ingrid Tarrant- must sit as a jury on a fictional case which is presided over, prosecuted and defended by legal professionals.

    International footballer Damien Scott and his friend James Greer are both accused of a brutal rape. Over the four days of the trial, evidence from eyewitnesses and the victim will be presented to the court. Whilst the defendants, victim and eyewitnesses are all actors, the trial is unscripted and the barristers will be free to prosecute and defend as they would in a real court of law.

    When all the evidence has been presented, the jury must retire to consider their verdict. Cameras will follow them into the jury room and capture the deliberations, arguments, coercions and the general process in which this jury will reach their verdict.

    The Controller of BBC2 has stated that "this is a hugely ambitious project which brings the law to life in a completely new way. It will be fascinating to follow the twists and turns of the case, see the dynamics and power struggles within the jury, learn about the jury system with its inherent flaws and strengths."

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    Dad 4 Justice

    With all due respect to your experience of current police culture, I would have to say that it is absolute bollocks to tar all with the same brush on that basis.

    While there was clearly a bloody awful element within the Rotorua/Tauranga police force from the 80's, I wouldn't extrapolate from that all police are rotten.

    One of my oldest friends is a policeman in Upper Hutt, and is the most gentle, dignified and honorable person I know, carrying a lot of mana in the community.

    He's doing a tough job not many others would want to do, for relatively little reward, and doesn't deserve to be associated with the rotten apples so casually.

    My 10c worth .....

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    And there it is; television has finally reached the bottom of the big-ideas-bucket!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    television has finally reached the bottom of the big-ideas-bucket!

    That will be when the Kiwi version is made hosted by Jason Gunn & Michael Barrymore, and starring Loos & Ridgey.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Samuel, I'm not happy with all trial by media. But in this case I'm not really complaining about it. I think the conduct of these guys was disgraceful, if not actually illegal, and people knowing about it has to be a little bit of a deterrent.

    I'm not judging them for wanting group sex or any sexual preference at all. It's the abuse of their position that I dislike. It's rather similar to a high school teacher ripping into a student. It may not be actually illegal, if the student is old enough, but professionally and morally it's usually disgraceful.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8541 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Also... while I'm here, I'll concur with Richard above, since I know (through association with my brother) the excellent fellow of whom he speaks.

    And consider Dad4justice, that the police seem hell bent on nailing these guys. More to come no doubt.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2073 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    Good luck with the advertising push Russell, I'm sure with the niche audience you attract, and the numbers you pull, demand won't be a problem.

    Glad to hear you're staying away from MediaOne (the pop-up video player), and even more luck with trying to resist agency creative...having dealt with the bFM creative policy for some time now, while it does make for a good U.S.P, it does also lead to apathy amonst agencies and headaches all round at times...but I'm sure you'll manage!

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • dad4justice,

    Richard L, I agree that there are some good cops and my friend in the force is one of them. I do believe there is more to come of this .

    Society does need good cops .

    Since Jan 2007 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    The Govt Dept I work for is so archaic, we use Lotus Notes. Your new advertising system has made the pages stall, freeze and crash Lotus for a couple of minutes each times it loads.
    This saddens me.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 216 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    http://www.annalsonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/989/1/154

    As I commented last night rape has a high incidence of recidivism, the link above discusses this.
    Just as for a serial killer or paedophile the modus operandi is frequently very similar as it serves to satiate a particular kink (for want of a better word). The consistencies in these three cases, that is the two aquittals and the conviction, are quite noticeable. Penetration with foreign objects, the group/gang nature of the assaults and the age of the complainants. I would like to know if Malcolm Rewa (parnell panther) had the details of his priors supressed every time he went up on a charge. I doubt that very much.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Keith Ng,

    Stephen, Reece: The conditions required for the admission of prior convictions was discussed on a OnPoint post in April.

    In situations where the defendant is charged with [offending that] is strikingly similar to [something that] the offender has been convicted [of], the prosecution can apply to the court to be able to admit it. A classic example of such a striking similarity is the English case of Boardman - an accused charged with a burglary in which the offender left at the scene an esoteric symbol written in lipstick on a mirror and it can be shown that in all the accused's prior burglaries he had left the same marking.

    (Heh heh, dumbass.) So what does the prosecution need to prove to be able to admit prior convictions in circumstances like this?

    It's not really a question of proof. The judge obviously has to be satisfied that an accused actually committed the earlier acts, but this usually won't be too difficult (if there are convictions this won't be a problem), and the judge will have to consider that the earlier acts and the offending currently charged are 'strikingly similar', but that's not the end of it.

    Even if these things can be shown, this isn't enough to allow the evidence in, a judge really has to question - 'what does this add to the prosecution case?' and they have to balance that with 'and how will this impact on the defendant's right to a fair trial?'.
    The question a judge grapples with, not just when deciding whether to allow similar fact evidence but all sorts of evidential questions, is 'does the probative value of this evidence outweigh its prejudicial effect?

    "Strikingly similar" is a pretty strict test, and unfortunately, "penetration with foreign objects, the group/gang nature of the assaults and the age of the complainants" describes a class of crime, rather than "strikingly similar" details that can be used to link one from the other.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 535 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    ... of course the other approach is to bring the charges simultaneously.

    And perhaps throw in a bit of conspiracy for good measure.

    I served last year on the jury for a drug trial where these approaches were used: the defendants pleaded guilty once the multiple instances were lined up.

    If I were these women I would be looking at a joint civil action for damages (where the burden of proof is lower). It would do the trick. I can't imagine they'd have any trouble funding the case...

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    I seem to recall there being a rather drawn out pre trial process from the first (maunganui) proceedings as to whether all would be lumped in together, it seems a pity this didn't happen.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    One thing no seems to be considering here is the wisdom of lodging these charges in the first place, given not just the difficulty of securing a conviction but also the impact on the victim of a not guilty verdict. Surely, to be through a media circus like this and then have the defendants found not guilty, with the subsequent claims the victim lied from the defendants and misogynists (a la the crazy wingnuts over on kiwiblog), is to re-traumatise the victim? The police must have known that securing a conviction would be difficult, especially given that the defendants both know how to work the system to their best advantage and are quite prepared, it seems, to indulge in the necessary cynical pervsersions of justice to get the right result for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1806 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Maybe someone just doesn't want Clint Rickards to be police commissioner in the future, can't say I'd disagree at this point.
    Pretty crude way to go about it though.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Philip Wilkie,

    Tom,

    One thing no seems to be considering here is the wisdom of lodging these charges in the first place

    This is why there used to be a Statute of Limitations on this kind of case. After the passage of 10 or more years the risk of a totally unsafe verdict just becomes too high and the outcome is likely to be more bitterness and controversy rather than any sense of closure or justice.

    Sometime in the 90's (I forget exactly when) not only was the time limit on these sexual offence cases removed, but the legislation explicitly allowed for the possibility of conviction solely on the word of the complainant with no corroborative evidence required. Clearly juries are have not at all comfortable with convicting "beyond reasonable doubt" on this basis.

    In all the furore about this case, we all tend to forget that a jury of 12 of our fellow citizens (and it almost certain they unofficially knew of Shipton's and Schollum's prior convictions), who listened to all the evidence, reached their own decision after many hours of deliberation. Who among us would be certain that we would have acted any differently if we had served on that jury?

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    In all the furore about this case, we all tend to forget that a jury of 12 of our fellow citizens (and it almost certain they unofficially knew of Shipton's and Schollum's prior convictions)

    I doubt that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Kieth,
    "In pre-trial judgement, Justice Tony Randerson ruled the baton evidence was of value, and he did not believe it would prejudice the defence.

    "The distinctive characteristics of the behaviour of which these witnesses depose is that it involves joint sexual activity by two serving police officers featuring the use of a police baton.

    "That this kind of activity is sufficiently unusual or distinctive is emphasised by the reactions of some of the witnesses who were so repulsed by what they were told that they had a clear recollection of the relevant conversations." (nz herald 3/3/07)

    The judge seemed to think that the similarities in the cases were 'strikingly similar'

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Philip Wilkie,

    In a group of 12 people it only takes one person to have either heard or read something, or after all publicity after Rickards previous trial it was not rocket science to deduce what all the fuss was likely about.

    Let's put it this way. I knew, and so did everyone else I know...so what were you chances of selecting a 12 member jury in which NO-ONE knew?

    Doubt it.

    Since Mar 2007 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    yet the priors were witheld

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Apparently Rickards brother in law was approached by a jury member following the verdict to inform him that they did know, that was buried in an herald story yesterday as well.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Felix Marwick,

    Let's put it this way. I knew, and so did everyone else I know...so what were you chances of selecting a 12 member jury in which NO-ONE knew?

    Doubt it.

    Think for a moment about the circles you move in. How up to date on current affairs are you and your friends? Do you read the papers. listen to the radio, and watch the news on a regular basis?

    But remember, just because the circles you move in are well informed that doesn't necessarily mean everybody else's are. There's a lot of people out there for who news and current affairs are of no interest. So they can be blissfully ignorant of details you and I take for granted.

    We were having the same debate in our newsroom yesterday. Some were scratching their heads wondering; "How could they not have known?"
    Then someone pointed out
    "Hang on a moment, we're news geeks. Of course we know. But (thankfully) not everyone's like us".

    On a different tack. One thing that hasn't been debated yet is the make up of the jury. 8 men and 4 women. Could that have affected deliberations?

    (I pose that as a question - not an attack on the integrity of the jury)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • reece palmer,

    Thats just one of the vagaries of allowing jury selection by opposing counsel, you does your crime and you takes your chance I reckon.

    the terraces • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    And frankly, just because Rickard's brother claims something doesn't mean it's true in any way shape or form, particularly if he has something to gain by having people believe him.

    Much of the debate surrounding the case has been around whether the Jury would have made a different decisions had they known about the previous convictions.

    So it's not hard to see what advantage the men would gain by claiming the jury actually already knew all the facts of the previous case, and STILL found them not guilty.

    Consequently I find the story hard to swallow.

    Perhaps in the future I may be proven wrong and the Jury really knew all the facts about the previous convictions, but in the meantime I'm extremely dubious.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 311 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    One thing no seems to be considering here is the wisdom of lodging these charges in the first place, given not just the difficulty of securing a conviction but also the impact on the victim of a not guilty verdict.

    Tom, would you like to look in the eyes of someone who's just made a complaint that they'd been the victim of a sex crime and say, "well, you know there's a very low conviction rate for this kind of offence, they're difficult to prosecute at the best of times, and you're going to be subjected to months - if not years - of stress and public humiliation either way. So sod off, go home and have a good cry because we're not going to waste our time on you..." I couldn't - and it must be bad enough when prosecutors have to say they've investigated, and just don't have enough evidence to lay charges. Which doesn't mean - desipite what Rickards and some in the blogosphere seem to think - doesn't mean the complainant is therefore a lying psycho slut.

    But remember, just because the circles you move in are well informed that doesn't necessarily mean everybody else's are. There's a lot of people out there for who news and current affairs are of no interest. So they can be blissfully ignorant of details you and I take for granted.

    Thanks for stating the obvious. To use a bad (and meaningless) cliché of Helen Clark's, folks 'inside the Beltway' too easily forget that not everyone hears - or even much cares about - the sin-sational gossip and hot steaming poop-scoop that obsesses political junkies and media-political-legal insiders.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12003 posts Report Reply

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