Viewing entries posted in June 2012
Have almost finished reading David and Goliath on the NZ Bain family murders. What a fascinating read. Once again, consistent themes and issues arising in the case which have been identified more broadly as causes of miscarriage of justice cases. Before commenting further, I wanted to include two powerful quotes from the book. The first appears at the very beginning of the story and is from John F Kennedy:
It seems that in recent times, we have heard about several cases which have been particularly challenging for our court system and may well have involved a miscarriage of justice. Only yesterday, Jeff Gilham was acquitted of the 1993 murder of his parents in their Sydney home with the decision handed down by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal that there would be no retrial. See http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/gilham-walks-free-after-court-acquits-and-rules-no-retrial/story-e6frg6nf-1226408318335. As the article states, yesterday's judgement is likely to represent the final chapter in "a legal saga" spanning almost a dozen police investigations, court cases and coronial hearings. Serious doubts had been raised over the legitimacy of the prosecution case, the court found, including the forensic evidence and alleged timings of the killings.
I am currently reading David and Goliath: The Bain Family Murders by Joe Karam (Reed Books 1997). I fortunately was able to track down a used copy to purchase through Amazon after hearing both David Bain and Jo Karam speak at the Perth Justice Conference in March 2012. I was very touched by David's thoughtful presentation, which was the first time that he had spoken out publicly about his ordeal to the media. I was also very interested in hearing Jo Karam's story, whose book and associated actions were instrumental in eventually achieving justice for David. David was a New Zealander who featured in one of that country's most notable murder cases, in which five people in one family were shot to death in their family home back in 1994 in Dunedin. David was convicted of the murders of his parents and siblings in May 1995. The Defence theory was that the event was a murder/suicide by David's father, who it was alleged had been having an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters. David served 13 and a half years of a life sentence before successfully appealing his original convictions to the UK Privy Council in May 2007. Finding there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice, the Privy Council quashed his convictions and ordered a retrial. After several attempts by Bain's lawyers to obtain a stay in proceedings failed, David was bailed pending the retrial which began in Christchurch on 6 March 2009 and ended 5 June 2009 with his acquittal on all charges. This case is said to be one of New Zealand's most complex and controversial murder cases. I hope to draw on key aspects of the case in developing my formal papers for a number of presentations that I have coming up both here in Tasmania and interstate.
Long-time Tasmanian, Ms Poppy Lopatniuk, now 85 years old, is about to launch her new book Tomorrow's Children. The book launch will be at 5.30 pm on Friday 6 July 2012 at Hobart Books, 22 Salamanca Square. Do go along and support Poppy. The book is said to be both a "memoir" and "a record of activism". Poppy recounts her childhood and her early years as well as her life raising four children with her Ukrainian refugee husband, Stefan, on Hobart's eastern shore. It was here that Poppy gradually became aware that their environment was neither healthy nor safe. She began to doubt Government assurances about the area around the old Howard tip site being non-toxic. In her seventies at the time, Poppy set out to try and find answers as to why many illnesses and cancers were appearing in the surrounding streets. It was to be a long and frustrating search and she refused to be fobbed off with vague assurances.
The BEtter Consulting website has now been in operation for five months. I thought it would be interesting for followers to see who is visiting, for how long, what they are looking at etc. During the five month period, there have been 4,243 unique visitors and 15,768 visits. In June, on average, each unique visitor visited 4.81 times and viewed 3.59 pages per visit. Surprisingly, the US is the top country, narrowly beating Australia. The other big users are Germany, China, France and Brazil (with spam unfortunately emanating from the Russian Federation and Ukraine). The average visit is consistently around the 11 to 12 minute mark, which is pleasing indeed. In the last five months, 367 users or 5.5% of the total visitors have spent more than an hour on the website, with another 569 spending 30 minutes to 1 hour. The blog is the most popular page visit with a large number of people receiving blog notifications via RSS. Google is the most frequent search engine for referral although the vast majority of visitors are coming directly to the site. A number of cross-referrals from other websites are now occurring (e.g. Facebook, BizTas, LinkedIn, Tasmanian Times) including a large number from a blog site in Germany (www.bettasplendens.de) and webwombat, a new Australian search engine. It is also pleasing to be linked in with Dr Bob Moles' website Networked Knowledge. Growth in usage has been very pleasing and I am trying to keep the site interesting and dynamic, particularly through frequent and relevant postings on the blog. I am also presenting at several high profile local and national forums in the next few months and will post my formal papers on the Presentations page.
I recently found this on a Symbolic Meanings Blog (by Avia Venefica):
I noticed from the US Innocence Project website (entry 21 June 2012) that the Manhattan DA, Mr Cyrus Vance, created a unit tasked with preventing wrongful convictions in 2010. Since that time, his office has received 118 post-conviction claims of innocence for possible review. Whilst the reviews have only resulted in a "handful" of "vacated convictions", the very process of examining procedures and trying to articulate and synthesise best thinking is said to have been critical to the "evolution of the conscience and culture" and the new values of the office. The program has reinforced his office's commitment to pursuing cases only when prosecutors are convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty. This standard exceeds the requirements of both state and national ethics rules in the US, which permit prosecutors to move forward with cases if probable cause exists and to rely on the jury to make a final determination.
Please feel free to leave comments on the blog!! Comments seem scarce in more recent times and I am a bit worried that my spam blocking program may be quarantining some comments?? I would love to hear from you. If you have any ideas on topics that you would like to hear my comments on, please let me know!
Abstract submissions for the above conference close on 30 June 2012. The Theme of the conference is "Public Criminologies: Crime, Power and Marginalisation". I have today submitted my abstract which is included below:
Last night attended a Women in Business Dinner hosted by Business East Inc. at the Bellerive Yacht Club. The guest speaker was the dynamic Jan Davis, the CEO of the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association. The title of her talk was "New Voice on Tasmanian Agriculture". The meeting was well attended by business women from both sides of the Derwent shores! (as well as several high profile female politicians). It was my first attendance at a Business East Inc. meeting and I was very impressed with the calibre of the women who attended. Everyone actually had the opportunity to get up and speak briefly about themselves and what they did. It was a wonderful networking opportunity and there was a useful exchange of business cards.