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Dale, Dale, MacLeod petition refusal

The Governor-General has declined an application to refer the convictions of Paul Dale, Jason Dale, and Callum MacLeod back to the Court of Appeal, Minister of Justice Phil Goff announced today.

Paul Dale, Jason Dale, and Callum MacLeod were convicted in 1996 for the multiple sexual violation of a woman in Palmerston.

In February 1999 the Governor-General received an application for exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy on behalf Paul Dale, Jason Dale, and Callum MacLeod.
The primary basis of the application was a statement signed by the complainant before a Justice of the Peace, dated 13 February 1999, retracting her accusations against the petitioners.

“At the request of the Ministry of Justice, the police interviewed the complainant in May 1999. In the course of that interview, however, the complainant recanted her earlier retraction and reaffirmed that the petitioners had raped her.

“The police who interviewed her have raised serious doubts about the reliability of the original retraction.

“The complainant stated that her earlier retraction was made under duress, and that a person who was involved in the preparation of the retraction had threatened to have her assassinated if she did not sign it,” Phil Goff said.

“Taken as a whole the circumstances around the retraction were so suspicious and unreliable that the strong advice of officials is that it should be wholly rejected. I agree. Accordingly, I advised the Governor-General to reject the application.

“In cases where allegations of rape are retracted the process of investigation needs to be handled very carefully. The Ministry’s report highlights the real danger that the criminal justice system can be manipulated, where retractions are obtained in circumstances such as these.

“I am also concerned about the media portrayal of this case. The credibility of one of the individuals involved in securing the retraction, and who has been involved in recent high-profile media reports about the case, is utterly negated by his criminal record and serious sexual offending convictions in an unrelated case. I am prevented from revealing the full information because of legal reasons. However I can assure the public that it is of such a serious nature that were it disclosed the public would appreciate the utter unreliability of this individual’s statements and actions.

“The offenders were not convicted, as stated in the media, only on the testimony of the victim. Medical and scientific evidence presented at the trial, including vaginal and anal injuries and penetration by objects, was consistent with the victim’s testimony.

“The offenders were originally convicted after a judge and jury heard all the evidence. For a conviction to be set aside, there needs to be new evidence. The petitioners rely on an apparent retraction by the victim. However this retraction is considered unreliable, likely to have been the result of duress and has now been withdrawn. On this basis, there are no grounds on which the Governor General could accept the petition,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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