Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Dunne Speaks - the Lundy Case and others

Dunne Speaks

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

17 October 2013

In the 1980s the Wellington retailer Alan Martin of L.V. Martin & Son became a cult figure for his idiosyncratic television advertisements where he proclaimed, “it’s the putting right that counts”. The slogan became part of the national lexicon and a byword for after sales service.

In 1995 when the United Party was formed cartoonist Tom Scott lampooned the hurried circumstances of the party’s launch with the line,” it’s the getting it about right that counts”.

I thought of that line again last week when Mark Lundy was released on bail pending a new trial for the murder of his wife and daughter. His case follows in the footsteps of David Bain, Arthur Alan Thomas and a few others over the last 40 years. The common thread has been that each of the original convictions was found to be unsafe in some way or other. To date, in each case, subsequent processes have led to either their acquittal or the quashing of the original convictions. It remains to be seen whether Mark Lundy will join that list.

In each case, the “getting it about right” approach to justice has been the problem. Too often, the innocent till proven guilty maxim that supposedly underpins our justice system has given way to the lesser and far more unreliable “they probably did it” approach. While that fits well with our national pragmatism and is probably likely to be right more often than not, it is still a fundamentally haphazard and far too casual way to dispense justice, especially in serious cases.

Unfortunately, and probably more worrying, that approach also influences the ways crimes and other misdemeanours are now investigated by the Police and others. Instead of painstakingly and impartially investigating all aspects of a case from the ground up, New Zealand’s approach is increasingly focused on finding someone responsible, or more likely than not to be responsible. That is based on a sifting sand approach of shaking the issue to see who can be eliminated, and then building a case, often no more than strongly circumstantial, around them in such a way to convince a Court of guilt. The pursuit of truth and justice are often the first casualties. Finding someone on whom the crime can be “pinned” is a far more immediate focus and satisfies the public that the investigators have done their job properly.

But while that remains our focus and while those who gather the evidence remain responsible for prosecuting the cases, situations like the Lundy case and others will continue to occur.  That may satisfy the public pressure for crimes to be solved, but the pursuit of justice will be the casualty. Getting it “about right” in these circumstances definitely does not count!

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news