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Judgment: Milner v R - release of samples for testing

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF NEW ZEALAND
I TE KŌTI PĪRA O AOTEAROA

CA120/2014
[2019] NZCA 619

BETWEEN
HELEN ELIZABETH MILNER
Applicant

AND
THE QUEEN
Respondent

[...]

JUDGMENT OF KÓS P, MILLER AND COOPER JJ
A We determine the application as a full court of the High Court.
B The application for release of bodily samples of the deceased for further scientific testing is granted.
C The parties are to submit a consent memorandum as to terms.

REASONS OF THE COURT
(Given by Kós P)

[1] Ms Milner was convicted of the murder by poisoning of her husband, Philip Nisbet. He died in 2009, evidently as the result of an overdose of the drug

promethazine hydrochloride. Ms Milner was also convicted on one count of attempted murder by poisoning some two weeks before Mr Nisbet died. Ms Milner was sentenced by Gendall J to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 17 years.

[2] An appeal against conviction to this Court failed. The Court assessed the Crown case as “a strong circumstantial” one, referring to evidence of Ms Milner purchasing quantities of the drug under an assumed name, being seen to crush pills, expressing a wish to kill Mr Nisbet by using drugs, wanting to obtain the benefit of an insurance policy over Mr Nisbet’s life, and the writing of a suicide note purportedly by Mr Nisbet being more consistent with her spelling than his. Leave to appeal further was declined by the Supreme Court.

[3] Ms Milner wishes now to advance an application to the Governor-General for exercise of the Royal prerogative of mercy. To support that application, she wishes to have scientific testing undertaken on biological samples from Mr Nisbet’s body that remain in the possession of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR).

[...]

[Full judgment: 2019NZCA619.pdf]

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