Saturday, December 15, 2012

David Fisher: Bain report shines spotlight on police mistakes. New Zealand Herald. (Must Read. HL).

PUBLISHER'S NOTE: My deepest condolences to  the families, friends and community of those children and adults killed so brutally, so senselessly,  at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

Harold Levy. Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.


 COMMENTARY:  "David Fisher: Bain report shines spotlight on police mistakes," published in the New Zealand Herald on December 13, 2012.

GIST:  "In this he is clear, stating "it is my opinion that the egregious errors of the Dunedin police that led directly to the wrongful conviction make it 'in the interest of justice that compensation be paid"'. Binnie was clear in the report - compensation was not his decision to make. He supplied footnotes to underpin his findings: "This reflects the fact that my job is to recommend not decide." But he was not shy about offering his opinion. In his follow up email to Collins, he stated "it is surely the case that an incompetent and one sided investigation by the police will lead forseeably and consequentially to a heightened risk of conviction". "In my view this is what happened here.".........Our Governments have never capably handled harsh judgments against our police. And, it must be said, such claims of incompetence should not be casually made. Law and order in our society is underpinned by faith and trust in the police and the way they do their job. Almost exclusively, they do it well. We should be proud of what they do. But when they don't do it well, those who run the police and the ministers who sit over them struggle to respond. It is an extraordinary 32 years since the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the conviction of Arthur Thomas found the police had planted evidence. In this case, too, it was a judge from another jurisdiction who led the inquiry. The police faced criticism then, too, and have never moved to accept the failings identified. The opportunity is here, again, to confront the occasional crushing failings which will bedevil any police force. Ignoring them invites repetition, and reduces the faith and trust the police need to do their critically important job. I have interviewed members of both juries - those in 1995 who convicted Bain and put him away for 13 years and those in 2009 who set him free. They were 12 ordinary men and women. The overwhelming impression left from talking to those on the second jury was their anger and simple upset over the conduct of the police force. They had always considered the police above reproach. They found they were wrong."

The entire commentary  can be found at:


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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.