Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reax 3: David Bain: Interesting column by Deborah Coddington: Why advocates try to prove the innocence of those already found guilty in court. New Zealand Herald.

COMMENTARY:  "Champions: Conviction in innocence of convicted," by Deborah Coddington, published in the New Zealand Herald on December 23, 2012.

SUB-HEADING:  "What's the attraction in championing the cause of convicted criminals? Deborah Coddington investigates why advocates try to prove the innocence of those already found guilty in court."

GIST: "It's much easier taking up cudgels on behalf of the convicted - or even someone alleged to have committed a crime. For example Kim Dotcom, convicted of computer fraud, embezzlement and insider trading in Germany, is now fighting extradition to the US to avoid criminal charges of copyright infringement. But here, media treat him like a rock star. It hasn't always been thus. We once revered police, convinced they'd "got their man". But something changed when Auckland Star journalist Pat Booth concluded a 10-year crusade to free Arthur Allan Thomas when he was convicted in 1970 of murdering Jeanette and Harvey Crewe. Booth proved police planted evidence - a cartridge case - and after that nothing stayed the same. We were shown the police can get it wrong. "That is true," Booth says. "It was also a turning point as to how newspapers handled crime stories. Before that, there was no advocacy journalism on behalf of a prisoner. Now I can see everyone doing it." Booth's team won its fight to have Thomas pardoned in 1980. He says the problem with Bain's compensation bid is "they don't have a cartridge case"."

The entire commentary can be found at:

PUBLISHER'S VIEW:   (Editorial). A close look at the content of Justice Ian Binnie's report leads this Blog to the inescapable conclusion that the Government of New Zealand should heed Justice Binnie's advice, and without delay make generous compensation to David Bain,  because "the state authorities and in particular the Duneden CIB were seriously complicit in this miscarriage of justice." Justice Binnie makes clear that this is not a typical appeal in which there are instances of police investigative failures. Instead, "It is the number and cumulative importance of errors here that should, in my view be seen as constituting extraordinary circumstances.   The sheer length of David Bain's incarceration takes the Bain prosecution "outside the ordinary run of cases in which appeals have been allowed."  I hope the New Zealand government will rise above the  howls of protest,  set internal politics aside - and do what is just for David Bain.


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The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

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