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Posts Tagged 'Justice Simon France'

Why the jury in the Scott Guy murder trial should have been privy to all the facts about Ewen Macdonald

 

 

The criminal justice system in this country, as in many other countries, is founded on the principle that the combined experience, wisdom, reasoning power and common sense of 12 of an accused person’s peers may be relied on to reach a sound verdict on that person’s guilt or innocence. Though, for a variety of reasons, juries do occasionally get things wrong, history seems to suggest that no better method has yet been found of determining the truth in criminal trials.

Given the faith that we put in them to reach that sound verdict, it seems axiomatic that juries must have access to all the relevant facts in a trial. A decision to suppress or  conceal certain facts from the jury is therefore extremely serious and must surely meet the test that those facts can have no bearing on or relevance to the accused’s guilt or innocence.

In the Scott Guy murder trial, Justice Simon France allowed the jury to hear evidence of certain actions by the accused to which he had already pleaded guilty. The revelation of these actions placed Ewen Macdonald  in an extremely poor light and might well have suggested that he harboured feelings about his brother-in-law Scott Guy and the Guy family that might be considered a motive for murder. Macdonald had burnt down an old house on the Guys’ property and had vandalised and sprayed highly offensive graffiti on Scott  and Kylee’s new home.  Read the rest of this entry »

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