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Posts Tagged 'Murder'

On Murder, Mark Lundy and letting the dead rest in peace.

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In 1983, with criminal defence lawyer Mike Bungay, I co-authored Bungay on Murder, a book about murder and murderers in New Zealand. I learnt a great deal about the topic from working with Mike, much of it surprising (he preferred women jurors to men in rape trials) and I’ve maintained my interest in murder cases ever since.

It was Mike’s view that in cases where an accused’s guilt could neither be proved not disproved, his (the vast majority of homicides are committed by men)  attractiveness or lack of attractiveness in personality or appearance or both, could have a significant bearing on a jury’s decision.

I was reminded of this by the news that Mark Lundy has won the right to appeal to London’s Privy Council against his conviction for the murder of his wife and daughter. Lundy is an obese, highly unattractive man; his histrionic display of grief at his wife’s and daughter’s funeral was both pathetic and bizarre; he was a user of prostitutes. None of this would endear him to a jury.

On hearing the news that Lundy had won the right to appeal his conviction to the Privy Council, one Palmerston North citizen told the Manawatu Guardian, ‘I believe he did it. I drive down there (to Wellington) three times a month and if he did it at that speed, he must be a Formula One driver. But I still think he’s just a pig and needs to accept what he’s done.’

Imagine this guy on the Lundy jury. He says, ‘I believe he did it.’ That’s a guilty vote. Then he says his personal driving experience tells him that Lundy couldn’t possibly have made the critical Petone – Palmerston North – Petone  trip in the time the Prosecution claimed. That’s a not guilty vote. Finally he opts for guilty because, ‘I still think he’s just a pig.’

Being a fat pig is a distinct disadvantage for an accused person in a murder trial.   Read the rest of this entry »