Privy Council in London overturn New Zealand murder conviction

The Privy Council, sitting in London, has heard an appeal from Mark Lundy, a New Zealand resident serving a 20 year life sentence for murdering his wife and daughter. Mark Lundy has already served over 12 years in prison for the murder that he has always maintained he did not commit. The court has overturned the conviction and instructed the authorities in New Zealand to give Mr Lundy a new trial as soon as possible. Mr Lundy turned to the Privy Council after losing all appeal avenues in New Zealand. His appeal turns upon new ‘credible’ expert evidence that casts serious doubt over the original evidence used at trial, of stomach contents analysis, in order to determine the time of death of the victims. Mr Lundy has always had an alibi for when he claims the murders must have taken place, but the stomach content analysis put the deaths at a time when he could have committed the murders. If this evidence is proved flawed, then the whole case is thrown into doubt.

Read more here:

Mark Lundy murder convictions quashed  

New Zealand businessman Mark Lundy wins appeal in UK court over conviction for murdering wife and daughter with tomahawk-like weapon

2 responses to “Privy Council in London overturn New Zealand murder conviction

  1. Pingback: More calls in New Zealand for independent justice review committee | Wrongful Convictions Blog

  2. STEVE says:
    OCTOBER 11, 2013
    Having waited until the dust settled after the storm brewed up by the Privy Council’s ruling, I thought I should add my two cents worth. Firstly I have no opinion as to whether the accused in this case did the crime or not. I have always approached the case as a trial of the evidence. The relentless examination and cross examination of the evidential strands in the prosecutions rope.
    I am not going to be at all surprised if the Crown in due course choose not to proceed with a re trial. I base my opinion on two main elements of reasoning.
    Firstly a re trial if there is to be one will be held in a much different procedural environment than the inaugural trial back in 2000. Most importantly the Criminal Disclosure Act 2008 was not in force. Full disclosure by the investigative arm of the court, namely the police, is an essential element of procedural fairness. Not just the witnesses and other interviews favourable to the Crowns case, but all of the interviews connected to the case, all of the evidence collected, must be disclosed to the defence in order to rigorously test the evidence. This didn’t happen until the new Act codified all of the requirements from both sides of the adversarial divide. It is abundantly clear from the PC’s exhaustive dissemination of the key strands of evidence, that this didn’t happen . In all likelihood it was the passing of this new Act that enabled Lundy’s defence team to submit their case to the Privy Council in the form that they did that resulted in the conviction being nullified.
    Secondly the prosecution are going to have to reconstruct the crime. They are going to have to use a different time frame and build their case around that window whatever it might be. But in order to do that they are going to have to weave a rope of evidential strands strong enough to withstand what is going to be, if there is a re-trial, relentless and unbridled cross examination from the defence. The key planks of evidence upon which the Crown relied to out weigh any skepticism a jury might have about the three hour time window, are essentially dead in the water. Perhaps, one may argue that the tissue evidence could be re visited and contested but, having read the PC decision and summed up the academic and intellectual firepower the defence assembled to refute the Crowns evidence, then one could make a fairly reasonable assumption that the contest will end up in the defence’s favour.
    This case has received such widespread publicity, and it is only just heating up, that there will be hardly a prospective jury member who hasn’t followed at least some aspect of the case. If a re-trial is to be rescheduled at some future date you can bet anyone receiving their future jury service notice in the high court’s home town will be getting very interested.
    The Crown will have to someone how win the credibility of the Jury in the opening address otherwise it is my opinion the result will be a foregone conclusion before the first witness enters the stand. You have a situation where it goes something like this.
    “…well ladies and gentleman. We got it wrong on the first go. We worked hard to investigate this heinous crime and bring the perpetrator to justice. We had thousands of man hours dedicated to the task. Some of this country’s finest investigators. We amassed an enormous mountain of evidence. In the end we arrested our suspect, and weeded out the evidential strands that would make this case a slam dunk for the Crown. But that didn’t work in the long run. It appears the evidence was a bit flaky. We weren’t exactly forthcoming on disclosure but not to worry, we have a new theory and that’s what you’re going to hear today. We don’t have much evidence but it’s the best we can do…..”
    You begin to see the dilemma facing the prosecutors……….

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