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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Scott Guy Murder Trial

I had always thought that it would take something special to get me blogging again. This trial has provided it. This is from a comment over at Kiwiblog

I’m enormously relieved that Ewen McDonald was found not guilty.
As others have pointed out here on a previous thread, we have not heard all the evidence. However the evidence that was reported by media (grain of salt) together with the fact that the defence only called two witnesses lead me to believe that we should have got a “not guilty” verdict.
I’m relieved that justice still stands in this country. That jurors – ordinary joes like you and me – can put emotion aside and make decisions based on the evidence and information provided is gratifying and good to know should any one of us stand in the dock being falsely accused. They are not swayed by emotive pleas from the crown prosecutor who, in my opinion, got a hospital pass when assigned (or asked for) this case. He knew that his case was bollocks as evidenced by his appeal in his closing argument that common sense must rule instead of evidence!
What is also revealing is the police’s acceptance of the verdict. It doesn’t seem like an appeal is on the horizon. Why is that? Not enough evidence, perhaps? If this was the case, why prosecute in the first place and waste all this time and effort on a case so paper thin that it took just 11 hours for the jurors to decide and the defence counsel uses the prosecution case as his defence?
Anyone who says stuff like “well I always thought he looked shifty” or this gem “I’m from the country and we know he’s guilty” should be ashamed. They belong in the 1700′s Salem crying “witch, witch!” That is pure and unadulterated scaremongering and hysteria – two things the law is designed to withstand and has no place in a modern legal system let alone a modern society. As for the argument “If not him, then who”, well just because the investigative authority cannot find out doesn’t mean we should just take the easiest target.
I don’t condone what EM did to Scott and Kylee’s house. He has cases to answer and will “get whats coming” to him in that regard. However there are hundreds of arsons and vandalisms in NZ every year. Most don’t end in murder. So to apply a different set of standards to the Guy trial would have been sophistry and hypocrisy – the crowds baying for blood so lets give them what they want! It sounds more like the coliseum in roman times than a modern courtroom in a modern society.
This Pack mentality that some people evidence is shameful and a huge blight on those people’s characters. To also suggest that we should change the standards by which people are judged smacks of a knee jerk – a law to be shaped when we want it shaped differently because, once again, we don’t believe the jurors at heart and somehow through the myopic lens of the media, we the people know best. I can only hope I don’t have any of those people in a jury should I every stand in the dock falsely accused. Grow up a little, New Zealand and start thinking with your heads rather than your emotions.
The burden of proof is set high for a reason. Guilt should conclusively assigned. Not on a balance of probabilities, not on a gut feeling or intuition and certainly not out of pack fervour out for blood.