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Tuesday, 27 July 2010


My entire life is concerned with only one thing, perfectly expressed in the words used courts of law: the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God. That is the mainspring of my life, it is my paramount, fundamental and over-riding passion.

So it is a terrible shock to have had declared in a New Zealand court of law what I know to be false: that I am a criminal. It is almost unendurable to have watched and listened as two teenagers sat in the witness box and lied their faces off, calmly denied the truth, and were believed by the judge. He believed the liars, he rejected the truth and he convicted an innocent man. Now he will punish me for a crime that I did not commit.

I was accused of hitting on the head a teenager, who with his teenage friend had trespassed on my property on the 25th of May 2010, of hitting him on the head with a branch three feet long and two inches in diameter. Before God's throne I did not. There was no branch, there was no blow upon his head; I did not touch a single hair of his head, directly or indirectly, with anything. That is the truth before the Court of Heaven. But the Court of New Zealand says the opposite.

I did not plead not guilty because I wanted to try to get off the charge by some clever means. I pleaded not guilty because I was not guilty. If I had been guilty I would have pleaded guilty.

My trial has exposed three fundamental flaws in the justice system, which not even the cleverest lawyer on the planet can overcome.

1) The justice system assumes that when people place their right hand on the Bible and asked 'Do you swear before Almighty God that the evidence you are about to give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God,' that they when they say 'Yes' that they will then utter nothing but truth. There will be not a word that is false.

But the days are long gone when most people believed in God, believed the Bible, and
believed that to make that promise before God and break it would bring down on their heads his terrible wrath. Few people nowadays are God-fearing, so that oath is only meaningless words and the book on which they place their hands is an irrelevant object. Many have concern at all about lying. They lie as easily as they breathe.

2) New Zealand law says that in the witness box no one can say 'I am not going to answer that.' Anyone eligible to give evidence can be compelled to give it. But that rests on the oath to tell the truth. Witnesses can be compelled to answer, but they cannot be compelled to tell the truth. So they can say 'I don't know' or 'I can't remember' even though they do know, and therefore they have fulfilled compellability, and cannot be forced to say anything more. They can also lie more directly and say something false, and not be compelled to correct themselves.

3) The court assumes that people will obey a court order. So when in my trial the judge, very rightly, took precautions to ensure that witnesses' statements would not be 'tainted' by what others said, and ordered that while each gave evidence the others would be excluded from the court, he assumed that he had made that order safe by also ordering them not talk to each other during the tea- and lunch-breaks about what had been said in court. He said 'You can talk about anything else. You can talk about the rugby, but must not talk about what has been said in court.' He assumed that they would obey him. But the two teenagers and the mother of the one who said he was hit and the prosecuting policeman went off together at the lunchbreak, and it was obvious when the second teenager gave his evidence afterwards that they had not restricted their conversation to the rugby.

Thus the openings for lies are wide, easily accessible, and cannot be blocked off by the smartest of lawyers. In a case like mine, when it is the word of two teenagers against one man, if the judge believes the liars there is nothing at all with which to counter it. There are many situations in life, for everyone, in which it would be impossible to prove the truth in a court of law. And no one can live preparing every moment for a possible court case. That would make life unendurable. So we are all vulnerable, especially if we have a public position, to being attacked by liars and having so little defence that we are vulnerable to a false conviction.

It was established in the trial that neither teenager saw the alleged blow, because they said they both had their backs to me. And one said he had his back to me when the alleged branch was allegedly picked up. Neither could describe the branch, except to say that it was two or three feet long and two inches in diameter (in spite of the fact that they are taught only in metrics, because New Zealand changed to metrics nearly twenty years before they were born, they both gave the measurements in imperial units, which showed that they had been coached by adults). They claimed not to know what the alleged branch looked like, whether it was rough or smooth, had cut or jagged ends, bark or no bark, projections or twigs or smaller branches. They claimed to know nothing at all about it, except its length and
thickness--in imperial units. Of that they were quite sure. They claimed that they were on my property because they had been taking a shortcut through an adjoining forest reserve, heading to a track southwest of their property, although my property is northeast from it--in exactly the opposite direction.

They claimed that they went my way because one of their dogs heard a noise and rushed off to investigate, and they had followed it,and did not catch up with until they got to my place--which is at least 100 metres away through what they admitted was thick, difficult forest. One of them described the noise as loud and startling. The other said he heard nothing; that only the dog heard it. The alleged victim also said that he had fallen against a tree, but denied that he had hit his head, only his shoulder. First he said he had fallen straight backwards, then when it was pointed out that he had also said that I was behind him he altered the direction he had fallen. So it went, point after point after point.

The complainants went to the police station two days after the alleged assault and to a chiropractor four days later. The only medical evidence presented was by the chiropractor who said that he could not be sure how the injuries that he was shown had occurred--a sore neck and some bruising on his head. He alleged that I had put it there with the non-existent branch. He lied.

The position of the bruise was pointed out by the alleged victim, the policeman and the chiropractor. The three positions did not coincide. The policeman pointed to the crown of the head, but admitted that he had not actually seen the bruise, the alleged victim pointed to a place forward of that, the chiropractor indicated tenderness from the crown across to where a baby has the fontanelle, and the judge did not think it was significant that it would be impossible to deliver a blow from behind and below that would get to the front of the head, which slopes away from anyone behind, especially below. The chiropractor said he could not sure when the injuries had occurred--that they could have occurred at any time during the previous week--i.e., at any time between the 23rd of May and the 29th inclusive. He was seen on the 29th, the police were seen on the 27th and the alleged assault was said to have occurred on the 25th. The chiropractor also said that the injuries could have sustained in many ways, such as by slipping and falling in the bush and hitting against something, and that he had no way of telling, from his examination, how they had been sustained--except for what the teenager had told him, and the chiropractor said that the mother was doing a lot of prompting. She would say something and the boy would agree.

The police admitted that they had not searched for a branch with my DNA on one end and the teenager's DNA on the other. They admitted that they had not called a doctor to examine the bruise on the 27th to establish whether it had been sustained on the 25th. They presented no physical or medical evidence of any kind to the provenance of what they 'saw' on the 27th, and they admitted that their entire case rested on the word of only one teenage trespasser.

The other one saw nothing even of the alleged assault, and even the alleged victim said he had had his back to me.

But the judge said he thought the teenagers were telling the truth. He ignored all the places where their testimonies differed, saying that those only proved that they had not been coached. He did not see the places where, to quote Hamlet, 'There is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties have not craft enough to cover.'

He has convicted an innocent man. He will sentence an innocent man. The lies have prevailed over the truth in what is meant to be a temple of truth before God.

And two teenagers have found that it is possible to lie to the police, and lie under oath in a court of law, and get away with it. That cannot do them any good, and it puts them on a slippery downward slope to ever-worse falsifications.