Weatherston should never be released

July 22nd, 2009 at 11:22 am by David Farrar

The jury, thank God, has rejected Weatherston’s defence of provocation and found him guilty of murder.

This means he will be sentenced to life in prison. What is really important is what his non-parole period will be. It could be as small as ten years. I believe it must be much longer than that.

The actual murder by Weatherston is horrific enough. Rather than let Sophie go off to a new job and life in Wellington, he decided to firstly kill her, and then try to kill her reputation. He went around to her house with a knife, so he could murder her.

He did not just kill her but he slaughtered her. He did not strike her in anger. He slowly stabbed her to death torturing her. He cut off her nipples and nose and ears (and hair). He stabbed her in the genitals a massive amount of times. And he did it all while her mother was outside the door hearing her screams.

Then even worse he claimed she deserved it. He said he was “over it” – it being his killing of her. He got upset that people set up a trust for her. He got up in court and put her down at every occasion. He said he was not destroying her beauty because she wasn’t that attractive anyway. He joked that he was an arse man and her arse wasn’t that great.

I have never encountered such a wellspring of hatred towards one man. The e-mails, phone calls, conversations have been almost full of disbelief that such an evil unrepentant man could exist. His total lack of repentance was chilling.

And it is that total lack of repentance that means he must be locked away forever, if possible.  No-one could have any confidence that this man would not kill again, after his justifications for why he killed Sophie.

Weatherston’s own testimony condemned him. I can only assume it was against his lawyer’s advice. Every day as he testified, more and more people were outraged by him.

Personally I was disgusted by the defence put up. It was cruel and vindictive towards the Elliott family. It also backfired. Rather than succeed in painting Sophie as some sort of monster, she just came across as a pretty typical 22 year old girl – albeit a very bright one. And Weatherston came across as pretty much a sociopath.

The Elliotts have been through so much, I hope they can be spared having to turn up to parole board meetings in 10 or even 15 years time and arguing for why Weatherston should stay in jail.

National campaigned on a new sentence of “life without parole” for the worst murderers. Weatherston is the poster child for who should get such a sentence. It is a great pity the law has not yet been changed to allow such a sentence. But I do hope under current law he gets at least 20 – 25 years non-parole. Hell I hope he gets 150 years like Bernie Madoff, but the court has sentencing guidelines.

And while we are at it, we should get rid of the defence of provocation, so no other family of a murder victim has to put up with what the Elliots have had to endure. The Law Commission recommended in 2007 it should go. The Government should act on this and introduce a bill, or support the one by Charles Chauvel. That way there may be some small good, come out of this very tragic case.

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199 Responses to “Weatherston should never be released”

  1. cha (3,856 comments) says:

    Woohoo!!, and here’s to a long and miserable time in Pare ya murdering piece of shit.

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  2. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    Thank god. I was up all night worrying about this, but the jury came to the right verdict in the end.

    I hope this bastard burns in hell.

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  3. Pj (5 comments) says:

    Agree, abolish provocation.

    He should easily get AT LEAST 17 years as I’m sure this counts as a murder which was particularly brutal under s 104(e) Sentencing Act.

    Can’t believe it took so long for the jury to come back though!

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  4. annie (540 comments) says:

    Thank god. The worrying thing is – why did the jury take longer than half an hour?

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  5. David Farrar (1,875 comments) says:

    Around six hours all up. Not massively long but yeah most people are saying they would have needed only five minutes.

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  6. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    “I have never encountered such a wellspring of hatred towards one man”

    Oh I don’t know about that DPF, there are plenty of people who quiet rightly maintain the same level of hatred toward David Bain.

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  7. big bruv (13,571 comments) says:

    Can anybody give me one good reason why Weatherston should not be put to death?

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  8. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    He SHOULD get a minimum of at least 20 years non-parole, but whatever sentence is given, it is probably academic. Every inmate in every New Zealand prison will know who and what Weatherston is, and one day, there’ll be nowhere to hide.

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  9. Nigel (516 comments) says:

    I think the most evil New Zealander in my 42 years I have seen, the brutality of the act, combined with the cold & evil attempt to get off makes this unique to my knowledge.
    I think sentenced to a maximum length of imprisonment, but unable to be released without passing the most rigorous of Mental examinations would be appropriate.
    I fear someone of this nature is like a child molestor, reform is very very unlikely.

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  10. NOt1tocommentoften (436 comments) says:

    DPF – agree he will get life but remember there is no mandatory life penalty anymore. It’s only a presumption (and admittedly a pretty hard one to trump).

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  11. wreck1080 (3,820 comments) says:

    Clayton is a psychopath.

    I guess jury deliberation only lasted so long due to the provocation issue. Provocation as a defence needs to be dropped, and this case proves that.

    Provocation is understandable in extreme cases, such as abuse cases. Perhaps law makers need to include extreme cases as ‘self-defence’?

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  12. Ruby (110 comments) says:

    It’s unfortunate the defence succeeded in these other cases:

    Earlier this month 32-year-old Ferdinand Ambach was convicted of the manslaughter of Ronald Brown. Ambach killed Brown after he made sexual advances on him. He beat him with 2.7 kilogram banjo and rammed the broken-off neck of the banjo down his throat.

    Last year, Wellington woman Janine Waiwera Rongonui was freed by the parole board after her conviction for murder was overturned and downgraded to manslaughter at a retrial.

    Rongonui stabbed her neighbour Pheap Im to death in a frenzied attack in which more than 150 wounds were inflicted, including many to the face.

    Ad Feedback Rongonui had been suffering anti-social personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and dementia among a catalogue of other ills when the killing happened.

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  13. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    “Can anybody give me one good reason why Weatherston should not be put to death?”

    Because unfortunately it’s been repealed! having said that fingers crossed the gangs pull their weight and give back to society for once and “sort him out” in prison!

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  14. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Ablett Kerr has brought the whole defence counsel yet one more step into the shit in the gutter. It proves that some lawyers really have no heart or soul and must have a contract with the devil.
    It is beyond me how any human being could be in the same room with this animal without wanting to kill him, let alone spend weeks trying to minimalise his crime. And please, you legal people, spare me the academic bollocks about the “elegance and balance” of the legal argument as one of your group said in a post a while back. You need to be subhuman to defend a cockroach like this.

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  15. Falafulu Fisi (2,177 comments) says:

    The trial is not over folks! Wait till Joe Karam gets to be involved in Weatherston’s case in some months time.

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  16. capitald (72 comments) says:

    Weatherston will need to be in isolation for his own protection, especially now that he will be in the normal prison population. He will almost certainly be targeted, and while I am not by any means advocating violence, it is very clear that this guy will almost certainly be violently attacked in prison if he is left with other prisoners without protection.

    As I’ve said before, in a way, it is difficult to not turn a blind eye to such activity. It is cases like this that make it really hard to advocate safe prison environments.

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  17. Razork (375 comments) says:

    The only person that repulses me almost as much as Weatherston is Judith Ablett-Kerr; What an appalling piece of crap she is.

    [DPF: I'm not a fan of her, but it did seem to me that her client was directing the strategy, not her. Lawyers tell me no sane lawyer would ever advise letting the client testify. He obviously insisted, and she did have a job to do]

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  18. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    slightlyright – I am sure that the concept of “honour amongst thieves” will hold true. Weatherston will be the most despised prisoner in the nation’s muster. All it will take will be one of his smart-arse comments, and the deed will be done. In fact, if they knock his glasses off, he is likely to attack, in which case the assailant will be able to plead self-defence!!

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  19. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    The only good thing is that if another crim doesn’t kill him he will almost certainly top himself within a year. A narcissist like this will not be able to survive in solitary for long, no one to admire him, no one to tell him how clever he is.

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  20. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    One more retardo-verdict after Bain and it could have been the beginning of the end of the jury system.

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  21. J Mex (184 comments) says:

    Clayton Weatherson seem obsessed with comparing genital size with other men. He’s going to have plently of opportunity for that where he’s off to.

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  22. Cactus Kate (549 comments) says:

    “National campaigned on a new sentence of “life without parole” for the worst murderers. Weatherston is the poster child for who should get such a sentence”.

    new bloggers campaign I feel coming on DPF. Hop to it.

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  23. Le Grande Fromage (145 comments) says:

    If Weatherstons “she made fun of my tiny cock” provocation defence had of worked can you imagine how often Labour and Green supporters would be using it as an excuse in the future.

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  24. LauraNorda (27 comments) says:

    Well it only goes to prove my theory, that many Lawyers like Weatherstone’s defence council, are the only people paid to tell lies.

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  25. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Judith Ablett-Kerr is a Barrister, and once you are admitted to the Bar you are legally obliged to defend anyone who seeks your counsel.
    And you are legally obliged to take instructions and do the best you can.
    She has defended some people who others would have run away from if they could.
    Again this is a problem with having cameras in the courtroom and then broadcast into our living rooms. The professionals who are charged with providing a defence against the power of the state can have their personal reputations ruined because the news presenters make no attempt to explain the legal situation.
    There are technical grounds on which a Barrister can walk away from a defendent (and vice versa) but I am sure in this case he was too smart to make any of those mistakes.

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  26. Cerium (23,354 comments) says:

    This case was far far simpler than the Bain case. The killer was known. And the killer then made it obvious why he did it.

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  27. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    How superior is this fucknuckle going to feel when they stick the mop over his head for a wig and raspberry Raro for lipstick. Party in Clayton’s cell and everyone’s invited !

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  28. gomango (100 comments) says:

    He joked that he was an arse man and her arse wasn’t that great.

    Lucky Clayton is an “arse man.” That should make his stay in prison more enjoyable.

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  29. starboard (2,492 comments) says:

    ha..die you bastard weatherston..rot in hell motherf*****

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  30. Zapper (968 comments) says:

    I’d still have him as a close second to Len Demler as the most evil New Zealander. Killing your own daughter and her husband, disposing of the bodies and destroying evidence, testifying against someone else and helping put them in prison for 10 years all to secure your inheritance from your wife…now that is as cold as it gets.

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  31. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Owen McShane – are you telling me that a Barrister has no choice whatsoever in whether or not they defend someone? So do they run over your diary and schedule if you say you are booked up? I find that hard to believe.

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  32. LUCY (359 comments) says:

    He is someone that I really believe would kill again. He is so self absorbed that I believe he thinks whatever he does is right and if he hurts someone well they deserved it so he is ‘entitled’ to punish them. Scary really. I personally hope he never gets out.

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  33. annie (540 comments) says:

    I think the defence got too good a run with their ‘personality traits making the defendant vulnerable’ defence. A personality trait is not a personality disorder, and in any case people with a personality disorder are still expected to be able to obey the law.

    Furthermore, the DSM manuals are designed as descriptors, and a positive diagnosis from the manual is not evidence of a mental disorder, often just a description of the patient. For instance, I am a fullblown addict according to the DSM-IV criteria in that if I suddenly stop coffee, I get withdrawl symptoms – a 2-day headache. Coffee addiction is in there, along with all sorts of other quirky ‘disorders’.

    It’s time the prosecution got help to ask the right questions of defence psychiatrists – psychiatrists in my experience can be a bit institutionalised by their discipline – they often tend to be immersed in it to an extent that they can no longer see the wood for the trees. They also have a vested academic and financial interest in extending their discipline’s boundaries to include more and more people previously regarded as ‘normal’.

    Prosecution lawyers can’t be expected to see the holes in this sort of defence – they need broadbased psychiatric advice – from psychiatrists and probably GPs as well.

    DSM-IV is readily availabe on amazon – go there and search on “DSM”.

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  34. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    Your sentiments are totally mine. This person is a monster. He revictimised the Elliot family with this trial and so did his lawyer in her closing address. The trial was a spectacular failure which outraged the country.

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  35. NOt1tocommentoften (436 comments) says:

    Kaya – the grounds on which a lawyer can decline to act are prescribed in the Rules of Professional conduct which all lawyers are bound by. Work load is certainly one ground, but it should be used with caution. If you were to rely on it as a ground to decline acting and a complaint was made, you’d better be able to show the Law Society it was a genuine case or you’d be in strife.

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  36. fishe (145 comments) says:

    annie,

    Well said. Although I would be careful here without being in the courtroom – what the papers report and what the psychiatrists said may be different. E.g. the papers implied that he was diagnosed in a clinical sense with a personality disorder – I doubt the psychiatrists actually said this, but more so he had certain traits of the DSM criteria. Different than a clinical diagnosis, especially given how high functioning he was in general. (although of course we can also argue a clinical diagnosis for things like personality disorders is rather meaningless :P)

    But yeah, professionals that give testimonies like this really need to educate the court room/jury on the implications of what they are saying. I would assume that a certain amount of this happens, but more of it in the realm of psychiatric diagnoses can only be a good thing.

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  37. Atheist1 (174 comments) says:

    Good job. Bring on the shanks in prison. What is it with these pricks like Weatherstone, Veitch that abuse women and then blame women?? Disgusting.

    And as for that Ablett-Kerr. Total scum. Like all defence lawyers.

    [DPF: Ahem. Even those who defend innocent people?]

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  38. annie (540 comments) says:

    fishe – I was going on the testimony I saw in video or on TV when the defence psychiatrists were giving evidence.

    Some serious holepoking could have been made in the http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-ajax-edit-comments/implications of their evidence, to clarify what a personality trait means – not as much as it seemed to.

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  39. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    For instance, I am a fullblown addict according to the DSM-IV criteria in that if I suddenly stop coffee, I get withdrawl symptoms

    Unless your coffee habit is negatively impacting on you ability to live your life, I believe you are incorrect. You need to make a point of noting what criteria are required for a diagnosis and taking the level seriously.

    But in a more colloquial way, yes, it’s patently true that you are addicted to coffee. Well done.

    The thing about personality disorders IMHO is that they’re basically being a rotten/weird person rather than being insane. I’m told the raving narcissist diagnosis here is blatantly obvious to anyone familiar with the area.

    Pending consultation, I’d wager there are plenty of people more dangerous than him in the country. For example, I’m guessing he was angry rather than taking actual enjoyment in her suffering as such. Personality disorders don’t treat easy, but it might be feasible to teach him to avoid killing people in the future.

    But yeah. Guilty. Good. (for all that not guilty would have spead up a repeal of the defence)

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  40. TripeWryter (715 comments) says:

    I do hope that Judith Ablett-Kerr, QC, showered extra-hard at night. She appeared to be a total professional. I don’t know how she did it.

    The trial showed that Dr Weatherston to be rather bright, but really someone who had never grown up. It seems to me that for the first time in his life he has not been able to get away with it. What sickened me was how he seemed to enjoy dragging Sophie Elliott’s name and reputation through the most squalid of muck. How could any parent sit there and listen to that?
    And what sickened me, too, was how TVNZ , not content with running evidence in its news bulletins, which was the proper thing to do, but then decided to serve us up more in Close Up. Why? What was the ‘current affair’ in it? We’d already had the ‘news’.

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  41. annie (540 comments) says:

    lyndon – it certainly negatively impacts on my concentration and social functioning if I don’t get it , but I didn’t want to witter on about myself too much.

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  42. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,834 comments) says:

    I find the more vitriolic commentary on threads like this to be truly disgusting.

    Compare this with the dignified, gracious and conciliatory statement from Weatherson’ father whose heart must be completely broken.

    You people ought to hang your heads in shame.

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  43. chinch (2 comments) says:

    Total class for Lesley Elliot to hug Judith Ablett-Kerr.

    On the less classy front:

    “Clayton Weatherson seem obsessed with comparing genital size with other men. He’s going to have plently of opportunity for that where he’s off to.”

    He’ll be able to do it with his eyes closed and his back turned!

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  44. Atheist1 (174 comments) says:

    DPF – fair comment. I retract that but it reflects my anger at this case.

    I agree with this comment:

    Woman’s refuge described the trial as a “national disgrace” which gave Weatherston the opportunity to persecute Miss Elliott and her family after her death.

    “This trial turned justice inside out – the killer became the victim and Sophie Elliot was portrayed to us all as he chose to describe her,” chief executive Heather Henare said after the verdict.

    “Unfortunately for Clayton Weatherston, the jury didn’t buy it and nor did the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who watched him giggling on their televisions.”

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  45. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    First experiment in double bunking prisoners ought to be clayton and the guy who stabbed William Bell in the eye.

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  46. radar (319 comments) says:

    What I find interesting about this case is the fact that Weatherston clearly has mental issues, yet has managed to become a successful academic. Someone capable of this type of outrageous action should surely have demonstrated the type of behaviour prior to this that would have had an effect on his professional career. Surely he would have shown signs that he was a psychopath prior to murdering this poor girl? Or was he a schizophrenic?

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  47. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    We have watched Hollywood movies about crazed psycopaths. Weatherstone fitted the part perfectly and would be central castings choice for such a role. Even down to the “feministic” hairdo he looked like a serial killer in one of the Dirty Harry movies. And more recently in NO Country for Old Men. Holllywood always does something about the hair and Weatherstone played the part well. But alas the lengthy prison term would rule out all parts as the baddie in a Hollywood movie.

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  48. Lindsay (142 comments) says:

    Agree with Adolf. And I am also worried about getting rid of the traditional and occasionally justified defence of provocation as a knee jerk reaction to this travesty of its use.

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  49. voice of reason (491 comments) says:

    “And as for that Ablett-Kerr. Total scum. Like all defence lawyers.”

    What a ridiculous statement – Someone had to defend him, and to the best of their ability, and to follow client instructions no matter how stupid. In fact I think we can be thankful that Ablett-Kerr was able to do a professional job, IMO no doubt she knew Weatherston was making the jury’s job obvious even if he didn’t.

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  50. llew (1,533 comments) says:

    What I find interesting about this case is the fact that Weatherston clearly has mental issues, yet has managed to become a successful academic.

    Must. refrain. from. commenting…

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  51. rolla_fxgt (311 comments) says:

    I hope he’s the 1st prisoner to be double bunked, with some really scary rapist. Him being killed in jail although satisfying, would allow his family to get compensation.

    Drawn out torture is what he deserves, after all that’s what he did to Sophie.

    Thank you to the jury members for coming up with the only verdict.

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  52. alex Masterley (1,502 comments) says:

    Adolf F,
    Your 12:34. agreed.

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  53. gravedodger (1,528 comments) says:

    I am so grateful this lump of excrement did not attempt a defense of insanity. I will give credit to his legal team although his narscistic personality probably ruled it out. How much more would we have spent in support of such a defense then further costs to argue it.

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  54. David Farrar (1,875 comments) says:

    I don’t want Weatherston harmed in jail. I just want him out of the community, and the friends and family of Sophie can move on with their lives. And they should be able to do so without parole hearings dredging it all up again in just ten years.

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  55. jarbury (464 comments) says:

    So will the government adopt Lianne Dalziel’s private member’s bill to remove provocation as a defence?

    I agree with pretty much everything you’ve said DPF (there’s a first). Thank goodness the verdict was murder.

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  56. Cerium (23,354 comments) says:

    Would he qualify for preventative detention?

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  57. BlairM (2,307 comments) says:

    Judith Ablett Kerr is an excellent lawyer and I could only hope that, were I wrongfully charged with a crime, she would be the one advocating for me.

    Her job in this case was to argue manslaughter and she did that with distinction. She did not commit the crime, not excuse it, she carried out a role which all of us would want her to carry out should we find ourselves in that position – the most vigorous defence possible.

    We should be thanking her for allowing Wetherston to take the stand – it has almost certainly increased his sentence in the process.

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  58. Rich Prick (1,635 comments) says:

    I am just pleased that the denigration of the victim and her mother is over. That to me was an utter disgrace, particularly as the victim had no ability to reply.

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  59. kiwi in america (2,485 comments) says:

    Had Weatherstone lived in the US, in the non-death penalty states he’d get life without parole and in those with the death penalty, there’s no doubt he’d be sentenced to death. He perpetrated an act of pure evil and had not a skerrik of remorse. I’m not really a death sentence supporter but in his case I would have to say that it would be a deserving sentence.

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  60. Dave Mann (1,190 comments) says:

    So, Adolf, are you saying that, everything considered, it must have been a rather distressing time for poor Mr Weathston and that, even though he might have over-reacted a little bit to that tewwible Ms Elliott’s goading, we should try to see the chap’s point of view more? …. that maybe a good talking-to by the judge at the time he is sentenced will put him on the straight and narrow and we all hope he won’t be tempted to tweat all his girlfwiends like this in the future?… but that there is absolutely no need for the public to get too critical of what was, after all, an understandable although somewhat regrettable lack of judgement on Mr weatherston’s part….?

    Is that what you are saying?

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  61. ngaioconservative1 (10 comments) says:

    Censure Ablett Kerr!!!!

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  62. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Is that what you are saying?

    Almost word for word!

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  63. andrei (2,532 comments) says:

    A question to all of you who think that the provocation defense should go.

    Do you think Clayton Weatherston’s use of this defense did him any favors or did it reveal to the jury and the public at large for that matter, something about his character and that this might not have done him any favors what-so-ever?

    [DPF: In this case it did not, but again the victim's family should not have to be the ones put on trial]

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  64. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    What I find interesting about this case is the fact that Weatherston clearly has mental issues, yet has managed to become a successful academic. Someone capable of this type of outrageous action should surely have demonstrated the type of behaviour prior to this that would have had an effect on his professional career.

    No, he hasn’t become a successful academic. Rather, the Department at Otago has tried to support his PhD study by employing him as a tutor. This is a common arrangement on many campuses, whereby PhD students get a bit of classroom exposure, and a bit of extra income to help take pressure off that side.

    He has not been employed as an academic in any normal meaning of the world. Indeed, given his history of progress at Otago, there were certainly a number of red-flags that would have discouraged me from recommending him for a permanent appointment in my Department.

    That’s not to say that academics are by most standards, normal and well-balanced individuals. John Nash clearly had issues, yet got a Nobel prize in economics. The absent-minded professor is not entirely mythical. And for example, I suspect that I have a much higher preference for (physical) risk than most people. People are are slightly driven, smart and slightly obsessive are likely to excel in a more academic workplace. You won’t get published if you don’t believe in yourself and can cope with the pressure.

    Good verdict btw.

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  65. Straight Shooter (140 comments) says:

    I think DPF you’ve got it completely wrong on the facts. Besides the brutal act and Weatherston’s flawed personality, I found myself in the same horrible situation at university with a girlfriend who used me simply to propel herself into a better lifestyle and then systematically try to destroy me once she’d got all she wanted.

    While I was completing post graduate study I bought myself a penthouse apartment in a major city as an investment until I moved there when I completed my studies. I helped my girlfriend get a job at the firm I was lined up to work in. She lived in my penthouse and was paying rent.

    I found out that she was cheating on me with someone at her work, was backstabbing me to my colleagues and was not paying rent. When I flew up to figure out what was going on she got me served with a non-molestation order to prevent me from evicting her (and the other person I found in my bed). I found out later that she was accessing my bank accounts and telling everyone at work what I was up to. I was not up to much but for her it was all about power.

    The non-molestation order was removed, the bank paid compensation. After she got our mates to sign documents stating that we were de-facto she tried to claim my property – without success but I lost my friends by having to fight them in court.

    I ended up selling my apartment, moved to another city, another career and made new friends. There are some things women can accuse a man of where the mud sticks regardless of whether you prove your innocence.

    A fragile mind like Dr Weatherstons I can understand that he did feel his life was being destroyed, but I don’t agree with his actions in response. It is easier to move on outside of prison than inside it.

    [DPF: You seem to be projecting. Sophie did not move in with Weatherston. She did not fail to pay rent. he even tried to be nice and gave him a farewell gift. She did not accuse him of molestation. She did not try to clam his property. I'm sorry but you are projecting your bad relationship onto all women, if you think there is a comparison. And regardless nothing in either situation justified what Weatherston did.]

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  66. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    Good point andrei, but without the defence of provocation available to him, what other defence could Weatherston have employed?

    As far as Judith Ablett-Kerr and Greg King go, I don’t have a problem. Both were doing what was a most unpleasant job.

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  67. F E Smith (3,316 comments) says:

    Annie, and all of you who have criticised the psychs who gave evidence: Those men are extremely highly regarded in NZ, both in their profession and in the Courts. Moreover, they regularly appear for the prosecution as well, fulfilling the experts role of being completely independent.

    The judge found that there was an evidential basis for provocation to be considered by the jury, so consider that before you criticise the defence team or the psychiatrists.

    Kaya, so you and others accuse defence lawyers of lying to the courts on a regular basis and then have the effrontery to tell us we should instead lie about the state of our diary so we don’t take on a client we are otherwise obliged to represent? The fact is that with a case this big the event will always be so far out that most of us will have free time for it. The rest of your accusations are so far off base that I am not even going to bother responding to them.

    Other than that: Adolf, like Alex, I also wholeheartedly agree with your comment at 12.34.

    Edit: and BlairM: Well said and hear, hear!

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  68. Brian Smaller (4,029 comments) says:

    If he gets 25 years or 30 years non-parole, i am sure the Court of Appeal will reduce it like they did for that animal Reid, the killer of Emma Watson.

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  69. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    If he gets 25 years or 30 years non-parole, i am sure the Court of Appeal will reduce it like they did for that animal Reid, the killer of Emma Watson.

    That’s the problem with the prevailing attitude towards the justice system – as retribution. If he was seen rather as someone who is batshit insane enough to kill someone like he did, he would (should) not be released ever – assuming he is untreatable. You don’t let a sick person out of quarantine just because they’ve been in there for 20 or 30 or 40 years.

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  70. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    Compare this with the dignified, gracious and conciliatory statement from Weatherson’ father whose heart must be completely broken.

    Sorry Adolf, I disagree. If Weatherson’s parents help fund his defence as has been eluded to on this blog they have contributed to more suffering for the Elliott family.

    If his family put enough pressure on him to try for once in his life to act like a man and accept responsibility for his actions they could have likely saved the Elliott family a lot of suffering. I would be very interested to know if they help fund Ablett Kerr. If they did I do not feel any sympathy toward them.

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  71. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    @ FE Smith – well said. You, as a member of the bar, will have an insight into the dilemma that Ablett-Kerr and King have faced which few of us commenting here would have.

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  72. chiz (1,131 comments) says:

    DPF:Around six hours all up. Not massively long but yeah most people are saying they would have needed only five minutes.

    And yet the jurors in the David Bain only needed five hours? Hmmm.

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  73. happy-jacko (64 comments) says:

    This has been a dreadful tragety – no one has the right to take anothers life. The defense lawyers do it for money not for any other reason. They win some – they lose some- they go home at night and relax – just another day at the office.

    The crim gets a free TV show and we all watch in total discust. When will we all start to do something about it.? Probably never because we entertain ourselves with the latest and will watch TV tonight to seek our next big load of crap to get into.

    Those who are the true sufferers will never move on like those who do a big ranting rave and then go fishing. Spare a quiet thought when you are next fishing ,for those who can never get solace or be free from the grief. It may do more good than the violence on this blog can do.

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  74. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    I agree with Adolf and FES. Some of these comments are just stupid.

    As far as Weatherston goes, he looked to me like a case of some kind of autism. I cannot believe he has a normal brain.

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  75. happy-jacko (64 comments) says:

    With so much injustice in this life lets hope those who deserve deleiver injustice get it in the next life ( Thats if there is such a place to go to)

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  76. Brian Smaller (4,029 comments) says:

    Actually looking at more of the defence team inaction I think Ablett-Kerr looked like she was doing stuff by rote. She was like a cleaner cleanign a toilet. Messy work but someone has to do it.

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  77. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    If he was seen rather as someone who is batshit insane enough to kill someone like he did

    Except that two psychiatrists have testified that Clayton was not mentally ill and they would not support a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity. And those were the defence expert witnesses! (The crown was going to call rebuttal witnesses but decided not to because the defence witnesses were damning enough unchallenged). For Clayton to be insane requires him to have a recognized disease of the mind – merely having an grotesquely inflated sense of self-importance is not insanity.

    And mentally insane people can and do get released from hospital after committing horrific crimes. Mark Burton (not to be confused with Graeme) and Stephen Anderson spring to mind.

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  78. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    DPF, there are legitimate grounds for not only diminished responsibility to reduce the offence from murder to manslaughter but in some cases to being not guilty of anything at all. Stephen Franks put up a very good case.

    http://www.stephenfranks.co.nz/?p=2162#comments

    In the case of Weatherston the defence was without merit. This should either be strongly discouraged as Stephen suggests or the judge should not have allowed a defence like this in this particular case.

    [DPF: I disagree with Stephen on this. Provocation should affect the sentence but not be a partial defence. We need a clear message that killing people is wrong, no matter the provocation]

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  79. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Metcalph,

    They found that he wasn’t mentally ill by legal standards. Those definitions are informed by the retributive nature of our justice system. I suggest the standards be changed, widened, and dangerously ill people kept confined until proven safe, rather than after a given period of time.

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  80. AG (1,820 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller

    “If he gets 25 years or 30 years non-parole, i am sure the Court of Appeal will reduce it like they did for that animal Reid, the killer of Emma Watson.”

    You’re probably right. Because sentences in one case are linked to what sentences were handed down in other cases. So William Bell gets 30 years for three murders and a serious bashing, following multiple other crimes of violence. Graeme Burton got 26 years and Bruce Howse got 25 years for stabbing his two stepdaughters to death. Aren’t these all worse than Weatherston (horrible as that man and his acts are)? If so, it requires a longer sentence. But of course, if you don’t want such attempts at proportionality, then you can’t complain about trial judges setting sentences “too low” and demand the C. of A. increase them!

    For my money, I’d say he’ll get 19-20 years. But note this is just “non-parole” time. If, as DPF says, the guy is unsafe to be in society at the end of that time, there’s no immediate release.

    [DPF: If the non parole is at least 20 years, that at least gives the Elliots two decades before they have to put up with parole hearings. I hope there is a chance he gets in the 25 year or so range based on the exceptional brutality of the 216 wounds, and the total lack of remorse. At least Bell and Burton had a motive to their crimes - robbery and escape. Weatherston's was purely to cause harm to others]

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  81. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    We should be thanking her for allowing Wetherston to take the stand – it has almost certainly increased his sentence in the process.

    She didn’t really have a choice – if Clayton wanted to take the stand there was nothing she or Greg King would do. Practically the lowest point of the trial for her would have been to say that Sophie’s mother was an unreliable witness yet she is duty bound to make such arguments.

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  82. Paul Marsden (990 comments) says:

    Thank God society has only a handful of people like Weatherstone amongst it. He is undoubtedly a freak of nature whom by his own actions, have hurt and destroyed the lives of many innocent people. Gut wretching is an understatement. Regardless of his actions, he was afforded due process and whilst it made the rest of us gag with repulsion, he had the right to take the stand in his own defence. For those whose of you who lust for revenge, you can be assured it will be metered out to him in prison. For me, its just a terrible and sad tragedy for those that are left, particularly for her Mum, who’s inner strength and dignity, knows no bounds.

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  83. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    They found that he wasn’t mentally ill by legal standards. Those definitions are informed by the retributive nature of our justice system.

    False. Mental illness has a reality independent of your bullshit and narcissim is not and has never been recognized as a mental illness – it is a personality disorder.

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  84. Dave Mann (1,190 comments) says:

    Oh yes, Inventory2… hear hear!

    We should all be very grateful that we have wonderful people like Mrs Abject Cur to bravely and diligently attempt to destroy and defame the victims of people like that poor misguided Mr Weatherston. What a dilemma…. but what a brilliant idea to put the blame fairly and squarely where it belonged – on the victim and her provocation! A master stroke.

    I’m sure we would all like to extend our thanks and heartfelt sympathies to all the courageous and insightful men and women of the bar who daily put aside their all-too-intrusive sense of decency and humanity in order to defend what is, to ordinary sane people utterly indefensible. It must be so difficult for them at times.

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  85. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    For my money, I’d say he’ll get 19-20 years.

    Far more than that. He was already looking at 18 years minimum. But coupled with the lack of remorse and continued attempts to denigrate the victim, the only real question IMO is how close to three decades will his non-parole period be.

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  86. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    No, a defence must be allowed to put its evidence and argument to the jury without unnecessary interventions by the judge. It is up to the prosecution to defend the victim properly if necessary.

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  87. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    I am no supporter of the SST, but completely agree with your statements, preventative detention needs to be widened to include not only a danger to the public but also a henious crime committed with no remorse. This c*** comes the closest I can to supporting the death penalty, however in jail and throw away the key would do fine.

    In regards to provocation, should of gone years ago. The cases you can read where it has been found would make your stomach turn.

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  88. Jeff83 (771 comments) says:

    BB “Can anybody give me one good reason why Weatherston should not be put to death?”

    Purely so we dont sink to his level (clearly not actually his level) . I would agree he has no right to live, but I like to think we are better than that. Lock him up, throw away the key and let that be that.

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  89. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    False. Mental illness has a reality independent of your bullshit and narcissim is not and has never been recognized as a mental illness – it is a personality disorder.

    Metcalph,

    I’m aware of the definitions. I’m suggesting they be changed. Imagine if he had failed to kill her, but had still tried in the manner he did. Lower sentence again, but same proven insanity in my view. When someone has proven themselves dangerously ill, they should be locked up and treated until proven safe or dead – rather than “paying their debt to society” and being released.

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  90. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    I’m aware of the definitions.

    Sure doesn’t look like it.

    I’m suggesting they be changed

    Why? He had the knowledge what he did was morally wrong and he was not compelled to act upon it but freely chose to do so. What possible reason could be served by calling him insane? A verdict of insanity is not a life sentence without parole – Mark Burton and Stephen Anderson in the community less than ten years after they committed their murders.

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  91. Paul Marsden (990 comments) says:

    It is purely academic discusssing what defence one might or, might not put up in cases like this. Weatherstone is a dead-man walking.

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  92. MyNameIsJack (2,415 comments) says:

    Jeff83 (148) Vote: 1 0 Says:

    July 22nd, 2009 at 2:46 pm
    BB “Can anybody give me one good reason why Weatherston should not be put to death?”

    Purely so we dont sink to his level (clearly not actually his level) . I would agree he has no right to live, but I like to think we are better than that. Lock him up, throw away the key and let that be that.

    A couple more reasons

    1. It may help with vengeance, but it does nothing to reduce or prevent crime.

    2. A execution means sentence over, pain gone. 20 years or more jail means pain continues, always knowing the next day just brings more of the same. If punishment is whta you want, jail betas death anythime.

    3. Violence breeds violence.

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  93. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    was this cnut on legal aid ?

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  94. Cerium (23,354 comments) says:

    “And yet the jurors in the David Bain only needed five hours? Hmmm.”

    Maybe these jurors had read all the noise about “only five hours!”

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  95. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Yet another stunningly specious argument from Jack. If jail is so much worse than death why does every prisoner on death row run their appeals process to the very limit ?

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  96. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Why? He had the knowledge what he did was morally wrong and he was not compelled to act upon it but freely chose to do so. What possible reason could be served by calling him insane?

    Someone who freely chooses to do something so insane is insane. He has proven himself to be the kind of person who acts like this – insanely. His knowledge or ignorance of what is morally wrong is irrelevant to his status as the kind of person who does insane things.

    A verdict of insanity is not a life sentence without parole – Mark Burton and Stephen Anderson in the community less than ten years after they committed their murders.

    I’m suggesting that be changed too. From my view, Burton and Anderson would probably never be released.

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  97. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    “When someone has proven themselves dangerously ill, they should be locked up and treated until proven safe or dead – rather than “paying their debt to society” and being released.”

    I agree, but this is an argument for proper prisoner management and sentencing, not for court definitions. The question is whether the prisoner is dangerous, not whether he is insane by some definition.

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  98. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    I agree, but this is an argument for proper prisoner management and sentencing, not for court definitions. The question is whether the prisoner is dangerous, not whether he is insane by some definition.

    I still think it’s relevant. I don’t like the prevailing attitude that sane people can do insane things by “choosing” to.

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  99. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    @ Dave Mann – like it or not, every accused is entitled to a competent defence – that is a fundamental right under our justice system. But today, the justice system did its job.

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  100. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    “I still think it’s relevant. I don’t like the prevailing attitude that sane people can do insane things by “choosing” to.”

    There is no operational definition of “insanity”. There is a clear operational definition of “dangerous”. Therefore you can produce testable diagnostics for it. You can’t do that for “insanity”. You wind up arguing in circles as you have done above.

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  101. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    There is no operational definition of “insanity”. There is a clear operational definition of “dangerous”. Therefore you can produce testable diagnostics for it. You can’t do that for “insanity”. You wind up arguing in circles as you have done above.

    There’s no circle here. It’s very straightforward. Treat people who do these things as ill. If you don’t want to call that illness “insanity”, that’s fine, but it’s mental illness, perhaps treatable, and should be handled in the same way as you’d handle quarantining something deadly and highly infectious.

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  102. dime (9,685 comments) says:

    bruv – the guy should be put to death. he is beyond help.

    he will get his own cell in prison as hes a murderer – they never have to share.

    hopefully some gang makes him their bitch and pimps him out to other crims.

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  103. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    Someone who freely chooses to do something so insane is insane

    Wrong and wrong. Should you wish to have a productive discussion, use the standard definition of insanity rather than one that springs from your own private bullshit. Stabbing someone 216 times is not in and of itself an insane act. As it is, your argument boils down to he stabbed someone 216 times therefore he is insane, which amounts to little more than a trivial excuse for his bad behaviour. Rather than moan and groan about retribution imposed definitions (which clearly reveals you don’t know what the fuck you were talking about), you might ask yourself why it is so important to you that Clayton must have been insane when he killed Sophie Elliot?

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  104. Dave Mann (1,190 comments) says:

    Yes, Inventory2, you are right I guess in cold hard logical terms. However, I think most decent people would agree that trying to destroy the character and reputation of the victim is – in common with many of the other spurious techniques used by defence lawyers – goes way beyond the description of ‘competent defence’.

    I do agree with you that the justice system did its job on this occasion, though.

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  105. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    From my view, Burton and Anderson would probably never be released.

    Why? They were operating under schizophrenic delusions when they killed to such an extent that they did not know right from wrong and the nature of their illness is treatable. Mark Burton was working in a zoo two years ago and Stephen Anderson has been allowed visits into the community. But according to your supposedly more sophisticated definition of insanity, they should never be released?

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  106. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    To those who are critical of Judith Ablett-Kerr for representing Weatherston.

    You have no real idea of how the justice system works. It should never be an easy thing to put a man away in prison for life, and any person up before the courts should be defended as robustly as possible, as Weatherston was, no matter how distasteful.

    One can have a fair amount of faith in this conviction being a safe one, due in no small part to the fact that despite having one of the best high profile law minds in his corner, he was found guilty.

    Judith Ablett-Kerr’s professionalism is to be admired. We can only guess as to what she thought of her client, but given her background, and intellect, she may well have found the man as distasteful as all do. However, if she did, she will never say so in public, as this may prejudice the verdict and give rise to grounds for appeal.

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  107. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Ryan, you are wrong. People who do these things are all different. The action does not diagnose a particular illness nor a particular treatment for it. The cause may or may not be treatable.

    You do have a circular argument: Because they do this they are mentally ill. They did this because they are mentally ill. That takes us nowhere.

    What we do know is that they are dangerous and mustn’t be released while they still represent any risk to others (leaving aside considerations of punishment). Individual assessment and management is necessary.

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  108. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Why? They were operating under schizophrenic delusions when they killed to such an extent that they did not know right from wrong and the nature of their illness is treatable. Mark Burton was working in a zoo two years ago and Stephen Anderson has been allowed visits into the community. But according to your supposedly more sophisticated definition of insanity, they should never be released?

    No, my definitions don’t alter this one. I just mean that clearly they hadn’t been treated effectively.

    Wrong and wrong. Should you wish to have a productive discussion, use the standard definition of insanity rather than one that springs from your own private bullshit.

    I was using the word “insanity” because it’s what’s used in the part of our justice system that already recognises that some people need to be treated. I’m talking about expanding that attitude from the more narrowly defined group at the moment to the larger group of people who are very dangerous. As I said to Alan, you can use a different word if you like. The point is the attitude towards people who are proven – as Alan says – dangerous.

    Stabbing someone 216 times is not in and of itself an insane act. As it is, your argument boils down to he stabbed someone 216 times therefore he is insane, which amounts to little more than a trivial excuse for his bad behaviour. Rather than moan and groan about retribution imposed definitions (which clearly reveals you don’t know what the fuck you were talking about), you might ask yourself why it is so important to you that Clayton must have been insane when he killed Sophie Elliot?

    It’s important to me that society is rational. Like I said, we don’t have to use the word “insane” about Clayton. The only reason I used the term is because I would like the attitude we have towards insane people to be extended to dealing with people like Clayton. He has been proven dangerous because of the way his mind is, and the question of release should not be one of whether or not he has paid his debt to society, but whether or not he has proven that his mind is no longer that way. And if that’s not possible, the sensible thing to do would be to quarantine him for life.

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  109. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Ryan, you are wrong. People who do these things are all different. The action does not diagnose a particular illness nor a particular treatment for it. The cause may or may not be treatable.

    If not treatable, they should not be released. If treatable, they should be treated. The causes of the behaviour may be very different indeed from person to person, but the attitude towards it should be consistent.

    You do have a circular argument: Because they do this they are mentally ill. They did this because they are mentally ill. That takes us nowhere.

    That is not my argument. It is my suggested redefinition, which would make the above statements tautologous, rather than fallaciously supporting each other. They did these things because they are the kind of people who do these things. It’s not a circular argument, it’s a self-evident fact. My complaint is that we adopt a different attitude towards people who “do these things because they’re the kind of people who do these things” when defined as insane from the attitude we adopt towards people who “do these things because they’re the kind of people who do these things” who are defined as sane.

    The crucial point is that they have proven themselves to be the kinds of people who do these things, and there should be consistency in our approach. Why treat the schizophrenic but not the violent murderer? They’re both people who do what they do because they’re the kinds of people who do what they do.

    What we do know is that they are dangerous and mustn’t be released while they still represent any risk to others (leaving aside considerations of punishment). Individual assessment and management is necessary.

    I agree. However, I also think that we’d have a lot more success with rehabilitation and prevention if we did leave aside considerations of punishment.

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  110. lyndon (330 comments) says:

    If you start treating murderers special because they have a personality disorder, then you’re treating pretty much all of them special.

    This may not actually be a bad idea, but it would be a change.

    You probably won’t cure a personality disorder, especially if you were trying to staff programmes on a large scale. But you might well decrease the chance someone like that would harm someone else.

    On the other hand, let’s not give the man special extra time just because he’s a jerk.

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  111. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    “He has been proven dangerous because of the way his mind is, and the question of release should not be one of whether or not he has paid his debt to society, but whether or not he has proven that his mind is no longer that way.”

    Both factors apply. Forget about “insanity” because until and unless it has a physical identity (genetic or brain function) it is indefinable. First there is punishment and recompense to the victim. Second there is the safety of the public during and after release. These are completely separate issues and should be properly treated as separate by the justice system instead of being mixed up in the hopeless, hapless parole system.

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  112. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Ryan: “It’s not a circular argument, it’s a self-evident fact.”

    Tautologies contain no information.

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  113. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Both factors apply. Forget about “insanity” because until and unless it has a physical identity (genetic or brain function) it is indefinable. First there is punishment and recompense to the victim. Second there is the safety of the public during and after release. These are completely separate issues and should be properly treated as separate by the justice system instead of being mixed up in the hopeless, hapless parole system.

    Why have punishment as a factor for the “sane” murderer and not for the “insane” murderer? Especially when any focus on punishment saps any focus on rehabilitation.

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  114. dime (9,685 comments) says:

    ive posted this before but what the hell.

    after serving 11 years of a life sentence, my friend finally got to see a psychiatrist. she said to him “you only get to see me if you try to kill yourself, get into a fight or are up for parole”

    he had requested to see her 7 years earlier.

    this is also a guy that murdered his gf.

    that is just wrong. we should at least try to fix these people!

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  115. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Tautologies contain no information.

    Except for illustrating a definition, which was my intent. Or, in this case, a redefinition.

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  116. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Ryan: “Why have punishment as a factor for the “sane” murderer and not for the “insane” murderer? Especially when any focus on punishment saps any focus on rehabilitation.”

    I agree. There is no sense in the distinction. The courts should set appropriate punishment and recompense penalties. Corrections (actually private enterprise should take over) should be responsible for assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and release management.

    The Parole Board should be scrapped since it has an impossible and ridiculous job that no private organisation would ever contemplate as a reasonable solution to the problem.

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  117. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    I agree. There is no sense in the distinction. The courts should set appropriate punishment and recompense penalties. Corrections (actually private enterprise should take over) should be responsible for assessment, treatment, rehabilitation and release management.

    I’m not sure that private enterprise would have the incentive to prevent recidivism. But again, why should the courts set any punishment at all? As disincentive?

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  118. Bob (496 comments) says:

    My feelings towards this man are the same as everyone else’s. He is narcissistic, psychopathic and totally self centered with no sense of remorse. However I don’t agree with the principle of not allowing a claim of provocation. An accused has the right to have all evidence presented so it’s value can be ascertained. Provocation must be an important issue in the case of a woman murdering an abusive partner. It might seem grotesque in this case but wouldn’t be in all cases.

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  119. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    “But again, why should the courts set any punishment at all? As disincentive?”

    I think there are three valid reasons.

    a) disincentive,
    b) a form of recognition and recompense for victims,
    c) consistency.

    I suspect many perpetrators would actually respect these reasons and feel somewhat relieved of their guilt by them.

    But the punishments should not be excessive as they are now getting hopelessly mixed up with the public’s desire for protection. That should be entirely separate.

    Private enterprise will have whatever incentive it is given. My proposed one is that the entity managing the integration and release of prisoners will be entirely financially responsible for any criminal acts they commit.

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  120. Ryan Sproull (7,075 comments) says:

    Private enterprise will have whatever incentive it is given. My proposed one is that the entity managing the integration and release of prisoners will be entirely financially responsible for any criminal acts they commit.

    That makes sense. Good idea.

    As for punishment, I can understand disincentive, but when you say consistency – consistent with what? And when you say recognition and recompense for victims, this is to make them feel better by inflicting suffering on their aggressors?

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  121. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    Consistent with the criminal act. Same act, same punishment.

    “this is to make them feel better by inflicting suffering on their aggressors?”

    Yep. Financial recompense is preferable but where infeasible another penalty is required. It doesn’t have to be excessive but it should be recognisable.

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  122. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “big bruv

    Can anybody give me one good reason why Weatherston should not be put to death?”

    Because the state should not have the power to kill its own citizens. Unless of course you are a psudo-liberal conservative like your self, complete with a lack of intellectual rigor and shame, in which case you can justify anything to yourself.

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  123. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “Put it away

    One more retardo-verdict after Bain and it could have been the beginning of the end of the jury system.”

    Thats strange, as almost no one has a problem with the Bain verdict (which is highly inconsequential anyway) . You are either posturing or have no credibility in the first place?

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  124. NOt1tocommentoften (436 comments) says:

    racer1 – I wouldn’t be so sure regarding the Bain defence. Many in the know have rather large concerns with it.

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  125. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “andrei
    A question to all of you who think that the provocation defense should go.

    Do you think Clayton Weatherston’s use of this defense did him any favors or did it reveal to the jury and the public at large for that matter, something about his character and that this might not have done him any favors what-so-ever?”

    A question for andrei, are you sure you don’t just want people to be able to get of lightly for killing fags (or subhumans as you think they are)

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  126. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    ” NOt1tocommentoften
    racer1 – I wouldn’t be so sure regarding the Bain defence. Many in the know have rather large concerns with it.”

    Not inconsequential in a legal sense, but in consequential in a social sense. He was going to be out bloody soon anyway, he probably not going to get compensation anyway, no ones mind has been changed, those who always have thought he was innocent will still be happy to give him a job, and the other way around for those who are guilty. No one really thinks (if he did do it) that there is any chance he will reoffend.

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  127. Ruby (110 comments) says:

    # kiwi in america (744) Vote: Add rating 8 Subtract rating1 Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I’m not really a death sentence supporter but in his case I would have to say that it would be a deserving sentence.

    In that case you are a death sentence supporter then, FFS. I’m sick of people who want to have their high horse and sit on it too. The majority of people who support capital punishment are people who want it for devastating cases such as these, so don’t you think to yourself that you’re somehow morally superior to them. That’s the whole purpose of the argument in favour of the death penalty – to punish those who commit the worst of crimes.

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  128. Christopher (425 comments) says:

    I think one of the worst parts of the trial was where the supposed “attack” on the former boyfriend was used to show that Sophie had the potential to “lash out” at her boyfriends. Well, only two people know the truth of that incident, and with one of them dead you’d have thought they’d have asked the other one how it went down, eh?

    [DPF: Yeah would have expected prosecution to call to rebut, but maybe they thought no one was takin the claim seriously]

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  129. joeAverage (311 comments) says:

    A university educated person ,like most of KIWIBLOGGS posters, ITS A WORRY thank god im a tradesman and not a educated JACK THE RIPPER , sorry posters ,you rubbish me and HE IS ONE OF YOU. look in a mirror

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  130. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “# joeAverage (270) Vote: Add rating 0 Subtract rating 1 Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    A university educated person ,like most of KIWIBLOGGS posters, ITS A WORRY thank god im a tradesman and not a educated JACK THE RIPPER , sorry posters ,you rubbish me and HE IS ONE OF YOU. look in a mirror”

    He definitely would be a National supporter, so “one of kiwiblogs” in that sense, but you’ll see many posters here regularly denigrating university and those who go there. So not really “one of kiwiblogs” in that sense, I suspect more of them a semi illiterate, pseudo-neanderthal tradesmen like yourself.

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  131. racer1 (354 comments) says:

    “tvb
    Your sentiments are totally mine. This person is a monster. He revictimised the Elliot family with this trial and so did his lawyer in her closing address. The trial was a spectacular failure which outraged the country.”

    Yeah, people like Weatherston and Garth McViccar who constantly cause victimization really should be locked up in jail.

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  132. H Stewart (29 comments) says:

    I agree David the only good that can come from this is that the provocation defence will possibly be dumped. Simon Power is looking at this and will comment on it tomorrow it was reported tonight on National Radio.

    Provocation was, I gather a defense that was brought in when capital punishment was still available as a sentencing option. The example I saw quoted was when a guy comes home and finds his wife in bed with another man loses control and kills. That this must happen on a regular basis with out the resulting deaths suggests to me that it is a bad example and I have tried to think of a senario where provocation could be acceptable but haven’t suceeded but given that capital punishment is gone surely it is time to ditch this defense.

    I also endorse Catus Kate’s comment ” hop to it David ” and watching TV 1 news I see you have, as I type this

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  133. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    In the scenario below the person accused should not be found guilty of anything.

    http://www.stephenfranks.co.nz/?p=2162#comments

    If diminished responsibility is unacceptable as a defence for killing another human being why is their not a call to get rid of the crime on infanticide off the books and charge child killers with murder?

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  134. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Someone as delusional as Weatherston is most likely a labour supporter. Reality and the left have yet to be introduced.

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  135. Straight Shooter (140 comments) says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Weatherston appeals based on the conduct of the Elliot family and DPF preventing a fair trial. Check out this link and its members:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=102121957699&ref=nf

    This guy was always going to prison. All the people in the media trying to milk this one are making Weatherston’s appeal stronger.

    Trying to use this case to justify a law change is ridiculous. Should a victim’s reputation be challenged? If it suits the defence is the short answer.

    The character assassination job Sophie Elliot was doing on Weatherston got around the economics department, most of the commerce faculty and spread to several people in Treasury. Hell, it got to people in accounting firms and investment banks in London, New York, Melbourne and Sydney. Does a bitch suddenly become an angel when she’s murdered? No.

    I don’t feel sympathy for anyone in this mess. Everyone was as bad as eachother. Two bad people took eachother out. No one wins.

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  136. starboard (2,492 comments) says:

    Straight Shooter

    ..hey fuckwit…she did not deserve to die for it…asshole…

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  137. Julian (169 comments) says:

    This has been one of the more productive comment sessions on KB – and everyone seems united in their hatred of Weatherston. I don’t think he’s mentally ill at all – just a highly intelligent, narcissistic animal.

    As far as his defence goes, I agree that the Sophie Elliot and her family should not have had to go through this trial as it played out. But it would have left a very sour taste in the mouth had he simply been convicted with a sub-par defence team who was going through the motions, didn’t run the provocation defence etc. etc.

    And forgive me for re-posting the post below, but I think it’s exactly right:

    # slightlyrighty (1231) Vote: Add rating9 Subtract rating 5 Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    To those who are critical of Judith Ablett-Kerr for representing Weatherston.

    You have no real idea of how the justice system works. It should never be an easy thing to put a man away in prison for life, and any person up before the courts should be defended as robustly as possible, as Weatherston was, no matter how distasteful.

    One can have a fair amount of faith in this conviction being a safe one, due in no small part to the fact that despite having one of the best high profile law minds in his corner, he was found guilty.

    Judith Ablett-Kerr’s professionalism is to be admired. We can only guess as to what she thought of her client, but given her background, and intellect, she may well have found the man as distasteful as all do. However, if she did, she will never say so in public, as this may prejudice the verdict and give rise to grounds for appeal.

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  138. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    FE Smith – I didn’t make accusations unless you are referring to me saying:

    “Ablett Kerr has brought the whole defence counsel yet one more step into the shit in the gutter. It proves that some lawyers really have no heart or soul and must have a contract with the devil.”

    Those aren’t accusations, they are opinions, mine and many others who live on planet Earth and not in the rarified air of the legal elite. I was making the point that I don’t give a fuck if he was entitled to a defence or not. I wouldn’t have done it and nor would most normal people with a conscience. I would find a way to get out of it. This was a very different case from most requiring legal help. There was no argument about guilt and the defence was “vexatious and frivolous” – or a load of bollocks in plain English.

    You would no doubt agree with Metcalph when he said of Ablett-Kerr:

    “She didn’t really have a choice”…………Practically the lowest point of the trial for her would have been to say that Sophie’s mother was an unreliable witness yet she is duty bound to make such arguments.”

    That sounds like something from the Nuremburg Trials.

    Yes I do believe that defence lawyers regularly lie, even if it is only when repeating lies from their clients or when trying to win their case. Are you seriously trying to tell me that Ablett-Kerr believed she was telling the truth when she said her client was provoked? If it isn’t the truth then it’s a lie. If you can lie about that then a white lie to avoid hitting “the lowest point of the trial” would have been greeted with a solid round of applause from most people.

    We are meant to have a justice system. I believe there are too many in the legal profession, particularly the “celebrity” fuckwits who have no interest in justice. Who don’t give a shit about the victim or their family. They are only interested in winning to gain kudos amongst their peers or get their gob on the telly. They actually haven’t left the debating chamber at Uni. They probably never lost there either and aced all the case studies. This wasn’t a case study. Oh, and the free ads on telly probably help the business do quite nicely.

    I don’t say it applies to all in the legal profession, just seems to be the high profile cases. This one is particularly disgusting. Many do sterling work.

    One case I will be watching with interest is the work of Sonja Cooper with the “tip of the iceberg” 500 violence and sexual abuse cases. She says:

    “My calculation is that we are probably only acting for, at present, one percent of the potential victims.” Hmmmmm 50000 cases, could be another bumper year for country’s second highest legal aid earner at the end of 2007. $1,580,000 for the last 6 months of that year.

    http://www.lawfuel.co.nz/releases/release.asp?NewsID=181

    Sterling work indeed.

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  139. Banana Llama (1,105 comments) says:

    I hope he goes away for a very long time and gets the treatment he needs, so that one day he can comprehend the barbarity of the crime that he committed.

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  140. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    Straight Shooter why do you not use you real name are you related to that low life?

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  141. BR (82 comments) says:

    I would support the abolition of the defence of provocation in murder cases provided that this did not in any way compromise the fundamental human right of self defence. For example, if someone were physically attacked on the street, and responded by delivering a fatal punch to the assailant, the attack victim could be charged with murder without the right to claim provocation as a mitigating circumstance.

    For the record, I believe that Clayton Weatherston should be hanged for his crime.

    Bill.

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  142. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Ryan@3:45: There’s no circle here. It’s very straightforward. Treat people who do these things as ill. If you don’t want to call that illness “insanity”, that’s fine, but it’s mental illness, perhaps treatable, and should be handled in the same way as you’d handle quarantining something deadly and highly infectious.

    TV One tonight reminded us of two previously successful provocation defences: one where a young street guy bashed an old gay guy to death and another where a battered wife killed her husband.

    Prof Bill Hodge of Akld Law School reminded us of the defence rationale:

    Provocation plays an appropriate role in distinguishing between that form of homicide which is premeditated and deliberated and then that homicide which is intentional but which is not premeditated and deliberated

    So how do we design a law that prevents aholes like Weatherspoon and that street guy from availing themselves and at the same time allows that battered wife, access?

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  143. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    kaya, if a woman claimed she was suffering from battered woman’s syndrome and the lawyer did not believe it like in the case of Gaye Oakes do think the lawyer should have refrained from blackening the name of the man she killed?

    I was on a jury trial of a rape case where the guy was fitted. He had a top lawyer who shall remain nameless. Have the jury went to the pub and had drinks with this guy, his supporters and this lawyer. I had a good chat with this lawyer. He said he would not be caught dead talking to most of his clients on the street. He did mostly sex cases including those against children. Do you think lawyers shuld judge the case themselves and put up a shame defence if they think the guy is guilty?

    If Weatherston becomes critically ill do you think a good doctor should say let the bastard die?

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  144. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    Kaya:

    I wouldn’t have done it and nor would most normal people with a conscience. I would find a way to get out of it.

    A defense lawyer approached by a client isn’t allowed to excuse themselves without reason, as FE Smith referred to in his 1:46:

    Kaya, so you and others accuse defence lawyers of lying to the courts on a regular basis and then have the effrontery to tell us we should instead lie about the state of our diary so we don’t take on a client we are otherwise obliged to represent?

    I’m not a lawyer so don’t know the exact rules, but what about the bold bit, don’t you understand?

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  145. slightlyrighty (2,499 comments) says:

    Chuck,

    were you aware that Gaye Oakes’s lawyer was Judith Ablett-Kerr?

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  146. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Chuck Bird, I am saying that if I didn’t believe my client then I could not defend them with the required effort. My heart would not be in it and my conscience would not let me do it. I believe that in this case there was no defence and that for someone to represent this animal means they have to move themselves to a place that most of us would never want to go. Some people might admire that, I don’t.

    As for your second point, if the facts in front of me showed me a defence that I thought was viable I would run it. This case is relatively unique, as with Burton, Bell, Dixon and others. Heinous crime, no doubt about guilt, I wouldn’t have defended them either.

    As for your third point, I wouldn’t make a very good Doctor………

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  147. Inventory2 (10,185 comments) says:

    Straight Shooter – FYI – that group did not start until AFTER the jury had delivered its verdict.

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  148. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Reid – I understand fully, but as I said earlier, they don’t seem to have too much trouble lying at other times.

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  149. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    I did but I forgot. I am glad to see the jury did not buy that one either. In that case the defense I believe was genuinely an attempt to get her off.

    I do not believe that was the sole or even primary motive in running with that defense if the case of Weatherston. I think that sick bastard was as much interested in causing more pain to the Elliot family.

    I wonder if Ablett-Kerr could have refused to do some of the things she did?

    If it is true that Weatherston’s parents paid her then I hope pressure goes on them if they try to fund an appeal. They should tell their little boy if they want to see them again he should try to be a man for once in his life. It sounds like he never had his ass smacked when he was naughty.

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  150. Dave Mann (1,190 comments) says:

    Kaya wrote “FE Smith – I didn’t make accusations unless you are referring to me” etc etc etc

    That was a most articulate and well written reply. Thank you Kaya. I wish I could have put it so well.

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  151. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    Deleted

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  152. reid (16,111 comments) says:

    If it is true that Weatherston’s parents paid her then I hope pressure goes on them if they try to fund an appeal. They should tell their little boy if they want to see them again he should try to be a man for once in his life. It sounds like he never had his ass smacked when he was naughty.

    If any good can come out of this I think it would be more productive to think about why someone like him did what he did rather than the rather simplistic condemnation which all of us, probably, feel.

    He obviously had doting parents. As do many children.

    His family’s statement upon the verdict indicates they never understood he had that side to him.

    Obviously Sophie’s parents didn’t either, from the fact her mother let him in, in the first place.

    What turns such a person into someone who did what he did? That’s the lesson and that’s the tragedy.

    This is not a time for condemnation, it’s a time for understanding.

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  153. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    DPFProvocation should affect the sentence but not be a partial defence. We need a clear message that killing people is wrong, no matter the provocation

    The problem with this is that it removes the determination of an important finding about the homicide from the jury to the judge. If you were so angry that the Jury believed that Anbach was guilty of manslaughter, how much angrier would you be when Anbach was convicted of murder yet the Judge knocked off a few years because Anbach had been enraged at the homosexual passes he had received? (I use Anbach because Weatherston was simply abusing the system).

    Churck:if a woman claimed she was suffering from battered woman’s syndrome and the lawyer did not believe it like in the case of Gaye Oakes do think the lawyer should have refrained from blackening the name of the man she killed?

    Gaye Oakes is a tricky case – she wasn’t attacked but took preventive action against what she claimed to be an impending attack. She doped him with an overdose of sleeping pills and then smothered him with plastic wrap. Finally she got her friends to bury the corpse and lied about it for a year afterwards. Given there was also evidence that she had been hitting him, I’m not sure how anybody should feel that the verdict should be anything other than murder.

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  154. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    Kaya:You would no doubt agree with Metcalph when he said of Ablett-Kerr:

    “She didn’t really have a choice”…………Practically the lowest point of the trial for her would have been to say that Sophie’s mother was an unreliable witness yet she is duty bound to make such arguments.”

    That sounds like something from the Nuremburg Trials.

    I presume you are actually referring to the “I was only following orders” defence rather than the actual trials. Lovely. I should point out that the defence lawyers are obliged by law to defend their clients. They can’t go around saying to the jury “my client is guilty as sin and you should hang him” (although something of the kind was in fashion during Stalin’s show trials and Hussein’s Iraq).

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  155. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    I watched Mrs Elliot in her interview about the trial and thought what a remarkable women she is. She strikes me as such a typical NZer. Modest and unassuming and strong A bit like Sir Ed and other famous NZers – same charcteristcs. I admire her.

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  156. beautiful_music_freak (6 comments) says:

    I do not agree that Weatherston’s father’s statement was concillitory or particularly dignified. A dignified concillitory parent, to me, would have conveyed some sense of shame at what their son did and would not have been thankful for the trial, but regretful that thanks to the trial the Elliot family had to suffer even more. They also would not have focused almost entirely on their own needs and their son’s needs and have only mere “thoughts” for the Elliot family.

    I do not ‘blame’ the parents as such, but I do think the seeds of Clayton’s narcisism are somewhat evident in his father’s reaction – Clayton even now is still the poor victim who needs love and help…

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  157. Rich Prick (1,635 comments) says:

    Enlightening thread. This is exactly why I walked away from criminal law. It took just one case where the public’s anger towards a client was vented on me and my family for my just doing what I was duty bound to do. In hindsight, whilst it was aweful, it propelled me into other more fruitful areas. Perhaps those who wish to visit critcism on Counsel ought to consider the rules of professional conduct that bind lawyers. Then re-think your aweful comments directed at the profession.

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  158. beautiful_music_freak (6 comments) says:

    I think anyone who defends the defence of provocation on dry academic grounds is trivialising how cruel and inhumane a provocation trial is for the family and friends of the victim

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  159. F E Smith (3,316 comments) says:

    Kaya, you really don’t have a clue about what the role of a defence lawyer is so I am not going to try and debate you on it. I suspect that your opinions come from having absolutely no contact with defence counsel other than from the safety of your armchair.

    Try reading “Defending my enemy” by Aryeh Neier, or “Actual Innocence” by the founders of the Innocence Project. Neier especially gives great reasons why I am glad that the NZLS does insist on retaining the cab rank rule.

    Your comments are wrong, but you seem to have a hatred of defence lawyers that will take you past the point of reason.

    I challenge you to give me concrete examples of NZ defence lawyers lying to the court. I bet you can’t.

    Moreover, when you say “Are you seriously trying to tell me that Ablett-Kerr believed she was telling the truth when she said her client was provoked?” you only show that you are ignorant of the rules that we work under. Have a look at the relevant rule:

    13.5.4 A lawyer must not make submissions or express views to a court on any material evidence or material issue in a case in terms that convey or appear to convey the lawyer’s personal opinion on the merits of that evidence or issue.

    In other words, you haven’t a clue what Ablett-Kerr actually believes. The submissions she made to the jury were on the instructions of Weatherston and she was obliged to follow those instructions to the best of her ability.

    I could go further on this but, really, why bother? I know that you will continue your vituperative attacks on the defence bar so there really is no point in debating it with you. Which is a pity, because in so many of your other posts you sound so reasoned and reasonable. Here, however, you fall down. Get some real knowledge of the defence bar and then come back and let’s debate it. I am more than happy to accept that the ‘system’ can be improved. I do not accept that it can be improved by blackening the name of the defence bar because you weren’t allowed to summarily imprison someone you find distasteful.

    But one thing is for certain: Ablett-Kerr is not ‘sub-human’, as you call her.

    Rich Prick, I am really understanding your decision right now.

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  160. GPT1 (2,106 comments) says:

    Kaya – you really are a sanctimonious little person aren’t? And when you are challenged on having unbelievably arrogant, stupid and insulting ideas you go for the ‘wa wa, it’s just my opinion and i’m allowed my opinion’ defence. Fine. Price of free speech.

    And when someone points out to you the ethcial obligations of defence counsel you rush off to a quick Hitler analogy. If that’s not the sign of a weak and desperate argument is beyond me.

    The sad irony is that Mrs Elliot has shown eons more class than you. If anyone is entitled to an irrational hatred of the defence counsel it is her yet it was reported that they shared a hug. Perhaps an acknowledgment of the human cost of that trial.

    I know for a fact that both counsel, highly experienced, are emotionally drained by this particular trial but I guess that means nothing to you? You’d just much rather denigrate an entire profession because … Well, actually why? Because an accused had the temerity to insist on a fair trial?

    Still, no doubt if you are ever accused of a crime you won’t make use of a defence lawyer.

    You are a hateful, spiteful person. Get over yourself.

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  161. nigel201065 (38 comments) says:

    Could I just cut in and ask 2 questions for the people who support the abolition of the provocation defence (and just so people know I never thought this was going to work in this case). Is Battered woman Syndrome still classed as a provocation defence and as the Woman’s Refuge supported Gay Oates cold blooded murder of her husband as he slept will they now acknowledge that they got it wrong

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  162. tvb (4,261 comments) says:

    I do not think defence counsel particularly one as skilled and experienced as Ablett Kerr is totally powerless in the face of client instructions. There is such a thing as ADVICE to a client about their prospects of a successful defence and the risks of a trial – which in this case were substantual.

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  163. beautiful_music_freak (6 comments) says:

    I understand the duties of defence lawyers, it is just frustrating when they seem to produce smoke and mirrors to befuddle the jury rather than genuinely presenting an alternative scenario.

    It would also be nice if they could pretext everything they say with “my client claims…” or something like that, rather than presenting a whole lot of ludicrous propositions as established fact… (eg as in “Mrs Elliot IS an unreliable witness”).

    It is also disturbing when defence lawyers say non-sensical things and present them as absolutely making sense: eg the idea that blood on the pocket of the laptop bag PROVES SCIENTIFICALLY that Sophie attacked Clayton first with the scizzors – I mean, come on…

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  164. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    From what I have seen of Clayton’s father I do not feel that sorry for the Weatherston family. I cannot quote him word for word but it sounds to me like he supported the defence that Ablett-Kerr ran. If it stood a chance of reducing the time his scumbag son spent in jail any stress to the Elliot family was just collateral damage. If Clayton’s father paid for Ablett-Kerr and allowed the provocation defence as well as quotes from Sophie’s diary I do not feel sorry for him.

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  165. GPT1 (2,106 comments) says:

    Nigel BWS has been used successfully for the partial defence of provocation. Often a ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ argument. After years of abuse person snaps.

    TVB – you can give strenuous advice and if it is not taken written advice but at the end of the day unless it involves breaching a duty to the court or being party to a crime you have to follow your client’s instructions.

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  166. beautiful_music_freak (6 comments) says:

    Can the person above who disagrees with my frustrations with defence lawyers have the decency to explain why?

    I am a law student myself, I understand the principles involved. I however think that our whole legal system is pretexted on a peculiarly English world view, whereby the people who assume that view think it’s the best thing thing since sliced bread primarily because they have never in their lives stepped outside of that world view and seen how perverse it is if you do step outside of it.

    I personally believe our adversarial system of “justice” is not a lot more humane than the old Roman practice of feeding people to the lions for public spectacle.

    A system primarily focused on establishing degrees of culpability is inevitably going to operate at the expensive of causing incredible pain and trauma for the victims and their family and friends.

    I think lawyers who achieve the aims of our adversarial system with “smoke and mirrors” and bombardment of the jury with illogical and proposterous propositions presented as credible and factual just bring the whole system into disrepute.

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  167. Chuck Bird (4,773 comments) says:

    Nigel BWS has been used successfully for the partial defence of provocation. Often a ’straw that broke the camel’s back’ argument. After years of abuse person snaps.

    Or GPT1, as in the case of Gaye Oaks after years of abuse years of alleged abuse. Why did she come back from Australia to Doug Gardner if she was so abused? She got out after eight years although she was sentenced to ten years non parole.

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  168. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    I’m happy with the verdict, both because it means justice, but also because it shows how juries can get it right so easily, and it really makes public what was so wrong with Weatherston’s defense. My greatest concern was that one or tow people might abstain, feeling some kind of sympathy for Weatherston. But I shouldn’t have been concerned, it’s actually pretty hard to find people who think that even the Sophie that Weatherston tried to portray (which is probably not the real Sophie at all) was someone who would provoke any reasonable person to do what he did. A lot of people have had shitty relationships where they felt manipulated, but everyone can see the alternative course of action to brutal cold blooded murder – just walk away.

    I don’t think provocation should be removed as a defense, mainly because the barrier against it is the reasonableness of juries. It still seems conceivable that even a reasonable person could be provoked into insane rage, but it would take a hell of a lot more than anything Weatherston claimed happened to him (which could be overstated anyway, Sophie is no longer with us to tell her side). I think he was crazy not to have tried for an insanity defense, a real Catch-22 scenario there. Being on Prozac has led people I’ve known to have psychotic breaks. But instead he stuck to his remorseless ‘she provoked me and deserved it’ defense. It’s probably the nuttiest defense I’ve ever heard, a thinly veiled ego trip, in which he figured he was going to get murder so he might at least get to tell his story and have a few last stabs at Sophie with his mouth.

    It’s always unfortunate for the families of victims when perpetrators opt to defend themselves – the chance that they might get off is surely a stressful thing. But it’s still an important part of our justice system that people get to defend themselves, even when they’re patently obviously guilty. Quite aside from the important task of making sure that the innocent don’t get convicted, the other big benefit is that the public gets to weigh in on the whole thing. Weatherston had his day in court and he got to ask the question “Is being a proud, insecure person sufficient excuse to brutally slay someone who crosses you?”, to which pretty much the entirety of NZ, including the jury, gave a resounding NO response to. This sends a message to others with such ‘personality disorders’ that murder is not an option.

    Justice prevails. This a good verdict, and vindication of a good system.

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  169. lofty (1,304 comments) says:

    I personally agree with Ben.

    Any reasonable person can be provoked into actions they later despise themselves for.

    A commentator today talked about this case and put the supposition that if someone had entered the room while weatherston was carrying out his murderous deed, and killed weatherston to prevent or put a stop to the attack, surely this would be an act that would attract the defence of provocation.

    Am I being too simplistic?

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  170. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    It’s kind of hard to think of a provocation that would be enough, but wouldn’t amount to self-defense. Abuse is about all I can think of, if someone is subjected to abuse for long enough, and is in some way unable to just walk away (and not just because they are too proud or masochistic to), like they are imprisoned or blackmailed, then I guess I could understand and sympathize with provocation as a defense for enraged actions. But there was something so calculated and cold-blooded about Weatherston that it just wouldn’t fly. 216 cuts takes a long time to inflict, and somewhere quite early on I’m pretty sure Sophie would have clearly lost even the lamest semblance of a threat to Weatherston. I mean a woman armed with scissors isn’t much of a threat to an athletic guy even if he’s unarmed, and the fact that he had to get the knife out of his bag suggests it wasn’t just ‘snatched up in the heat of the moment’. Even having it in the bag is a pretty damning indication of premeditation, who the hell carries a kitchen knife around?

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  171. alex Masterley (1,502 comments) says:

    BMF,

    You are a student, you have time.

    Go and sit in on some criminal trials instead of sitting in library or behind a computer screen.
    You might find out what being a criminal defence lawyer is and what drives the people to represent people who most who comment on this blog would rather see being sent to the gulag for eternity.

    Also if you want to hear semantic arguments that their best go to the trial of a civil claim. The recent BNZ v IRC trial would have been a fine example of smoke and mirrors.

    Oh and Rich Prick I got out for much the same reasons.

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  172. F E Smith (3,316 comments) says:

    BMF: The thing about being a law student is that you are being exposed to the theoretical side of the profession. That is very important as it gives you the foundation on which you will base your practice, if you choose to join the profession.

    I remember when I was at law school myself I never intended on becoming a criminal defence lawyer. Always meant to go into civil litigation, and perhaps I should have.

    However, it does not matter what part of the profession you go into, what you will ultimately find is that your law degree does not prepare you for practice in the way you might expect. When you come out of law school you have a good amount of knowledge, but you realy are a babe in arms in the profession.

    What I am trying to say is that there are some things that don’t really become clear to you until you actually get involved.

    That said, I must point out that all legal systems, whether common law or civil law, are about apportionment of culpability. Societies have always punished wrongdoers according to their traditions. Even how we get there are similar, with both Common Law and Civil Law systems using the jury for major offences. Aftger all, Inquisitorial Judges are for investigations, not trials. Quite frankly, anybody who thinks that allowing the judge to ask the questions instead of counsel will suddenly produce a more gentle process where everybody tells the truth is deluding themselves. Anyway, don’t forget that in Civil Law systems the defence still get to cross-examine witnesses.

    I am interested in where you get this idea of ‘smoke and mirrors’ from. I suggest you head into the law library and have a read of the Rules of Client Care and Conduct to see the primary rules we work under. Then you need to consider the numerous cases that tell us how a trial is to be conducted that don’t get mentioned in your lectures. Could you please explain what you mean, perhaps with some examples?

    Edit: Alex, very nicely put. And civil claims do take the cake for unnecessary expense and time. Compared to them the criminal process is over in a flash!

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  173. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Surely BMF is just kidding? I mean “I personally believe our adversarial system of “justice” is not a lot more humane than the old Roman practice of feeding people to the lions for public spectacle.” isn’t for real, is it?

    OK there’s definitely an element of spectacle about high profile cases. But it’s a spectacle of justice, in it’s various conniptions, rather than slaughter. People are allowed to bring whatever stupid arguments they want, because people can judge for themselves when an argument is stupid.

    By way of analogy, I don’t think that BMF’s comment brings Kiwiblog into disrepute. It’s just a silly hyperbolic comment, easily seen by people of normal mind.

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  174. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    This thread puts me irresistibly in mind of Churchill’s comment that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

    Despite that, juries generally work, probably because they are faced with a concrete case and don’t have to envisage all the possible twists and turns of human conflicts, passions and problems.

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  175. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    They also work because no one can accuse a randomly selected jury of taking an elitist or politically biased position. Well not biased against the ‘norms of society’ anyway. The intuitions of juries are meant to reflect society at large, and sampling that society is an excellent way to get that. Having a judge make the whole decision has so many biases in there it’s just not funny. Juries are forced to look at all the evidence, and then they are meant to deliberate, so it’s hardly like a 5 minute conversation with the average voter. It’s more like being stuck with a group of normal people for a week, all earnestly focused on making one important decision. Usually the decision at the end is pretty well informed, and the nice thing about juries is that technicalities don’t have anywhere near the same power over them as they do over professionals.

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  176. Madeleine (230 comments) says:

    The partial defence of provocation must remain. The system worked. Weatherston’s attempt at provocation rightly failed and as you point out David, in making it he suceeded in making himself look worse and Sophie gained more sympathy, distasteful as the process was. Further, we all understand as a community that the court was right to deem this man a murderer.

    John Stuart Mill was right, truth becomes more evident and thus, more valuable, when it has been permitted to grapple with falsehood.

    We need a partial defence of provocation for those instances where one’s actions in committing a homicide are understandable but not excusable. There is a difference between the likes of Weatherston and someone who goes too far in response to a situation we all understand is extremely difficult.

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  177. Billybouy (4 comments) says:

    I dont understand,secretly we all hope he gets badly hurt before he dies a horrible death in prison but our politicians won`t change the law! Somone said , i hope he gets at least 20 years, What a joke! Death !! Clear cases like Clayton (the man when your not realy a man ) and the other animals like Daly who killed and tourtered Karla Kardano are clear cases. Sue Bradford runs around with her realy bad hair spending all her time getting the smaking bill made law, why? Why not change the law to harsher penalties NOW!!! Build a super prison like in Waioru next to the army and the same in ChCh make them unpleasnt places to be but with training and support for release.
    If you think Clayton is our worst take a look at sensible sentencing NZ data base. Come on NZ fight to change the law it`s our right, politicians work for us.If a dog bites a person ,it is put down, because it will bite again and has shown its nature.
    Clear cut cases means the death penalty!

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  178. Billybouy (4 comments) says:

    It pisses me off, how much money was spent on up gradeing govt house, setteling Moari claims and other things that could wait, but we hear our prison`s are over crowded and under staffed. And some twat judge wants to release the not so bad one`s ! Dose she not know they are only in for the crimes they were caught for! The millions of $ spent on Gvt house should have gone to the police or prison sector. Bet the Moaris wont give diddly from their big payout to upgrade prisons or set up a re-hab center for prisoners or trying to teach their people that crime affects all people. Change the law!!!!

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  179. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    Ben Wilson: I think he was crazy not to have tried for an insanity defense, a real Catch-22 scenario there.

    He cannot try for an insanity defense if there is no evidence of mental illness (and personality disorders are not mental illnesses).

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  180. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    Lofty: A commentator today talked about this case and put the supposition that if someone had entered the room while weatherston was carrying out his murderous deed, and killed weatherston to prevent or put a stop to the attack, surely this would be an act that would attract the defence of provocation.

    The commentator is wrong. The defence is one of justifiable force as defined in s41 and s48 of the Crimes Act and would be a complete defense. You will strike problems if you killed Clayton when you reasonably could have prevented the crime without doing so, but it’s going to be pretty hard to get a jury to convict.

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  181. metcalph (1,412 comments) says:

    Ben Wilson: 216 cuts takes a long time to inflict, and somewhere quite early on I’m pretty sure Sophie would have clearly lost even the lamest semblance of a threat to Weatherston.

    Clayton’s bullshit was not that he was defending himself but that he lost control when attacked with the scissors regardless of how credible a threat she was.

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  182. Emma1 (6 comments) says:

    God why could this not have been sorted out ages ago! the mother saw him do it, of course he did it. He should have al that done back to him then he can die and burn in hell

    BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY! :)

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  183. Billybouy (4 comments) says:

    We will never get anywhere untill, we all say NO! The law must be changed and must be harsh. It is then the criminals choice to act. NZ is not like India or some poor country where crime is almost a must to survive. Crime in this country is just because they can. Bank tellers killed, Pizza delivery workers killed, school girls killed, home invasions, it is because it is a staunch thing to do, a chosen way of life. Get your head around the way THEY think. Its not how we think its how they think.Look now at how many under age kids are doing serious crime! You know why, cos the they know they wont be punished! And the gangs use them for that purpose. Boy racers, same, we let them do it! No one likes them and their noisey friggen cars. But we let them do their cars up with modifications that are realy just extentions of their manhood and wonder why they kill themselves ,anoy us and are generaly just a pain in the arse to us all. Lets face it ,they could go somewhere quiet to race or burn out, but like to be seen and be heard. We let them! When the first over size muffler was brought into the country , did no one say , shut that down. Its not just Wetherston, its our politicians, start dealing with the shit out there, gangs dont put up with crap inside their own.We are the only ones that put up with the nandy pandy soft aproach, Harden up NZ or they will take over!!

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  184. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    FE Smith – My first post was emotive, I apologise, I was very angry. I’ve obviously touched a nerve though I never imagined lawyers to be so sensitive.

    No I don’t have a hatred of all defence lawyers, read my original post again, I am talking about a few specific cases. I find it impossible to understand how SOME can defend the indefensible. I am a layperson, so you can quote law society rules till the cows do whatever they do, it doesn’t make it right.
    My analogy re the Nuremburg trials is spot on, they aren’t forced to do this at the barrel of a gun. “More than my jobs worth” is not a reason.
    If the girl’s father had killed Weatherston after finding him stabbing her then that would have been grounds for a defence of provocation. (And a medal).

    I do believe most defence counsel do a good job and I’m sure Ablett-Kerr is usually excellent but not in this case. The use of a defence of provocation was wrong both from a legal point of view and a moral one. As to saying she acted under his instruction, again, refer my Nuremburg analogy. The victim and her family did not deserve what they were subjected to.

    I said once before, the legal system is like the Windows operating system, ancient, overcomplicated, has been tinkered with repeatedly, gets more complex every year without need and could do with being torn apart and designed from scratch. The result would be an improvement on the antiquated system we have now.

    GPT1 – your response to my opinion of Weatherston’s defence was vitriolic and incomprehensible, you don’t discuss any of the points and need a bib and strong medication. You are obviously a 3rd year law student. Go back to your case study.

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  185. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Alan Wilkinson – “This thread puts me irresistibly in mind of Churchill’s comment that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.”

    That comment put me irresistibly in mind of Helen Klark…….

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  186. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    “That comment put me irresistibly in mind of Helen Klark…….”

    In or out of her fuckme boots??

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  187. Alan Wilkinson (1,850 comments) says:

    kaya, I doubt it. Churchill was a Tory. Labour relies on ignorant voters.

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  188. Billybouy (4 comments) says:

    You are getting caught up in who`s intelectuall ( and who can spell) in this discussion The law my friends, the law. And still you are not addressing what we shud do with these people. What happin`s the nex time ? If Clayton Wetherston was under 15yrs old what would we do ? And it will happen if we don`t change the laws. Re Celia Lashlie`s book forcastes on the future. As people we are dumb.! Did you watch Police Ten 7 tonite.?

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  189. whalehunter (478 comments) says:

    i can understand the lawyers defending the system. but the issues here are simple and obviously the solutions not so.

    it is shocking, the treatment of the family and the victim. no compo and no apology.

    the cost of a trial like this.

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  190. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Johnboy – eeewwww! You’re not a well boy are ya. :)

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  191. Emma1 (6 comments) says:

    Man my comments are just short and to the point compared to all these detailed arguments!

    KILL HIM!

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  192. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    True kaya. I keep having these dreadful nightmares where I imagine my name is Matt and I thrash around in bed at night dreaming of my ideal socialist sex symbol and all I can see are visions of Helen and Laila in jackboots with (and this is really weird) brief flashes of Maryan Street. Do you think I need Psychiatric help or should I just surrender to the passion and join the EPMU.

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  193. kaya (1,360 comments) says:

    Johnboy I have heard mixing valium and vodka can induce similar hallucinations, they will pass when you straighten out. Mind you the Maryan Street is a concern. Never the EPMU! NEVER!!!

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  194. Johnboy (15,602 comments) says:

    Never realised that Matt was on valium and vodka till now. That would explain it all. Have taken your advice and will stick to scotch from now on, turn gay and join the Labour Party. God knows poor old Phil Gaffe needs all the help he can get from rational chaps like me. Pip pip old boy off to sign up and wave the red flag. Up the workers.

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  195. Straight Shooter (140 comments) says:

    Did you see Close Up tonight with Weatherston’s lawyer Greg King being interviewed live? Expect an appeal on the Weatherston verdict. The media and government officials couldn’t keep their mouth shut until the verdict was known.

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  196. Rich Prick (1,635 comments) says:

    F E Smith and Alex Masterly, thanks for the closing comments that you both made. Perhaps readers of this blog ought to understand that a lawyer’s first duty is to the Court, and secondly to the client. Absolutely no duty whatsoever is owed to the media or the public at large. Hate the practical effect of that as much as you like, just don’t take it out on the poor souls who have to work within those constraints.

    As an aside though, the moment that Counsel engage with the media outside of the Court, as far as I’m concerned its all bets off. Some lawyers just can’t help themselves.

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  197. Ben Wilson (523 comments) says:

    Metcalph

    He cannot try for an insanity defense if there is no evidence of mental illness (and personality disorders are not mental illnesses).

    I get that, but finding some evidence of mental illness is not the hardest thing in the world for a crime like this. It doesn’t have to be convincing evidence, that is for the jury to decide. I’m surprised it was never considered as an option – like I said it’s kind of a Catch 22 situation – you’d kind of have to be nuts not to try for an insanity defense having done something as ….. nutty as what Weatherston did. I figure it’s really on the lawyer to make those kind of recommendations, but it seems like Weatherston dictated how the defense was going to be run, because he wanted his days in court. For him to even stand as a witness seemed completely lacking in judgment – usually people accused of murder are advised not to take the stand, because however much they want to tell their story, it’s extremely easy for the prosecution barrister to heckle them, thus showing their nasty side to the entire courtroom (and in this case, the entire country).

    Ben Wilson: 216 cuts takes a long time to inflict, and somewhere quite early on I’m pretty sure Sophie would have clearly lost even the lamest semblance of a threat to Weatherston.

    Clayton’s bullshit was not that he was defending himself but that he lost control when attacked with the scissors regardless of how credible a threat she was.

    Yeah it’s a pretty shitty defense, I reckon. “I lost control” could be used as a justification for pretty much any action at all, and seems to be used that way whenever I hear it (usually in the context of violence). It’s almost always used as an excuse for knocking family or partners around, strangely the same people seem to have plenty of control when confronted by strangers.

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  198. madbilly (31 comments) says:

    I am a defence lawyer and have completed a number of trials. And I feel personally embarassed at the way the defence for Weatherston was run. IMHO not only was it a long shot in a legal sense, I consider that it was also poor strategy. The object is to persuade a jury, not to alienate it spectacularly by dragging the reputation of a dead young woman through the mud. I consider it was extremely poor judgement – any “benefit” derived by exploiting the deceased’s (entirely normal) sex life must surely have been outweighed by the prejudice incurred by the jury’s disgust at the tactic.

    Defence lawyers have a hard enough time in the public eye as it is. Nevertheless, we remain the buffer between the police and police state. I should point out that a number of my colleagues have expressed dismay at the overall shamelessness of the defence in this case. We should not all be tarred with the same brush. Sophie was obviously a beautiful, exceptional young woman and I cannot even begin to imagine the sense of loss her parents must feel. Their stoicism and dignity has been the only thing worth admiring in this trial.

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  199. Sandy (47 comments) says:

    I assume that being a narcissist who knows best Clay gave Ablett Kerr no choice but to do it his way, his strategy. Hopefully she had him sign a release so he can not later claim she cocked up with bad advice.

    Anyway – he did it all to gain immortalisation. This is what he contemplated on in those few minutes of silence he sat in her room working himself up. The mutilation was his insurance policy to ensure maximal publicity.
    Their Mid age crisis is commonly a tragedy for narcissists targets, was apparent in this case too as he was coming to realise he was not getting the unlimited recognition as a brain that he craved – the need was peaked, alternative methods needed.

    The best possible contribution that bloggers and media could make is a pact to never ever speak his name again. The more notoriety and interest, the better the high for him (these guys are adrenalin junkies and attention makes it pump). Without fame & hate of others he is and has nothing – narcissists are hollow and only exist in reflections from or reactions of others. Let him disappear from the historic record, as all the fuss just encourages other narcissists to get the guts to cross the line.

    Look at how a gunman went “out in a blaze of glory” like his role model Molenaar he claimed lately. I’d say delete his name from all posts and substitute with “Mr Smith”.

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