Coroner say Chris Kahui did it

July 26th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Kahui twins met a violent death while in the sole care of their father , who went on to lie repeatedly to protect himself from blame, a has found.

Mr Kahui, who was found not guilty of the murder of sons Chris and Cru in a 2008 High Court trial, has rejected the findings outright and reaffirmed he denies any involvement in the untimely deaths of his babies.

A report released today by coroner Garry Evans finds that Mr Kahui was alone with the 3-month-olds for at least three minutes on the day they received their fatal injuries in 2006. …

The coroner’s finding states: “The court is satisfied . . . to the required standard of proof, that the traumatic brain injuries suffered by Chris and Cru Kahui were incurred by them during the afternoon/early evening of 12 June 2006, whilst they were in the sole custody, care and control of their father at 22 Courtenay Crescent, Mangere, Auckland.”

Despite family wanting to take the babies to hospital after the incident, Mr Kahui refused. …

Mr Evans finds that, during the resulting police and coronial investigations, Mr Kahui repeatedly lied and changed his evidence.

“The evidence given by Chris Kahui was unreliable, conflicting and, on many occasions, untrue. The court [meaning Mr Evans] formed a poor view of his credibility.

Not as good as a criminal conviction, but at least the truth has been established by the Coroner.

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66 Responses to “Coroner say Chris Kahui did it”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,443 comments) says:

    I’ve been advised by several independant sources that Kahui’s legal team has been fighting the release of the coroner’s report for several months, and that this is not as strong a condemnation as Garry Evans originally prepared after hearing all the evidence.

    It’s hardly surprising that Lorraine Smith et al fought to have the original report suppresed or edited. It most certainly cannot have painted Kahui in a favourable light. Even the editied version is damning towards Kahui.

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  2. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    Overheard in a cafe yesterday, someone reading the DomPost: “I always thought he killed them. What an animal. He’ll need to spend the rest of his life looking over his shoulder”.

    KS – I’m sure ‘his’ legal team have been fighting. Gotta crank those billables! Do you know if they being paid from public or private sources?

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  3. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > at least the truth has been established by the Coroner

    The coroner has given his opinion. There is quite a big difference between truth and opinion. I would note that Chris Kahui rejects the coroner’s opinion. The coroner is human, and like all humans is not infallible.

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  4. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    One only has to look at the report from the second coronial inquiry into the death of Azaria Chamberlain to see how fallible coroners are. The coroner conlcuded that Azaria had been murdered by her mother. His report contains serious factual errors. With respect to Garry Evans, he is not the arbiter of truth.

    http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/courtsupp/coroner/findings/other/chamberlain_3.pdf

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  5. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    I would note that Chris Kahui rejects the coroner’s opinion.

    Well, he would, wouldn’t he? Considering Kahui’s documented lies and stubborn refusal to take his twins to the hospital, he doesn’t have a lot of credibility left.

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  6. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    Tell you what, Ross69. Why don’t you try reading the report and point out what errors you see in there?

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  7. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    So, Metcalph, if he’s innocent, you’re suggesting he should confess to the crime anyway? I guess that’s one way to expedite “justice”. How long did it take jurors to acquit him – one minute from memory…

    I take it you haven’t read the coroner’s report into the “murder” of Azaria Chamberlain.

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  8. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    I guess that is one way to expedite “justice”. How long did it take jurors to acquit him – one minute from memory…

    The jury were fuckwits who abdicated their responsibility.

    I take it you haven’t read the report into the “murder” of Azaria Chamberlain.

    As a matter of fact I have. Now why don’t you try reading the Kahui Coroner’s report?

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  9. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    metcalph 7:59 – That’s a bit unfair. I expect there are some long words in there :)

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  10. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > The jury were fuckwits who abdicated their responsibility.

    So you’ve met each juror and spoken with them? Given that they heard the evidence and you didn’t, I’d take your opinion with a grain of salt.

    You didn’t answer the question – if he’s innocent, he should confess anyway to make you and others happy?

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  11. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    It would have been nice if the coroner recommended that MPs should not interfere with police investigations, particualrly homicide investigations. I hear Sharples saying that we are somehow responsible. Sharples should STFU.

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  12. James Stephenson (2,234 comments) says:

    The jury were fuckwits who abdicated their responsibility.

    No, the police and prosecution were fuckwits that tried to hang sole responsibility on the father by using the mother as their star witness. When the jury saw the disfunctional train-wreck that was Ms King on the stand, what other verdict would we expect?

    Now, can we put the pair of them and the grandfather in the dock for whatever that “Failure to provide…” charge is and lock them all away for a stretch?

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  13. Bed Rater (239 comments) says:

    Clearly we need legislation introduced that overrules the current process for establishing criminal liability.

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  14. tvb (4,519 comments) says:

    I am not sure of the Coroner’s opinion. Three minutes alone with the children is a very short time to inflict horrific injuries. I accept the Coroner found Kahui’s evidence unconvincing but having formed an unfavorable view of his credibility it is a leap to say he is guilty of horrific crimes. I hope the Coroner’s opinion gets taken on review but I suspect it will not. I feel in a case as important as this the Coroner’s hearing should have been undertaken by a Senior High Court Judge who is experienced in fact finding in complex civil and criminal trials.

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  15. mister nui (1,030 comments) says:

    tvb, give me 3 minutes alone with Chris Kahui and let’s see what horrific injuries he comes away with.

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  16. tvb (4,519 comments) says:

    I presume there will be a Coroners hearing into the Scott Guy homicide. I hope that hearing is undertaken by a High Court Judge.

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  17. James Stephenson (2,234 comments) says:

    @tvb – the injuries weren’t so horrific that there was obvious injury and it took six days, SIX FUCKING DAYS!, for the babies to die.

    I don’t think it’s any kind of a stretch for the coroner to come to the conclusion that a immature 18 year old father, already angry that the mother had dumped the kids on him for the second night running while she fucked off partying again, couldn’t deal with one of those “won’t stop crying” situations and bashed them. The actions of the next few days and after the kids’ deaths certainly look like those of a guilty individual trying to avoid discovery and then blame.

    I don’t get the “no involvement” finding with respect to the Mother, IMO she’s equally complicit in the failure to get them medical attention that would apparently have saved their lives.

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  18. Yvette (2,854 comments) says:

    I hear Sharples saying that we are somehow responsible.

    My memory may be fucking fading, but wasn’t Sharples among those, then Police Commissioner Howard Broad included, who thought the family should grieve [and get their stories sorted] before police spoke to them?

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  19. RRM (10,034 comments) says:

    I’m quite strongly inclined to believe the coroner is probably spot on.

    But I’m not going to paint this opinion as ***THE TRUTH*** and I’m surprised that dpf (who well understands the meanings of guilty, not guilty, and innocent) would.

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  20. Murray (8,847 comments) says:

    ross69 says kahui is the innocent victim in all this…waaaaaahahahahahaha.

    Why don’t you compre him to christ just to be sure ross.

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  21. Manolo (14,086 comments) says:

    He’s innocent. Just ask Pita Sharples.

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  22. backster (2,185 comments) says:

    “The jury were fuckwits who abdicated their responsibility.”

    No, invariably they are only stooges for the Judge, asked to come to a decision after hearing only that portion of evidence that the Judge and counsel agree that they should hear, and unlike the coronor, sometimes kept in ignorance of testimony that would remove any doubts from their mind. They don’t even get to hear from the defendant, only some dramatic invented statement on his behalf from his counsel….This case was also killed by the Politically correct decision to favour Maori Culture over efficient Police Enquiry at the time.

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  23. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    On page 7 of Evans’ report, the coroner says, quoting from a prior judgement:

    “…it should not be forgotten that an inquest is a fact finding exercise and not a method of apportioning guilt. The procedure and rules of evidence which are suitable for one are unsuitable for the other. In an inquest it should never be forgotten that there are no parties, there is no indictment, there is no prosecution, there is no defence, there is no trial, simply an attempt to establish facts. It is an inquisitorial process, a process of investigation quite unlike a criminal trial … The function of an inquest is to seek out and record as many of the facts concerning the death as [the] public interest requires.”

    Seems as if the media, and perhaps Neil McLean, have gotten ahead of themselves. Guilt has been apportioned even though that isn’t the function of a coronial inquiry.

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  24. wreck1080 (3,972 comments) says:

    not beyond reasonable doubt though.

    I don’t get how the jury didn’t convict —- if the coroner stated facts established at the trial , then, why not?

    So, we can officially call Chris Kahui a baby murderer who got off?

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  25. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    “My memory may be fucking fading, but wasn’t Sharples among those, then Police Commissioner Howard Broad ”

    Your memory definitely is not failing in regard Sharples. You may well be right about Broad. As I said in an early post the coroner should have recommended that MPs but out of police investigations.

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  26. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    tvb: :Little babies are incredibly fragile when it comes to brain injury. It takes 20 seconds to throw two babies against a wall which is probably what happened here…Even picking them up by one limb and throwing then hard onto their cot mattress could have done it.

    One thing that is not readily known about this case is the police attempted to hide from the defence that Maxyna’s cell phone took a call in the Mangere area within the time period the injuries were inflicted. Her claim, and the police theory of the case, had her on the other side of Auckland all night.

    Like others, I tend to think the whole sorry bunch of them should have been prosecuted with whatever charge(s) was appropriate…I am not a criminal lawyer, but there are a few that could have been proceeded with.

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  27. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    You didn’t answer the question – if he’s innocent, he should confess anyway to make you and others happy?

    He’s not innocent so the hypothetical is pointless.

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  28. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    No, the police and prosecution were fuckwits that tried to hang sole responsibility on the father by using the mother as their star witness. When the jury saw the disfunctional train-wreck that was Ms King on the stand, what other verdict would we expect?

    Regardless of how awful Maczyne King is, the fact remains she was not in the vicinity of the twins when the fatal injuries were inflicted. That her behaviour caused Kahui to belt the kids is understandable but it does not make her guilty for their deaths nor does it absolve Kahui.

    If the Jury had considered Ms King’s character in their deliberations as you suggest they did, then they were abdicating their responsibility.

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  29. kowtow (8,784 comments) says:

    Bigger picture.

    This society ,or sections of it have a huge problem with disfunctional “families”.

    We will continue to see these cases.

    It’s progressivism and we reap as we sow.

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  30. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    If the Jury had considered Ms King’s character in their deliberations as you suggest they did, then they were abdicating their responsibility.

    Juries are perfectly entitled to use a witness’s character and demeanor when assessing whether to accept their evidence as true or reject it as false.

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  31. David Garrett (7,565 comments) says:

    metcalph: There is a pretty wide window to time during which the injuries are thought to have been inflicted…and her first claim to have been in West Auckland all night was proved false.

    That said, I agree with your middle paragraph….they were both responsible for what happened, whichever of the two losers actually threw them against the wall on that particular occasion. And the autopsies showed they had been subjected to violence more than once in their short sad lives.

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  32. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    We could save a lot of money if we got rid of judges and juries and just let the coroner decide who is guilty.

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  33. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    There is a pretty wide window to time during which the injuries are thought to have been inflicted…and her first claim to have been in West Auckland all night was proved false.

    There is a wide window in which the injuries were inflicted on the basis of medical evidence. However when meshed with witness evidence, the coroner came up with three or four different scenarios in which they could have been inflicted (and one or two were suggested by Kahui’s own lawyers) and found them wanting.

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  34. tvb (4,519 comments) says:

    If it is not the function of a coroners’ inquiry to apportion guilt, why then did the Coroner make fairly firm findings on WHO in his opinion caused the death of the children.

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  35. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    Juries are perfectly entitled to use a witness’s character and demeanor when assessing whether to accept their evidence as true or reject it as false.

    But they weren’t using it to accept Ms King’s evidence, they were using it to assess whether Kahui was guilty or not solely on the basis of her (appalling) character. The evidence was there for Kahui to have inflicted the fatal injuries – the evidence was not there was Maxcyne to have done so, no matter how bad she was.

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  36. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > We could save a lot of money if we got rid of judges and juries and just let the coroner decide who is guilty.

    So true, Chuck. If we left it to coroners to decide guilt, Lindy Chamberlain might have only recently been released from prison, seeing as the second coroner believed she’d murdered her daughter. Is the issue about saving money, or justice?

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  37. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > He’s not innocent so the hypothetical is pointless.

    Oh jolly good. Why have a coronial inquiry when there is a Kiwiblog poster who can magically determine guilt or innocence!!

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  38. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    krazykiwi,

    Gotta crank those billables! 

    Not a concept that applies to a case taken on legal aid.

    I don’t necessarily accept that a coroners verdict represents the ‘truth’ of a matter. It is also a judgment call, much like a jury’s, but at a lower standard, which probably makes all of the difference. 

    However, I was told at the time of the verdict that people who had sat through the trial saw the not guilty verdict as being inevitable based upon the case presented, regardless of who actually did it.

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  39. Manolo (14,086 comments) says:

    And this beast roams free to continue begetting children who are likely to repeat the cycle. The same goes for the “mother” of the murdered baby.

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  40. Nostalgia-NZ (5,283 comments) says:

    It’s the Coroner’s opinion, for me that doesn’t usurp the trial.

    It came out at the trial that Chris was a ‘story’ changer, that seems one of the fundamentals of the Coroner’s opinion. I’ve seen individuals fully in fear for their lives prove unconvincing when they were telling the truth, also the utterly guilty cool in denial.

    Judith Collins has handled this situation well in her press release yesterday, and I think the OIC did the same. Good to see them leaving the hysteria to message boards where the Jury or Sharples gets the blame.

    Although it’s of no possible consequence I’ve met Kahui, if he’s either a bright spark or potentially violent it seems too well hidden to be true. The Jury had a much better opportunity that any of us to judge that, and would certainly have been looking for it. I can well imagine that Macsyna ‘walked over’ him, a history of violence between the two may have shown another side to Kahui. I didn’t closely follow the trial but maybe there was evidence of that.

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  41. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    It is also a judgment call, much like a jury’s, but at a lower standard, which probably makes all of the difference.

    The Coroner did state that he was satisfied on the balance of probabilities, but then stated that if he had applied the wrong standard, he could also say that he was “sure”. Which, as you’ll know, is a word commonly used by judges explaining to juries what beyond reasonable doubt actually means.

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  42. Graeme Edgeler (3,290 comments) says:

    We could save a lot of money if we got rid of judges and juries and just let the coroner decide who is guilty.

    That would cost more money in this case. $2m or so for the costs of Kahui’s life sentence.

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  43. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    I think we would not be having this debate it were not for Sharples. It really pissed me off hearing him on the radio say we are all responsible. He should man up and accept responsibility for interfering with a police homicide investigation. It is highly likely we would have got a conviction or convictions if did not give them time to collaborate their stories.

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  44. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    “Which, as you’ll know, is a word commonly used by judges explaining to juries what beyond reasonable doubt actually means.”

    The explanation we got for a reasonable doubt was a reasonable doubt.

    I would be interested if you could quantify what a reasonable doubt it. 1 in 10 or 1 in a million.

    I have never found a solicitor who could roughly quantify a reasonable doubt.

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  45. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    “That would cost more money in this case. $2m or so for the costs of Kahui’s life sentence.”

    I was of course not serious. I am not overly impressed with many coroner’s recommendations.

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  46. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Chuck,

    There is no possible way to quantify what reasonable doubt means. What Graeme was referring to the word that judges use to tell jurors what the term ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ means. Judges tell a jury (and themselves, in summary cases) that it means that they are sure that the person committed the offence. Personally, I think that it is a good way of working it out.

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  47. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    “There is no possible way to quantify what reasonable doubt means.”

    I do not see why. I not not think 1 in 10 – a figure people might use as there is famous quotation that uses it is far too low a hurdle to get over.

    I using “sure” as a defination as many bloggers are often sure of things with very little evidence. This current debate being a good example.

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  48. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    One expert claims the twins may have died of natural causes. His opinion cannot be found, nor is it even referred to, in the coroner’s report.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/115114/kahui-twins-039died-natural-causes039

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  49. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    A discussion about Shaken Baby Syndrome and Barlow’s Disease.

    http://www.jpands.org/vol9no3/clemetson.pdf

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  50. Mark (1,493 comments) says:

    As much as we all might like it to be so this does not prove that Chris Kahui is guilty. It is simply is that Gary Evans thinks he is based on the evidence placed before him. based on what I have read I probably agree with Evans but it does not change the Murder verdict.

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  51. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    However, I was told at the time of the verdict that people who had sat through the trial saw the not guilty verdict as being inevitable based upon the case presented, regardless of who actually did it.

    I would have more confidence in the jury’s decision that there was reasonable doubt had they deliberated for far more than seven minutes. Even the Jury which convicted Colin Bouwer took an hour to deliberate in spite of his pathological lying (and even then his lawyers attempted to use the shortness of deliberation to ask for a new trial).

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  52. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    Reflections on Shaken Baby Syndrome.

    http://www.jpands.org/vol10no2/orient.pdf

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  53. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    His opinion cannot be found, nor is it even referred to, in the coroner’s report.

    So you’ve read the report? What did you think of it? As for the reason why the alleged expert’s opinion was not referred to was that even Chris Kahui’s own lawyers felt his testimony was not credible enough to be put forward to the inquest.

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  54. Nostalgia-NZ (5,283 comments) says:

    ross69 12.20

    I read snippets of such material before, that’s a very clear explanation of other arguments I’ve read on the matter.

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  55. Northland Wahine (667 comments) says:

    If the coroner thought that Chris Kahui killed the babies, he should have said just that. He didnt…

    The coroner’s finding states: “The court is satisfied . . . to the required standard of proof, that the traumatic brain injuries suffered by Chris and Cru Kahui were incurred by them during the afternoon/early evening of 12 June 2006, whilst they were in the sole custody, care and control of their father at 22 Courtenay Crescent, Mangere, Auckland.”

    Only one person knows for sure who killed those poor babies. And He/she/they will take it to their grave.

    Both parents should be sterilized…end of…

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  56. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Metcalph,

    It is not unheard of for juries to come up with a verdict in a short period of time. Especially over longish trial, it can be quite easy for the jury members have a pretty firm opinion before beginning their deliberations. What the 7 minute verdict means is that none of the jurors felt that the Crown had made them sure of Kahui’s guilt. That being the case, why should they deliberate any longer, simply as a sop to people who want them to appear to have a discussion?

    If anything, the 7 minute time frame is a serious indictment on the quality of the Crown case. I can assure you that had the jury found him guilty in 7 minutes then there would have been no criticism of the time frame.

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  57. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    FES, you are absolutely right. When I was on a three day jury we had largely made up our minds before the judges summing up. His summing up confirmed that the accused was totally innocent. We did not take much over the 7 minutes.

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  58. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    Chuck,

    I think that many people commenting on cases such as this use the word ‘sure’ when they actually mean ‘presume’.

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  59. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > even Chris Kahui’s own lawyers felt his testimony was not credible enough to be put forward to the inquest.

    Well, that’s your opinion.

    Yes, I’ve read the coroner’s report. It’s interesting that he hasn’t seriously considered any other alternative explanations. And of course, he has inferred guilt even though “an inquest is a fact finding exercise and not a method of apportioning guilt.” I recall similar certainty from Professor Sir Roy Meadow, who concluded at the trial of Sally Clark that two children dying of cot death from the same (affluent) family was about 1 in 73 million. Clark was wrongly convicted of murdering her 2 kids. The kids, it seems, likely died of natural causes. Jurors may have been swayed by the professor’s expert testimony. Clark later committed suicide after serving more than 3 years in prison. A terrible tragedy that could so easily have been avoided.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sally_Clark

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  60. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    It’s interesting that [the coroner] hasn’t seriously considered any other alternative explanations.

    So Ross69 has not in fact read the report. I thought as much. If you want me to reconsider my opinion, point out facts and errors of judgment made by the coroner IN THE REPORT rather clucth at straws like the Second Chamberlain Inquest or Roy Meadows.

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  61. metcalph (1,436 comments) says:

    It is not unheard of for juries to come up with a verdict in a short period of time. Especially over longish trial, it can be quite easy for the jury members have a pretty firm opinion before beginning their deliberations.

    Could you then name another major trial on serious charges in which the Jury returned a verdict in less than ten minutes? Even if they had strong opinions, they still had a duty to deliberate on all the evidence. By way of example, consider the Weatherstone Jury which took about a day to decide on what was a slam dunk. Likewise Ewan McDonald had a cast-iron alibi and the Crown’s case was dead in the water even before the defence decided to play it safe and call two expert witnesses. How long did they take? About a day.

    Considering the Coroner’s report and the arguments that he made, I have no doubt the jury was grossly negligent in discharging its duty.

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  62. Chuck Bird (4,929 comments) says:

    “Considering the Coroner’s report and the arguments that he made, I have no doubt the jury was grossly negligent in discharging its duty.”

    Nonsense. I just mentioned a three day trial I was on. It was a rape trial. We took a lot less than half an hour to reach a verdict. It would have been 7 minutes as well if it was not for a guy who quickly volunteered to be foreman.

    We discussed the evidence at every break. The judge confirmed what was obvious. The guy was not just not guilty but totally innocent. The case should never have gone to court.

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  63. F E Smith (3,307 comments) says:

    well, metcalph, just give your name to the MoJ and tell them that you are the only person they ever need to be a juror. You and Scott Chris, perhaps. I am astounded at how confidently you are able to discuss something that you have no connection with.

    Perhaps after reading Chuck’s 1.53 comment, you should reconsider your statement.

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  64. Alan Wilkinson (1,901 comments) says:

    The only person who has gone up in my estimation over this is Judith Collins. Her response has been unexpectedly well-considered.

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  65. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > So Ross69 has not in fact read the report.

    I have read the report but judging by your silly comments, you haven’t. Feel free to post something constructive but I won’t hold my breath.

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  66. ross69 (3,652 comments) says:

    > Considering the Coroner’s report and the arguments that he made

    The coroner is not the arbiter of truth. Furthermore, some of his arguments were tested in court and were found to be seriously wanting. In addition he traversed inadmissible evidence and went beyond his ambit by apportioning guilt. Other than that, it’s a well-considered report.

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