Very pleased to see some stories on Sophie Elliott, so that Weatherston’s warped version of reality is not the final say on her. The Herald reports:
While her family remember a loving daughter with everything to live for, prominent academics overseas have described her as having a “beautiful mind” and an exciting career ahead of her.
Peter Lambert, economics professor at the University of Oregon, Jean-Yves Duclos, editor of the Journal of Economic Inequality and economics professor at Laval University in Canada and Sir Tony Atkinson, professor of economics at Oxford University, said Sophie had remarkable ability for a young person, exhibited considerable prescience in her thinking and could have been a leader in the field of welfare economics.
Professor Lambert said a paper she wrote titled, Why measure inequality? A discussion of the concept of equality, which was published in this month’s edition of the Oxford University economics journal Oxonomics, was “easily the best essay on inequality” he had ever read.
Professor Duclos called the paper a “remarkable piece of research for such a young person”.
In a few paragraphs, Sophie had been able to strike right at the core of welfare economics and grasp many of its complex philosophical and ethical issues, he said.
“Elliott certainly had a beautiful mind.”
I recall reading, shortly after her murder, that her ambition was to be the first female Governor of the Reserve Bank, and thought what a wonderful ambition to have. And from the sounds of it, she may have got there if not for Weatherston.
Incidentially, does anyone have access to, or have a copy, of the paper which just got published? I’m interested to read it.
The Herald has a less flattering profile of Weatherston. While my thoughts are mainly with the Elliott family, I do feel great compassion for the Weatherston family also as they cope with the horror of what Clayton did and what he is.
They also talked to Lesley Elliott. I twittered yesterday that Lesley was my hero of the month for hugging after the verdict both Clayton’s mother, but also his lawyer – Judith Abblett-Kerr. True class. Lesley wants to:
In an interview with the Herald prior to the verdict, Mrs Elliott said she now wants to focus her energies on keeping young women away from abusive and dangerous relationships. Her daughter had complained of being assaulted by Weatherston prior to the killing.
“My legacy to Soph is to somehow get to girls in their late teens and twenties, when they start to date guys, and [explore] what is acceptable behaviour and what isn’t,” she told the Herald.
The sad reality is that if Sophie had dumped Weatherston the moment he became abusive, she might be alive today. And after he assaulted her she should have never seen him again. Her desire to try and end the relationship as friends, ironically acted against her.
The issue of whether provocation should be a partial defence to murder is canvassed in this article. I am with Women’s Refuge:
Women’s Refuge chief executive Heather Henare said: “Because of the way the defence was run, this trial became a perverse opportunity for a killer to continue to persecute his victim and her family after her death.
I actually think that was part of his plan all along.
“This trial turned justice inside out. The killer became the victim and Sophie Elliott was portrayed to us all as he chose to describe her. 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 television.”
Never has a defence strategy so backfired, in my opinion.
Stuff reports that the provocation partial defence may go:
Killers will lose the right to claim provocation as a defence after murderer Clayton Weatherston’s attempt to smear his victim.
It is understood Justice Minister Simon Power wants the controversial defence scrapped as soon as possible and will announce his intentions today.
I think such a move would be exceptionally popular.
Stephen Franks argues for why the partial defence should be retained. He says Judges should set a higher threshold for its use, but it should be retained:
From this case the judges should take a lesson, and simplify the defence of provocation. It should only relate to what would provoke ordinary reasonable people, not drunks or P addicts or nut cases, or homophobes. The judges should now punish those who turn it into mockery.
From other cases they should accept that ordinary people want the law to distinguish between those who start fights or cause trouble, and those who respond even if their response is “disproportionate”. The criminal should bear the risk of significant disproportionality in the response to thuggery, rape or robbery , even if common sense says the defence can only go so far.
The Press reveals the Weatherston defence team tried to get photos of Sophie’s wounds supressed:
King told the court that the autopsy photographs were highly prejudicial because of their graphic and disturbing nature. “They illustrate the painful death of a beautiful young lady in her prime, and the injuries are simply horrific,” King submitted.
He said they provided little, if any, probative value and would “likely distract the jury from their proper task in assessing the partial defence of provocation”.
King entered a “back-up submission” that three photographs showing the injuries to Elliott’s face should be removed.
I thought that number and nature of the wounds was an essential part of the case. I’m glad the Court of Appeal dismissed the defence’s application.
The court ruled that the submissions were “hopeless” and the photographs were highly relevant to the issues at trial.
They had been carefully chosen to minimise their prejudicial effect as much as possible.
“Any remaining prejudicial effect is a natural consequence of the nature of the wounds inflicted by Mr Weatherston,” the court ruled.