Key evidence 'bad science' - Lundy appeal

Key evidence was 'bad science'

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 05:00 19/06/2013
Mark Lundy family portrait
FAMILY PORTRAIT: Mark Lundy was convicted in 2002 of murdering his wife, Christine, and seven-year-old daughter Amber.

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A Crown pathologist relied on to establish the time of death for Mark Lundy’s wife and daughter reached his conclusions through "bad science" that was "fundamentally flawed", the Privy Council has heard.

In London last night, Mark Lundy’s lawyer David Hislop, QC, continued to outline the basis for the appeal against Lundy’s murder convictions early on the hearing’s second day.

Lundy, who maintains his innocence, is serving a 20-year minimum jail sentence after being found guilty of killing wife Christine, and daughter, Amber, 7, on August 29, 2000, in the family’s Palmerston North home.

At his trial, the Crown said the killings happened about 7pm, with cell phone records placing Lundy 150km away in Petone at 5.30 and 8.28. He was said to have driven home, gone to his bedroom and killed his wife and daughter, cleaned up and returned south in that time.

Christine and Amber Lundy bought McDonald’s for tea at 5.45 and Crown expert witness, pathologist Dr James Pang, gave evidence that the killings happened about one hour and 10 minutes after they ate.

He based his findings on stomach contents and "gastric smell", something other experts had labelled "bad science", Mr Hislop said.

When Lundy’s trial lawyers asked Dr Pang to find literature to back his technique, Dr Pang said texts were "inconclusive" when in fact they didn’t support him.

Dr Pang failed to weigh the stomach contents of the dead women.

That and other omissions left conclusions "fundamentally flawed", Mr Hislop said.

"His evidence was not foundered on any valid science."

When Dr Pang attended the murder scene, he did not physically examine the bodies. Instead he stood at the bedroom door.

Mr Hislop said Lundy’s defence team did not call evidence to contradict Dr Pang, leaving the jury with "only half the equation".

Other evidence against the 7pm time-of-death was a witness account of a light on at the Lundy house at 11pm. It had been turned off by the time the bodies were found the next morning.

Christine Lundy was also known to stay up late, so it would be strange for her to be in bed so early.

The Crown argued Lundy had phoned her and said he was coming home to make love, so she was waiting for that.

One of the five appeal judges, Lord Hughes of Ombersley, asked if the killings could have happened between 8.28pm and 11.30, by which time Lundy was with a prostitute in Petone.

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Mr Hislop said: "The difficulty one gets is, [eye witness] Margaret Dance sees someone, who on the Crown case is [Lundy] at 7.15 or 7.20pm".

Lundy was also said to have tampered with the family computer to make it appear to have shut down later that night.

Mr Hislop said on "proper examination" the computer was found to have a virus that could have been responsible for irregularities in the hard drive records.

On the first day of the hearing, Mr Hislop questioned the science behind two specks of human tissue on Lundy’s shirt being identified as brain matter, which the Crown said placed him at the murder scene.

Mr Hislop also alleged the police withheld key evidence from defence lawyers at the 2002 trial.

The appeal continues.

- Fairfax Media

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