Crown defending expert Lundy witness

JIMMY ELLINGHAM
Last updated 23:39 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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The Crown is defending its expert witness who identified a physical link between convicted double-murderer Mark Lundy and the bloody scene of his wife and daughter's deaths.

Deputy solicitor-general Cameron Mander tonight told the Privy Council in London that Texan pathologist Dr Rodney Miller had vast experience in the area of immunohistochemistry, or IHC, the technique used to identify human tissue on one of Lundy's polo shorts as brain matter.

That and the presence of DNA from Lundy's wife Christine was said by the Crown at Lundy's trial to prove he was the killer.

Lundy's appeal lawyer, David Hislop, QC, has dismissed Miller's work as shonky science.

Lundy is serving a 20-year minimum jail sentence for the murders of his wife Christine, 38, and daughter Amber, 7, on August 29, 2000, in the family's Palmerston North home.

The 57-year-old maintains his innocence and Hislop has said a sample of the human tissue, obtained by forensic agency Environmental Science and Research (ESR), was in bad condition and was only taken from the shirt 59 days after it was seized.

Early on day three of the appeal hearing, Mander said all this was a ''red herring'', as Miller took his own samples before using the IHC technique to say the substance was brain matter.

''It's no secret that the ESR slide had been taken 59 days after [the shirt's] seizure.''

It was that sample neuropathologist Dr Heng Teoh viewed. He said it would be wrong to convict Lundy on the basis that it contained brain tissue, but notes of this were not given to the defence team at Lundy's 2002 trial.

An opinion Hislop had obtained from forensic pathologist Dr Helen Whitwell said the examination of the human tissue should have been performed by a neuropathologist who had the appropriate expertise.

Mander said: ''Nothing has been cited in support of the proposition [from Hislop and Whitwell]''.

On the second day of the hearing overnight yesterday, Mander said Lundy's appeal was based on trying to relitigate what was heard at his trial.

''One can't take the trial as some sort of curtain-raiser''.

At the trial the Crown said the killings happened about 7pm, with cellphone records placing Lundy 150 kilometres away in Petone at 5.30pm and 8.28pm.

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 food from McDonald's about 5.45pm and Crown witness Dr James Pang said they were killed about an hour and 10 minutes after they ate.

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Hislop has dismissed Pang's ''flawed science'', but Mander defended it.

If the killings happened later in the night the pair would have had to have eaten well after their purchases or not digested their meal normally, based on Pang's findings, Mander said.

The appeal hearing is expected to finish tomorrow morning (NZ time).

- © Fairfax NZ News

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