Lundy's sister confident appeal will succeed

20:46, Jun 19 2013
Mark Lundy's sister Caryl Jones
IN COURT: Mark Lundy's sister Caryl Jones, pictured with her husband, outside the court in London.

Mark Lundy's sister and lawyer are confident the appeal against his convictions for murdering his wife and daughter will succeed.

Lundy's fate now lies with the Privy Council, which has reserved its decision on the matter.

The three-day hearing finished in London early this morning with both Lundy's lawyer David Hislop, QC, and Crown lawyer, deputy solicitor-general Cameron Mander, outlining their arguments.

Mander told the five judges, including New Zealand's Chief Justice Dame Sian Elias, that the Crown thought Lundy's convictions should stand.

Much of the argument has focused on the role and reliability of expert evidence given at Lundy's trial and Hislop said it should be for a jury to resolve those issues.

Lundy, 54, maintains his innocence but is serving a 20-year minimum jail sentence for killing wife Christine and daughter Amber, 7, at the family's Palmerston North home on August 29, 2000.

He was staying that night in Petone, in Wellington, on business and cellphone records placed him there at 5.30pm and at 8.28pm, giving him a three-hour window to drive home, kill his wife and daughter, clean up, and get back to Petone, 150 kilometres away.

Outside court, Lundy's sister Caryl Jones said she was "hopeful" about the result, although there would be a nervous wait while the decision was reached.

"We're pleased with the way things went," she said.

She and husband Dave, who was holding a bag of Privy Council souvenirs, said they were not surprised at any of points raised by the Crown, saying they'd heard it before at his 2002 trial.

"My best scenario was the total acquittal but they didn't put that on the table, so to me the retrial is the next best," Caryl Jones said ahead of her departure tomorrow.

The pair planned to visit Lundy in Rangipo Prison on Sunday.

Hislop said he felt a "certain exhilaration" after the hearing, but doubted he could afford, on New Zealand legal aid rates, to come to the country if a re-trial was ordered.

"We're seriously under-resourced and seriously under-funded," he said.

"When you think someone's sitting in prison year after year and might even die in prison it's a pretty chilling thought.

"When I received the [case] papers probably two years ago I had a feeling something wasn't right and we'll see whether [the judges] agree with us or not."

In his closing statement to the judges, Hislop said no other window of time existed for the killings. This was based on expert evidence he obtained saying, according to the stomach contents of Christine and Amber Lundy, they were killed, at the most, six hours after eating McDonald's, which they bought at 5.45.

Assuming they ate it straight away, that would place the time of death late on August 29. But between 11.30pm and 12.30am Lundy had an alibi - he was with a prostitute in Petone.

Inside the Lundy house there was an unidentified partial palm print that was of significance.

A window at the house was left open and Mrs Lundy's blood was smeared around the area.

"If this was a pre-meditated, carefully planned murder by Mr Lundy do you seriously think he would be stupid enough to deposit blood where he did? It beggars belief," Hislop said.

Paint flecks found around Christine and Amber Lundy's head wounds were said to have matched paint that Lundy used to mark his tools.

"This finding on its own never put the weapon in his hands," Hislop said.

He also dismissed any suggestions that financial woes would drive Lundy to kill, saying the family sink-top business was going well and the Crown had "overstated" the potential for financial ruin.

Mander disagreed: "It's clear [Lundy] was under severe financial pressure which of course can never possibly make explicable the inexplicable."

The blood on the window suggested it was forced after the killings and was a "strong piece of evidence" for the Crown that pointed to a staged break-in.

No indication was given by the judges about how long it would take them to reach a decision.


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