Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The David McNee case redux

In Question Time today, Winston let the cat out of the bag by speculating publicly about the circumstances of an earlier offense by Philip Edwards, David McNee's killer, which his colleague, Ron Mark, had raised last week. He did it in a rather odious fashion which meant George Hawkins had free reign by the Speaker to indulge in some baiting by referring to Winston's problems last year with a Taxi Driver.

While Winston Peters has clued up on what happened, which wasn't the case when Ron Mark tackled it, he still has no clue on the nature of the mistake and thus his actions only bring further unnecessary harm to the victim. The issue isn't that the victim's initial complaint misled the police because the circumstances of that are understandable and no jury would convict on wasting police time. The issue is what the police could have done once they had become aware of the real circumstances.

The police couldn't prosecute on a charge of burglary once they knew that Edwards had been invited to the house. But they still had evidence of an attack, DNA evidence and Edwards' own confession which was good enough to convict him on assault or worse. Or if they weren't prepared to do that, then they could have tipped off the parole board about Edwards' furtive activities. Instead they did nothing which allowed Edwards to leave prison earlier than warranted with much looser supervision to kill David McNee.