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Mark Lundy's sister hopeful over appeal bid

Published: 5:55AM Thursday June 20, 2013 Source: ONE News

The sister of convicted double murderer Mark Lundy says she is hopeful his appeal will be successful.

Lundy's fate now lies in the hands of the Privy Council in London which has reserved its decision after hearing a three day appeal.

Lundy is appealing his life sentence with a non-parole period of 20 years for killing his wife Christine and daughter Amber, 7, in their Palmerston North home in August 2000.

Caryl Jones does not believe her brother is guilty and she flew to London with her husband David to attend the Privy Council hearing.

"He's my brother and I love him," Mrs Jones told ONE News.

David Jones said it had been a long journey and they hope it will soon be over, "depending on the decision of what the Lords will come up with".

Brain tissue sample

David Hislop QC, who is representing Mr Lundy, questioned the science used to identify specks of brain tissue found on Lundy's shirt and argued that the sample taken was not reliable.

Mr Hislop said the officer in charge of the murder investigation, Detective Inspector Ross Grantham, had not disclosed to Lundy's defence team at his 2002 trial, the notes from when he interviewed neuropathologist, Dr Heng Teoh, in January 2001.
 
Mr Hislop said Mr Teoh had told the detective inspector that he could not be sure the DNA found on Lundy's polo shirt was brain tissue, and that Mr Lundy should not be convicted on the basis of it.

Mr Teoh had said the slide was taken too long after the murders and that the "cells had degenerated badly". The neuropathologist's findings contradicted the findings of Crown pathologist Dr Rodney Miller, who gave evidence at the 2002 trial saying that the specks were brain matter.

Deputy solicitor-general Cameron Mander conceded that the notes from Dr Teoh "ought to have been disclosed".

Lord Hope of Craighead posed to Mr Mander that if the defence had known that the sample was not fresh then that would that have certainly opened up further inquiries on their part.

Mr Mander responded: "No, in my submissions there was no secret that the ESR slide had been taken 59 days after [the shirt's] seizure. There was no secret at trial about that. It was very clear, known, it was on the evidence.''

Lord Hope then queried whether the significance of the delay was understood.

Mr Mander replied: "The significance of the delay in my submission is a complete red herring, the 59 days is a complete red herring."

He claimed that everyone was aware that there could not be a definitive conclusion about the tissue based on the ESR slide.

But he said that the Crown pathologist has vast experience in using the technique he used to identify tissue on one of Lundy's shirts as brain matter.

Mr Mander said the evidence put forward by Mr  Lundy's lawyers isn't new and was "plainly discoverable at the time of trial". Mr Mander said the new evidence is augmentation of the evidence available to the defence at trial and this is inadmissible.

He said criticism of the defence decision not to call some expert witnesses at the original trial wasn't founded and in his view was "a skilful piece of judgement by a highly experienced criminal lawyer".

He said the scene was "staged" to look like a burglary but Mr Hislop said "one develops a feeling that something may well have gone wrong in this case".

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

The case could be thrown out, sent to the Court of Appeal for the disputed evidence to be heard or a full retrial could be ordered.

The justices at the Privy Council said they would take time to make their decision and it could be weeks or months before it is known.

Meanwhile Caryl and David Jones will visit Mark Lundy in Rangipo Prison on Sunday.

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