Watch: 'He's a big fat so and so ... and did you see his performance at the funeral?' – Mark Lundy's lawyer tells court of 'elephant in the room'

Mark Lundy's defence lawyer has put forward the case that his client never received a fair jury trial because of impressions formed of Lundy's "performance" at the funerals of his wife and daughter.

Convicted double murderer Mark Lundy has taken his case to the Court of Appeal in a bid to clear his name. Source: 1 NEWS

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For more on this story, watch 1 NEWS at 6pm. Source: 1 NEWS

Lundy's defence lawyer, Jonathan Eaton, explicitly explained to the Court of Appeal's three judges this morning how public opinion was against Lundy because of the circumstances that followed the murders of wife Christine and seven-year-old Amber.

Lundy is serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife Christine and seven-year-old daughter Amber in 2000. Source: 1 NEWS

"There's this view that he is a big, fat, so and so, who was with an escort on the night, and did you see that unconvincing performance at the funeral?" Mr Eaton told the court.

"Of course he's guilty."

In 2002, Lundy, who is now 58-years-old, was convicted of the murders of Christine and Amber.

In 2013, the Privy Council quashed his conviction and ordered a retrial, at which he was again found guilty in 2015, and is now serving life in prison.

Mr Eaton told the court the issue of the public's perception of Lundy had never been "dealt with adequately at trial".

"Which, in my respectful submission, has been the elephant in the room throughout this experience with the criminal justice system," Mr Eaton said.

"The public perception of Mr Lundy has been defined by their views of him at the funeral – the Lundy funeral scene.

"And which was not dealt with adequately at trial, at all, and which I do raise as a distinct ground of appeal here.

"What is it about the Lundy case you remember? And most people talk about the funeral scene.

"And hence we have programs like 'Beyond the Darklands' where so-called experts express their view that he was feigning distress, that it was all a performance of a guilty man.

"And we have a public perception that seems to have just accepted that.

"Because what is it about Lundy that sets it aside from other cases is it – that this case, that this court's ultimately resolved in terms of miscarriage, and I talk about Teina Pora, talk about Rex Haig – there's been divided opinion in the community, but with Lundy there never seems to have been that divided opinion.

"There's this view that he is a big, fat, so and so, who was with an escort on the night, and did you see that unconvincing performance at the funeral.

"Of course he's guilty."

Lundy the victim of poor science

Mr Eaton's remarks came after he had earlier claimed Lundy was the victim of poor science, in which it was deduced that highly degraded tissue on his shirt was his wife's brain or spinal cord tissue.

Mr Eaton argued the DNA would have been severely degraded and the test could not prove the tissue was human and not animal.

He also argued it should not be up to a jury to determine if testing is reliable or not.

He told the court a lot had changed over 15 years, since Lundy was first convicted.

The appeal continues.


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Wellington bus network changes to be reviewed after council bombarded with complaints

Wellington's new bus network will be independently reviewed after ongoing complaints of buses being late, too full to board or not showing up at all.

The regional council today voted today to have the system reviewed and the results reported back by December.

Since the system was changed in July the council has been bombarded with complaints.

Councillors have also asked officers to change a route so that it began and ended in Kilbirnie, as it previously did, and for feedback on whether some other routes can be changed.

Regional council chief executive Greg Campbell said he took full responsibility for fixing the network's problems.

He said the review needed to be done quickly.

"Any commuter that is left stranded, or a bus that is late, that is of extreme concern. We have to get a clear view of what is happening. What an independent review can really do - particularly for management and council - is give a view of what has happened and articulate that well."

At the beginning of the meeting several Wellington residents addressed the council to let it know they were still unhappy with the new bus routes.

A Wellington principal said the recent re-jig of the routes was making his students late for class and putting them in danger.

St Patrick's College, Kilbirnie's rector Neal Swindells told this morning's meeting about 100-150 boys were using the new service.

"Currently our two 753 buses from the station in the afternoon are significantly overloaded and are unsafe. On Monday this week, they were both loaded to the gunnels and there were 30-odd students who couldn't get on. So what they do is they cross the road to catch the new 24 bus, which by the time it leaves St Pat's now is also overfull."

rnz.co.nz

Commuters at a bus stop in Newtown. Source: rnz.co.nz

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Motorcyclist in critical condition after crash near Upper Hutt

A serious crash has left a motorcyclist in critical condition and caused a section of State Highway 2 to close for a time near Kaitoke, Upper Hutt.

Police say a motorcyclist hit a barrier at Kaitoke this afternoon about 4:30pm.

The male rider was taken to hospital via helicopter in a critical condition.

The road at SH2 Kaitoke, Upper Hutt is now open again after closing for a time.


A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle
A road closure sign in front of a Police vehicle. Source: 1 NEWS

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Government reveals details of emails between Clare Curran and Derek Handley

Details of the email exchange between former Digital Services Minister Clare Curran and Derek Handley were revealed today during Parliament's Question Time. 

Ms Curran said she was not aware of RNZ's policies surrounding meetings with Minister's at the time.
Source: 1 NEWS

The messages were sent over the role of chief technology officer, with Ms Curran using her private Gmail account to send the emails. 

An offer to Mr Handley for the role was retracted by the Government last week, resulting in a $100,000 pay out to the entrepreneur. 

Acting State Services Minister Grant Robertson told the House the following about three exchanges between the pair about the role. 

First exchange

August 11: 

"Derek Handley emails Clare Curran about the chief technology officer position and questions about the role of the CTO, including resourcing for the role and potential conflicts of interest."

August 14

"Clare Curran replies to that email, confirming a call to discuss these matters."

August 15

"Derek Handley replies to that, confirming times for the call."

Second exchange

August 19

"Clare Curran emails Derek Handley regarding logistics around the next step on the process of appointment, including the content of any public statements that might be made, and refers to contract discussions with the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)."

August 20

"Derek Handley responds to that email to Clare Curran about those issues, including the contact he has had with DIA and management of conflicts of interest."

Third exchange

August 21

"Clare Curran emails Derek Handley regarding issues that would be on the work plan of the chief technology officer and attaches some relevant background documents on those issues.

"On the same day, Derek Handley responds to Clare Curran, acknowledging the material and referring to the discussions that he is having with DIA."

Derek Handley says he’ll donate the compensation but is disappointed at the way the issue was handled. Source: 1 NEWS

The chief technology officer was intended to "drive a forward-looking digital agenda for New Zealand", said the then Minister for Government Digital Services Clare Curran, when the role was announced last December. 

The new Minister for Government Digital Services Megan Woods said the Government have put a "full stop" on the process.

Ms Curran was stripped of her position as Minister for Government Digital Services after not disclosing a meeting with Mr Handley previously.


Over 20 vehicles vandalised overnight in suburb on Auckland's North Shore

More than 20 vehicles have been damaged overnight in an area on Auckland's, North Shore.

Police say a number of vehicles' tyres have been vandalised in Birkdale's, Tiri Tiri Road and Woodhams Street area.

Anyone who has had their car damaged is urged to report it to police if they haven't already done so.

Police are making area enquiries and conducting scene and forensic examinations and are interested to hear from anyone who may have information.


John Healy says people drastically underestimate the risks of leaving kids or pets in their car.
Source: 1 NEWS