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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Meridian discards 'prompt payment discounts' for fairer treatment of struggling Kiwis

One of New Zealand's major power companies has replaced its so-called prompt payment discounts, saying they simply penalise people who struggle to pay their bills.

This move from Meridian Energy comes just days after a Government investigation into electricity prices, which questioned the fairness of the practice.

Budgeting advisers deal with the fallout from steep energy prices on a daily basis.

"We see many people who are constantly being disconnected who find power to be a very significant part of their spending," says Tim Bennett, chief executive of National Building Financial Capability Charity Trust.

This week, a government investigation found those who can't afford to pay their bills on time are being charged up to 26 per cent more for their power.

That's because power companies offer so-called "prompt payment discounts," which look like savings but are really just penalties for those who pay late.

Meridian Energy has now officially pulled the plug on the practice. 

"We're getting rid of the prompt payment discount because it's fundamentally unfair, especially to customers who struggle to pay their bills," says chief executive Neal Barclay.

The move has been welcomed by Energy Minister Megan Woods.

"I'm absolutely thrilled by the leadership that Meridian's showing today, that they've listened to what I think are really compelling arguments - that essentially we had a penalty for those who struggle to pay their power bills the most."

"It's great, I think really they were misleading and they were late payment penalty fees most impacting low income Kiwis and I urge other retailers to do it as well," says Green MP Gareth Hughes. 

"One company at least has seen sense and is going to treat people fairly regardless of how much income they've got," added Mr Bennett.

The Meridian logo Source: 1 NEWS

Other major power companies were contacted by 1 NEWS to see if they'd follow suit.

While Genesis, Contact and Mercury have no plans to ditch their prompt payment discounts, Trustpower is considering it.

Smaller retailers like Pulse Energy, who have already ditched the practice, call the payments deceptive and want them gone for good.

Meridian is set to replace the discount scheme with credits of equal value for all customers and says no one will be worse off. 

"The total cost to us is $5 million so that's money back into those customers' pockets," says Mr Barclay.

The government is now considering further actions to bring prices down. 

The move comes just days after government investigation into electricity prices questioned the fairness of the practice. Source: 1 NEWS


1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford says recent scandals 'not a good look for the Government'

Recent scandals have "not been a good look for the Government" according to 1 NEWS political reporter Katie Bradford.

After news came out today that Derek Handley's offer of chief technology officer position has been retracted by the Government, Bradford says there may be more to come.

"The Government is back to the drawing board and there may still be more to come, as Clare Curran said earlier this week she may still have personal emails on her Gmail account, so this is not necessarily over yet."

It has been the drawn-out nature of the Clare Curran saga which has hurt the Government most, Bradford says.

"This has been going on for weeks now, and every week there has been a new development with this, it's not a good look for the Government."

Coupled with other issues, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has had a rough week in politics.

"This week has also seen questions around the stability of the coalition Government and that relationship with NZ First.

"The prime minister goes into this weekend having cancelled her media appearances on some big political TV shows including TVNZ1’s Q+A.

"She says that is because of a diary scheduling era, but on Sunday she is making a big speech on her Government’s first year," Bradford says.

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not". Source: 1 NEWS

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, which saw Clare Curran resign from her Ministerial positions and MP Meka Whaitiri stand down while an investigation is pending, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not".

"There's no question I remain very much available for comment on any issue of the day."

From the Clare Curran saga to coalition rifts, the pressure is on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Source: 1 NEWS

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Elderly woman in critical condition after being run over by reversing car in Palmerston North

An elderly woman is in a critical condition after being run over by a reversing car in Palmerston North this morning.

Police say she was run over by a car reversing from a driveway on Grey St, Palmerston North at 11am.

She is currently in a critical condition at Palmerston North Hospital.

Police say members of the public and the driver of the car assisted the woman at the scene.

Source: istock.com


PM pulls out of weekend media appearances due to 'diary issue'

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has pulled out of two weekend media appearances due to a "diary issue". 

Ms Ardern's appearances on TVNZ's Q+A and Newshub Nation were cancelled this weekend. 

"There's been a bit of a diary issue in my team. That's something they've worked through.

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, which saw Clare Curran resign from her Ministerial positions and MP Meka Whitiri stand down while an investigation is pending, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not". 

"There's no question I remain very much available for comment on any issue of the day."

When asked if she was not appearing due to a tough few weeks, Ms Ardern said "absolutely not". Source: 1 NEWS