New Zealand and the world overwhelmingly defies aims of Christchurch terrorist

Aims of the man who killed 49 people in two Christchurch mosques included trying to divide New Zealand and the world, trying to inflate hate. His atrocities have had the opposite effect.

While there have been isolated attempts at excusing his actions, of victim blaming, and other inappropriate responses, New Zealanders have have overwhelmingly expressed disgust at the mass murder of innocent and defenceless people, and have overwhelmingly shown sympathy and empathy for the victims and their families and friends, and for the whole Muslim community throughout New Zealand.

Vigils for Christchurch mosque shooting victims held across the country

Thousands of people have gathered across New Zealand to mourn the victims of Friday’s terror attack in Christchurch.

At Deans Avenue mosque, people wanting to pay their respects laids flowers at a police cordon, as armed offenders swept the area with metal detectors on Saturday.

In Auckland, thousands of people attended at vigil at Aotea Square, with more planned across the country.

‘We love you’: mosques around world showered with flowers after Christchurch massacre

Mosques in New Zealand and around the world have been inundated with floral tributes and messages of support after a massacre in Christchurch in which 49 Muslims were killed.

The strongest response from the public was in New Zealand, which is reeling in the wake of the worst peacetime mass killing in the nation’s history.

The outpouring of support for the Muslim community was so large that outside some mosques there was nowhere for well-wishers to park. Some messages read: “We love you”, “We are one” and “Forever changed”.

In Australia, the response to the massacre was similarly heartfelt, with tributes pouring into mosques across the country.

The outpouring of support continued in America where people also left candles outside mosques.

In Britain, solidarity was also on show.

Muslim places of worship in Canada also saw tributes.

Typical around the world:

Muslims are New Zealanders, residents or citizens, like the rest of us. They were going about their lives peacefully. Many of them came to New Zealand seeing it as a place safe from awful situations overseas.

It has been reported that victims are associated with a number of countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia.

New Zealanders, have been out in force around the country and on social media showing their sympathy for those affected by the atrocities, and their solidarity with Muslims and their communities.

Rather than divide the awful events have done the opposite, they have initiated outpourings of peaceful messages, of sympathy, of love, of togetherness.

Kiwis are overwhelmingly demonstrating that, while terrorism cannot always be avoided, the effects can be negated by defying the aims of sick, murderous individuals.

A lot of credit needs to be given to people who helped victims of the shootings on and around the scenes in Christchurch on Friday. People who must have been at risk themselves helped their fellow human beings in need.

The police officers and ambulance officers had very demanding jobs to do, uncertain of the risks of the situations they were putting themselves into. Many of them deserve a lot of praise – when the going gets tough people stepped up big time.

Two police officers, aware in part at least of what had happened, aware of the likelihood the perpetrator would still be armed (he was), rammed and disable his car and apprehended him. This bravery, risking their lives, may well have saved other lives.

Give-a-Little – Victim Support Official Page: Christchurch Shooting Victims’ Fund – currently $2,836,767.17 donated.

A Muslim in Dunedin wrote:

“I live in Dunedin and we have experienced nothing but kindness respect and understanding from everyone we have come into contact with.

I have lived here for three years and have many friends who have helped me to settle here.

Everyone is devastated by this terrible tragedy and it not only deeply saddens Muslims living here but all New Zealanders.

There are people everywhere who are misguided and full of hate. We must learn to love more and hate less. 

We respect all religions and cultures and all people’s regardless of their faith or belief May Allah have mercy for the people who lost their lives.”

We must learn to tolerate more, to love each other and to promote peaceful co-existence of our wide variety of cultures, ethnicities, nationalities and religions and beliefs.

Through adversity, a day of despicable terror in Christchurch, we are becoming better people and a better nation.

We Kiwis unite for a better, more peaceful world.

Jacinda Ardern on the Christchurch mosque massacres

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern described the mosque massacres in Christchurch on Friday as one of the darkest days in New Zealand history. She condemned the ideology and actions of the murders.

Her first statement yesterday:

Statement from Jacinda Ardern on Christchurch shootings

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has expressed her horror at the events that are currently unfolding in Christchurch.

“This was an act of extraordinary and unprecedented violence. It has no place in New Zealand.

“It is one of New Zealand’s darkest days.

“Many of the people affected by this act of extreme violence will be from our refugee and migrant communities.

“New Zealand is their home. They are us.

“The person or people who carried out this act of unprecedented violence are not.

“There is no place in our home for them.

“My thoughts, and I know all New Zealanders’ thoughts, are with those affected and with the people of Christchurch.

“To those who are in lockdown and separated from their families, stay safe and stay inside, follow instructions and be assured the police are actively managing the situation.”

Ardern’s second media appearance yesterday:

Further update from Jacinda Ardern on Christchurch mass shooting

“I have now had the opportunity to be fully briefed with the details of the unprecedented events that took place in Christchurch this afternoon,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

Addressing the nation from the Beehive tonight, the Prime Minister said: It is with extreme sadness that I tell you that as at 7pm tonight, we believe that 40 people have lost their lives in this act of extreme violence.

10 have died at Linwood Avenue Mosque, 3 of which were outside the mosque itself.

A further 30 have been killed at Deans Avenue Mosque.

This has since been updated to 49 dead, 41 people at the Deans Avenue mosque, 7 at the Linwood Avenue mosque, and 1 person died in hospital from wounds received at one of the mosques.

There are also more than 20 seriously injured who are currently in Christchurch A&E.

It is clear that this can only be described as a terrorist attack.

From what we know, it does appear to have been well planned. Two explosive devices attached to suspects’ vehicles have been found and they have been disarmed.

There are currently four individuals who have been apprehended but three are connected to this attack and are currently in custody, one of which has publicly stated that they were Australian born.

These are people who I would describe as having extremist views that have absolutely no place in New Zealand and in fact have no place in the world.

While we do not have any reason to believe at this stage that there are other suspects, we are not assuming that at this stage. The joint intelligence group has been deployed and police are putting all of their resources into this situation.

The defence force are currently transporting additional police staff to the region.

Our national security threat level has been lifted from low, to high. This I want to assure people is to ensure that all our agencies are responding in the most appropriate way. That includes at our borders.

Air New Zealand has cancelled all turbo prop flights out of Christchurch tonight and will review the situation in the morning. Jet services both domestically and internationally are continuing to operate.

There is heightened security, so we can assure people of their safety and the police are working hard to ensure people are able to move around their city safely.

I have spoken this evening to the mayor of Christchurch and I intend to speak this evening to the imam, but I also want to send a message to those directly affected.

In fact, I am sure right now New Zealand would like me to share a message on their behalf too.

Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have been impacted today. Christchurch was their home. For many, this may not have been the place they were born, in fact for many, New Zealand was their choice.

The place they actively came to, and committed to. The place they were raising their families. Where they were parts of communities that they loved and who loved them in return. It was a place that many came to for its safety. A place where they were free to practice their culture and their religion.

For those of you who are watching at home tonight, and questioning how this could have happened here.

We, New Zealand, we were not a target because we are a safe harbour for those who hate.

We were not chosen for this act of violence because we condone racism, because we are an enclave for extremism.

We were chosen for the very fact that we are none of those things.

Because we represent diversity, kindness, compassion. A home for those who share our values. Refuge for those who needs it. And those values will not and cannot be shaken by this attack.

We are a proud nation of more than 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. And amongst that diversity we share common values. And the one that we place the currency on right now is our compassion and support for the community of those directly affected by this tragedy.

And secondly, the strongest possible condemnation of the ideology of the people who did this.

You may have chosen us – we utterly reject and condemn you.

A lot of views of both those videos, and they were also live streamed by multiple media and parts shown around the world.

Ardern handled these very very well in very disturbing circumstances.


Jacinda Ardern:

“I spoke with Donald Trump this morning, he thought to call us directly. He very much wished for his condolences to be passed on to New Zealand”

“He asked what offer of support the United States could provide, my message was sympathy and love for all Muslim communities.”

Updates – 49 confirmed dead in Christchurch terrorist attacks

49 people have been confirmed dead as a result of two near simultaneous terrorist attacks on mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. One Australian man has been arrested and charged with murder.  Another  man and a woman have also been apprehended. A fourth man was arrested but that was not related to the mosque massacres. Parts of a street in Dunedin has cordon off in a related investigation. Mosques around New Zealand are under police protection.

Military style rifles were used in the attacks, and two bombs were found on the vehicle of one of those who was apprehended.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush put out a number of updates on what had happened. Here is the latest from late last night.

Police continue to deal with what is an unprecedented event for New Zealand. The loss of life and the number of those who have been injured is tragic.

As the Prime Minister has stated, this has been designated a terrorist attack.

This has been an abhorrent event and my thoughts are with all of those affected in Christchurch. Be assured NZ Police stand with you all tonight.

We now know that 49 people have been killed in the attacks, 41 people at the Deans Avenue mosque, and seven at the Linwood Avenue mosque. One person died in hospital.

The number of those being treated in hospital has been updated to 48 people.

A 28-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear in the Christchurch District Court tomorrow morning.

Two others remain in custody. Another person was arrested earlier today however that was not related to these events.

This is still an ongoing situation and Police has a significant number of staff on the ground in Christchurch

We are unable at this stage to provide details about matters leading up to the attacks. It is very early days and these matters will form part of the investigation.

There is an increased Police presence across Christchurch and surrounding areas. Our priority is to keep all New Zealanders safe.

There are community events planned across the country this weekend and there will be a visible Police presence at these events for safety and reassurance.

We thank the public for their ongoing co-operation and we would like to reassure members of the public that a large Police presence will remain in the city for the time being. The safety of the community is our priority.

Police wish to notify the public of the Restoring Family Links (RFL) website(link is external) where people can register missing persons or register themselves as alive. People living in New Zealand can also register missing persons on 0800 115 019.

Information will continue to be provided as it becomes available.

Our thoughts remain with all of those affected.

And:

Police are currently in attendance at a property on Somerville Street, Dunedin. This is a location of interest in relation to the serious firearms incident in Christchurch today.

Evacuations of properties in the immediate area have taken place as a precaution.

Alternative accommodation has been provided for residents requiring it and cordons are in place in the Somerville Street and Everton Road area.

There is no further information available at this time.

From the police page on Facebook:

Police are aware there is extremely distressing footage relating to the incident in Christchurch circulating online. We would strongly urge that the link not be shared. We are working to have any footage removed.

I don’t want any of this footage or links to the footage on Your NZ. One aim of the killings was to attract media attention and pub


Saturday morning: Update 9

We are continuing to make enquiries after yesterday’s tragic events in Christchurch.

As the Prime Minister stated yesterday, this has been designated a terrorist attack.

49 people have died and 42 are being treated for injuries. Two of those injured are critical and this includes a four-year-old child who is being transported to Starship Hospital this morning.

A 28-year-old man will appear in Christchurch District Court today charged with murder.

Two others remain in custody.

Our investigations are in their early stages and we will be looking closely to build a picture of any of the individuals involved and all of their activities prior to this horrific event.

There is no guarantee the risk is limited to Canterbury and we need all New Zealanders to be extra vigilant.

Our message to you is simple: if you see something suspicious, say something – call 111 immediately.

Police is aware there are distressing materials related to this event circulating widely online. We would urge anyone who has been affected by seeing these materials to seek appropriate support.

We would also like to remind the public that it is an offence to distribute an objectionable publication and that is punishable by imprisonment.

Once again I want to reassure the public that a large Police presence remains in the city for the time being.

There will be a heightened Police presence at community events today for safety and reassurance.

Dozens of officers continue to be deployed into the region today, and Police’s Eagle helicopter has flown to Christchurch to assist those on the ground.

Police and the wider government will be working with leaders and members of the Islamic Community to provide assistance, reassurance and support.

Deputy Commissioner of Māori and Ethnic Services Wally Haumaha has travelled to Christchurch alongside 15 ethnic liaison officers to support the community.

These specialists will work alongside local staff to support the families and help repatriate them with their loved ones in a way that is consistent with Muslim beliefs, while taking into account these circumstances and obligations to the coroner.

I also plan to fly to Christchurch this morning, and will be speaking to media at the earliest opportunity. More detail on that will be advised in due course.

Again I want to offer my sincere condolences to those affected, on behalf of New Zealand Police.

Presuming more updates are released they will be added to this post today.

From Update 11:

The 28-year-old man charged with murder in relation to this attack has appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.

While the man is currently facing only one charge, further charges will be laid. Details of those charges will be communicated at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

Many murders maim Mexican election

Mexico is having an election this weekend for positions ranging from president to local mayors.

Corruption and violence are major issues, both argued in campaigns and evident with over 100 election related murders claimed. If candidates can’t be bought off they are knocked off.

CNN: Mexico goes to the polls this weekend. 132 politicians have been killed since campaigning began, per one count

Even for a country numbed by escalating violence, the toll the campaign season in Mexico has exacted is horrifying.

In the nine months leading up to this weekend’s presidential election, 132 politicians have been killed. That’s according to Etellekt, a risk analysis and crisis management firm.

The group’s report, released Tuesday, found that 22 of Mexico’s 31 states have seen a political assassination since campaigning began in September.

Etellekt’s tally found 48 of the victims were candidates. The rest included party workers.

Forty eight murdered candidates. That is an horrific war on democracy.

Reuters:  A look at Mexico’s presidential contenders ahead of key election

The four main candidates have sparred over key issues of corruption, security and the economy.

The front runner is the left wing Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador…

… known as AMLO, enjoys a more than 20-point lead in most polls, running on an anti-corruption platform with his National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party.

The former Mexico City mayor has capitalized on widespread anger over years of rampant corruption and violence, but has been vague on policy details. Seeking to corral support from economic nationalists, leftist liberals and social conservatives, he has pledged to combat inequality, improve pay and welfare spending, as well as run a tight budget.

He could usher in a Mexican government less accommodating toward the United States, where U.S. President Donald Trump has stoked trade tensions with Mexico and aggressively moved to curb immigration.

Trump has labelled illegal immigrants as dangerous criminals, but they are more likely to be trying to escape violence and corruption.

Ricardo Anaya…

His main proposals include increasing the minimum wage, raising public spending to reach 5 percent of gross domestic product by 2021, and forming an international commission to investigate the current government over corruption allegations.

He has also indicated he would take a firm line with Trump.

Jose Antonio Meade…

During the campaign he said he would expand the conditional cash transfer program “Prospera” to include 2 million more families. Has also vowed to extend social security to cover domestic workers.

Meade led a campaign to strip politicians of immunity but has been unwilling to criticize outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto, whose PRI government has faced multiple corruption allegations.

Corruption is a common theme.

Known as “El Bronco,” Jaime Rodriguez …

…shocked voters in one of the televised debates when he advocated chopping off the hands of those who steal — including public servants.

… polls estimate he will get between 1 and 6 percent of the vote.

So a violent approach to justice doesn’t seem to be very popular.

Mexico has huge domestic problems, especially involving drugs, corruption and violence. Those who survive the election may struggle to make any real difference.

Charles Manson dead

Charles Manson, convicted of masterminding a series of murders in 1969, avoided the death penalty but spent the rest of his life in prison, He has just died, aged 83.

Image result for charles manson

LA Times: Charles Manson, mastermind of 1969 murders, dies at 83

Charles Manson was an unlikely figure to evolve into the personification of evil. A few inches over five feet, he was a petty criminal and small-time hustler. And his followers bore little resemblance to the stereotypical image of hardened killers. Most were in their early twenties, middle-class white kids, hippies and runaways who fell under his charismatic sway.

But in the summer of 1969, Manson masterminded a string of bizarre murders in Los Angeles that both horrified and fascinated the nation and signified to many the symbolic end of the 1960s and the idealism and naiveté the decade represented.

Considered one of the most infamous criminals of the 20th century, Manson died of natural causes at a Kern County Hospital at 8:13 p.m Sunday, according to Vicky Waters, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was 83.

Sentenced to death for the crime, Manson escaped execution when the state Supreme Court declared the death penalty unconstitutional at the time. He spent decades behind bars, an unrepentant and incorrigible inmate who’d been cited for behavioral issues more than 100 times.

His death is more of a curiosity than anything, I doubt many will mourn much.

Manson did not commit the murders himself; instead he persuaded his group of followers to carry out the killings. The crimes received frenzied news coverage, because so many lurid and sensational elements coalesced at the time — Hollywood celebrity, cult behavior, group sex, drugs and savage murders that concluded with the killers scrawling words with their victims’ blood.

Manson and four of his followers — Susan Atkins, Leslie Van Houten, Patricia Krenwinkel and Charles “Tex” Watson — were convicted of murdering actress Sharon Tate, the wife of movie director Roman Polanski, in their Bel-Air home on Aug. 9, 1969, along with four others.

Tate, 26, who was eight months pregnant, pleaded with her killers to spare the life of her unborn baby. Atkins replied, “Woman, I have no mercy for you.” Tate was stabbed 16 times. “PIG” was written in her blood on the front door.

The next night they killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Feliz home. Manson picked the house at random, tied up the couple and then left the killings to the others. They cut “WAR” in Leno LaBianca’s flesh and left a carving fork in his stomach and a knife in his throat. Using the LaBiancas’ blood, they scrawled on the wall and refrigerator in blood “DEATH TO PIGS” and “HEALTER SKELTER,” the misspelled title of a Beatles song.

The 9½-month trial — the longest in U.S. history at the time — was as bizarre as the crimes.

A group of young female followers with shaved heads gathered outside the courthouse and conducted a 24-hour vigil for Manson. One morning Manson entered the court room with an X carved into his forehead and his followers soon did the same.

During the trial, Manson jumped over his attorney’s table and made a dash for the bench. While the bailiffs were dragging him out of the courtroom, Manson shouted to Judge Charles H. Older, “In the name of Christian justice, someone should chop off your head!” The judge began packing a .38-caliber revolver under his robe.

Van Houten’s attorney, Ronald Hughes, disappeared during the trial and was later found dead. Prosecutors suspected he was another Manson victim.

Bugliosi argued during the trial that Manson orchestrated the murders as part of a plan to spark a race war that he called Helter Skelter. Blacks would win the war even though, according to Manson, they were inferior to whites. Then he and his followers would survive by living underground near Death Valley and would eventually take over power. In a later trial, Manson was convicted in the slayings of musician Gary Hinman and Donald “Shorty” Shea, who worked at the San Fernando Valley ranch where the family lived for a time.

In 1972, the death sentences were commuted to life imprisonment when the state Supreme Court abolished the death penalty. Since then, Manson and his followers have been eligible for parole hearings. Only one of those convicted in the nine murders — Steve Grogan, who was involved in the Shea shooting — has been paroled. Atkins died in 2009 while incarcerated in Chowchilla.

Manson — who had spent more than half of his life in prison before the conviction — was housed at Corcoran State Prison since 1989. He broke prison rules dozens of times for violations including possessing cellular phones and a hacksaw blade, throwing hot coffee at a staff member, spitting in a guard’s face, fighting, refusing to obey orders and trying to flood a tier in his cellblock. Long ago, he turned the X on his forehead into a swastika. He was denied parole 12 times and had numerous disciplinary violations. His last parole hearing was in 2012, which he declined to attend.

So it’s a notable death but not a particularly sad one.

 

Binnie on Bain

Sunday tonight has an interview of retired judge Ian Binnie on the Bain murders. Very interesting – if you want to see it and have missed it then try TV +1 from 8:30.

Binnie wrote the report that said that in all probability David Bain was innocent and deserved compensation from the Crown. It created a political furore.

Binnie believes David is almost certainly innocent, and that his father set things up to make it look like David had done it in an act of revenge.

He cites in particular that David Bain had no history of mental instability while his father Robin was in a deteriorating state and was effectively estranged from his family.

One thing doesn’t make sense if David did it – why did he kill his mother and siblings, go on his paper run, and then return and shoot his father.

Binnie says that the police inquiry was inept, complicated somewhat by the burning down of the Bain house by the Police about two weeks after the murders.

There is still a number of aspects that don’t make sense and could implicate both David and Robin.

Binnie says that Judith Collins is the poster case why a politician should not get involved in legal cases – she was Minister of Justice when the Binnie report was released.

Entrenched views on Bain case

The release of the Callinan report and the announcement that the Government would pay Bain nearly a million dollars to bring closure to legal actions is unlikely to change many if any minds about whodunnit.

It’s not unusual for pundits from the public to stick to what they believe regardless of evidence, but you would expect a journalist who has taken a close interest in the ongoing Bain cases and has written extensively about it would base his claims on known facts and law.

But Martin van Beyen appears to be determined to stick to his beliefs as much as anyone.

Stuff: Callinan report highlights issues in David Bain’s innocence appeal

Reporter MARTIN VAN BEYNEN, who covered David Bain’s retrial in 2009, believes the Callinan report highlights the longstanding flaws and inconsistencies in David’s story that he is innocent of the deaths of his family and that his father Robin was the killer. 

In just 144 pages, former Australian Supreme Court judge Ian Callinan lays bare David Bain’s case for compensation and finds it wanting.

For ardent followers of the case, Callinan’s report released on Tuesday doesn’t say much new. He has perused mountains of material and highlighted the flaws evident in Bain’s case as early as his trial in 1995 at which he was found guilty.

The report raises justifiable and inevitable doubts when looking at Bain’s account of what happened on 20 June, 1994 and the evidence the police investigation has revealed.

Callinan’s job was not to say whether Bain was innocent or guilty, although clearly on one reading of the report he appears to have doubts about Bain’s innocence.

Of course he has doubts, nothing has been conclusively proven one way or the other.

His job was to say whether he was satisfied Bain had proved whether he was innocent on the balance of probabilities. In other words, he had to be happy Bain was more probably innocent than guilty. The evidence provided by Bain’s defence failed to reach that threshhold, in Callinan’s view. 

The conclusion from that alleged failure is inescapable. If he can’t show he probably didn’t do it, he probably did it.

That is a ridiculous statement and a journalist who has covered criminal trials should know better.

Van Beyen has written in the past that he is convinced that David is guilty of the murder of his parents and siblings. He has weighed up the evidence and made his judgement, as many people have.

But stating that a failure to prove you didn’t do something means you ‘probably did it’ it nonsense.

I can’t prove that I have done nearly everything I have done in my life. And it’s even harder to prove things that I haven’t done.

Most of us wouldn’t be able to prove now what we were doing on 20 June 1994, let alone what we were not doing. Or for parts of just about any day of our lives.

From what I know about the Bain case there is evidence that seems to suggest both possible guilt and possible innocence of both David Bain and his father Robin. To me it is inconclusive either way.

The quantity of implicative evidence and the lack of conclusive evidence makes it easy for those convinced one way or the other to cherry pick bits that fit their beliefs.

The only person left who probably knows is David, and he still insists he is innocent. Perhaps he is right, or perhaps he is caught in a story of denial, or whatever.

But I am still not sure if it was David, or if it was Robin, or if it was both David and Robin, or if it was someone else. Neither is the Callinan report. Neither apparently is the Minister of Justice or the Government.

Quite often things remain unproven forever.

 

Gerald Hope on Wishart’s book

This was posted by Pantsdownbrown about Gerald Hope’s comments on Radio New Zealand about Ian Wishart’s book due to be released tomorrow.

What I took from Gerald Hope’s comments (considering he is reading Wishart’s book right now)

  • The book doesn’t ‘solve’ the case but essentially makes the case for Scott Watson being innocent more clear.
  • In the book’s conclusion Wishart has an unproven theory on what happened that night based on all the information that has come out since the trial – there is no smoking gun.
  • This ‘clarity’ of information has been enough to make Gerald Hope more doubtful as to Watson’s guilt to the point he has made himself available to the media for the next 24 hours and has again requested a personal meeting with Scott Watson.

Here’s the interview (audio): Olivia Hope’s father still wants answers after photo released:

A grainy photograph, supposedly taken of Olivia Hope days after police say that she was murdered raises questions about just what happened to the 17-year-old and her boyfriend, Ben Smart.

I’ll have a go at transcribing that later and posting it here.

 

Sounds murders – competing claims

Tomorrow Ian Wishart is launching “The book that solves an 18 year long murder mystery”.

Possibly trying to beat Wishart to a killer blow to the case the Herald has an ‘exclusive’ (that I first saw on TV1’s Breakfast):

Exclusive: Report blames Sounds murders on drugs syndicate

A confidential report into the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope has emerged with the startling claim the infamous “mystery ketch” has been identified, with those on board, and the infamous crime had nothing to do with Scott Watson, now serving 19 years inside for the double-killing.

It’s not very confidential now.

The report is the latest public investigative effort into a disappearance. It was written based on research by commercial pilot, engineer and sailor Warwick Jenness with help from yachtie Mike Kalaugher and Keith Hunter, who wrote Trial By Trickery about the case.

The group’s report was leaked to the Herald – the authors have not sought to make its findings public.

It claims to have identified the ketch first thought by police to be linked to the Hope/Smart disappearance, based on the description by a water taxi operator who dropped them off early on January 1, 1998.

The report includes a distant and grainy snap of a woman the authors say is Hope, 17, taken at Marys Bay five days after she and Smart, 21, were said to have been killed following a 1997 New Year’s Eve party.

The report claims this photograph shows Olivia Hope at Marys Bay five days after her supposed death. Photo / Supplied

But Wishart disagrees.

The emergence of the report by the self-styled Maritime Research Group comes ahead of the publication tomorrow of a new book by author and investigative journalist Ian Wishart, which also claims to have identified the ketch, initially the focus of police inquiries.

Last night, Wishart said he knew of the Maritime Research Group report. But he said his book, Elementary, “reaches a different conclusion”.

Presumably they can’t both be right. And there seems to be a third opinion – the police.

A police spokesperson confirmed last night it was “aware of this group and their theories regarding the case”.

“There is nothing in their correspondence that convinces police that anyone other than Scott Watson was responsible for the deaths of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope.”

So I expect the debate will continue.

The report paints the ketch as having a central role in the smuggling of cocaine. At least one of those named in the report and linked to the ketch is serving a lengthy prison term in the Oceania region after being caught at sea with a lot of cocaine.

The report again pits police against the yachting community.

“Any yachtie who looks at the practical side of what happened quickly comes to the conclusion this case presented by the police could never have happened … it’s full of holes,” said Mr Jenness.

Wishart’s book tomorrow may bust the case open. Or it may be disputed, like this report.

 

Bain given new hope for compensation

David Bain has been given some hope of getting his compensation claim considered. He had previously hit a l;egal brick wall in Judith Collins but the new Justice Minister Amy Adams seems prepared to deal with it,

Stuff: Bain has a fresh chance for compensation

David Bain has been given fresh hope in his fight for compensation after court wranglings came to an end.

The Government and Bain’s lawyers have agreed to end judicial review proceedings over a report that suggested he was innocent of the murder of his family.

It means the decision to award him compensation for wrongful conviction and for the 13 years he spent behind bars will go back before Cabinet ministers.

Justice Minister Amy Adams announced the move this afternoon.

“This discontinuance does not resolve Mr Bain’s underlying compensation claim, just the separate judicial review process,” she said.

“I plan to discuss next steps with my Cabinet colleagues over the coming weeks. 

“While the details of the agreement are confidential, I can confirm that there was no contribution made towards Mr Bain’s compensation claim as part of this discontinuance.”

Bain’s bid for redress stalled in early 2013 after a row over a report commissioned by then justice minister Judith Collins.

Written by retired Canadian judge Justice Ian Binnie, it found that Bain was innocent of the murder of his parents, brother and two sisters “on the balance of probabilities”.

Collins publicly questioned the findings and ordered a review by High Court judge Robert Fisher. Fisher pointed to errors in Binnie’s findings.

Bain’s legal team took the matter to the High Court and asked for a judicial review.

And they now seem to be making some progress.

I don’t have an opinion on whether Bain deserves compensation.

I’m not neutral on the Bain murders, but I’m uncertain. There doesn’t seem to be compeling evidence either way. And from what I’ve seen some evidence points one way and other evidence points another.

The fact is that legally Bain has been acquitted. And he’s trying to get financial redress.

If he is innocent (and that’s a distinct possibility) then he has a crap twenty years, having had the rest of his family killed or topped, copping all the blame and being locked away for years.

If he killed his family (and that’s also still a possibility) he has either got a massive cheel seeking compensation.

Or he’s been swept up in the Karam campaign and doesn’t know how to tell them to leave it now he’s at least out of prison.

I’m sure others will have views on this, many feel strongly one way or the other.