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Tags Ian Stephen , Jodi Jones , Luke Mitchell , murder cases

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Old 3rd August 2019, 05:23 AM   #81
Chris_Halkides
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an inverse relationship

"Throughout this all, Jodi’s family have continued to conduct themselves with quiet dignity." Daily Record I have no particular wish to criticize the Jones family, but this is not true, any more than it was strictly true that the Kercher family maintained a dignified silence (or words to that effect). With respect to teenage behavior Luke smoked marijuana and had sex when he was fourteen. One may argue that his mother should have had not permitted these things to occur (I don't take any position on questions of this sort). Yet exactly the same criticism could be said about Jodi's parents, in that Jodi also used marijuana and had sex at the same age. My point is that the press and public sometimes treat the victim and his or her family by a different set of standards versus the accused and his or her family. For example, Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher were similar in their behaviors concerning sex and marijuana. BTW, this Daily Record article discussed a knife found about 300 yards from the crime scene long after the crime. It may bear no relationship to the murder whatsoever.

One other point I would like to make is that the murder of Jodi Jones was a high profile case and can be interpreted through the experiences of the Knox/Sollecito and Duke lacrosse cases (I once compared those two cases on my blog). I have sometimes thought that the weaker the case, the more the prosecution will attempt to blacken the name of the accused person or persons. This can produce a conviction despite little evidence assuming some fraction of the mud is seen by the jury. Another aspect of high-profile cases is that the police probably feel pressure to solve the case quickly so that the public is put at ease. This partially explains (but by no means excuses) the remarkable level of confirmation bias shown by the investigators in this instance. And of course no high-profile case would be complete without Statement AnalysisR. I don't recall ever seeing the Statement AnalysisR blog find for innocence, but I have not looked exhaustively.
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Old 3rd August 2019, 06:11 AM   #82
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DNA and a drop of blood

"The reports also show, the new defence team says, that a blood sample found on her produced a full DNA match with a named individual and a second full DNA profile, for an unknown male, was retrieved from a condom found near the body.

The latter individual was identified three years later when he committed a crime and provided a match on the DNA database." Guardian.

I acknowledge that this report may be in error. However if we take it as a given, one explanation is that Janine's boyfriend Stephen bled at the scene. Caveat: As I have said before, the association of a DNA profile with a fluid or tissue is not implicit, and there are other explanations.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:05 PM   #83
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more on the limitations of differential extraction

On p. 38 of her book Introduction to Forensic DNA Evidence for Criminal Justice Professionals, Jane Taupin wrote, "Sometimes this [differential] extraction is incomplete or unsuccessful, and female cellular material is found in the seminal (sperm) fraction and/or lysed spermatozoa are found in the cellular (nonsperm) fraction."

On p. 107 she wrote, "Differential extraction of these [low copy number or old and fragile] samples may yield no profile from a male donor due to a combination of premature lysis of the cellular constituents of the sperm into the nonsperm fraction and sperm loss during the physical manipulations required for the isolation process." She made similar comments on p. 140 of her book Using Forensic DNA Evidence at Trial.

These passages address Sandra Lean's concerns about certain paradoxical DNA results that I mentioned in comment #62.
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Old 9th August 2019, 01:54 PM   #84
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I just wanted to check in and say that I do have a fair bit to say about this but I'm staying with friends and I only have my phone and I can't really type long or detailed posts at the moment.
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Old 10th August 2019, 04:27 AM   #85
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How familiar this all sounds - the arrest of the slightly off-the-rails gothy, metal-heady "he's a wrong 'un alright" suspect who fits everyone's (not least the not-very-bright cops) idea of a sicko and killer. Which is gathered not from any real world knowledge or insight but from movies and teevee. In fact, it's become almost a cliche in and of itself.
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Old 10th August 2019, 04:44 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by IsThisTheLife View Post
How familiar this all sounds - the arrest of the slightly off-the-rails gothy, metal-heady "he's a wrong 'un alright" suspect who fits everyone's (not least the not-very-bright cops) idea of a sicko and killer. Which is gathered not from any real world knowledge or insight but from movies and teevee. In fact, it's become almost a cliche in and of itself.
It is worse than that, even brighter, university educated cops end up thinking that way, such is the culture, particularly in CID, to get a detection, no matter what.
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Old 10th August 2019, 11:16 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by IsThisTheLife View Post
How familiar this all sounds - the arrest of the slightly off-the-rails gothy, metal-heady "he's a wrong 'un alright" suspect who fits everyone's (not least the not-very-bright cops) idea of a sicko and killer. Which is gathered not from any real world knowledge or insight but from movies and teevee. In fact, it's become almost a cliche in and of itself.

The thing is, he doesn't seem to have been a gothy, metal-heady potential wrong 'un at all. And even if he had been, the police acted against him before they'd had a chance to find that out. They assumed he'd done it right from the moment they answered the 999 calls to the scene of the crime, before they had any idea who he was (or indeed whether he had an alibi).

He was only 14. He wasn't a goth or "gothy". I don't know much about that sort of music but he said his favourite band was Eminem, which I don't think is heavy metal. He was a good pupil at school, he'd been in the army cadets until the previous year, and the family was very into outdoor pursuits. He had a horse. He was learning to handle his dog which was being trained as a tracker.

He was smoking pot and messing around with his girlfriend while they were both underage, but I'm not persuaded that's especially "off the rails" for the culture he was part of. While I'm not saying his home life was a model of middle-class perfection I think the interpretation of "bad family versus good family" (Mitchells bad, Joneses good) had it the wrong way round.

The whole narrative about Luke being out of control and "obsessed with Marilyn Manson" and so on was added later by the media, aided and abetted by the cops.
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Old 11th August 2019, 04:59 AM   #88
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Good afternoon, I was made aware of this discussion a few days ago, but it's taken until now to gain access to the forum!

Firstly, thanks to the posters who have clarified the possible (probable?) explanation about the DNA results reporting that sperm and semen samples appeared female in origin. That's very helpful to know - it's been something that's baffled me (as a non-expert) for a very long time.

Secondly, I'm happy to answer questions or clarify points - there has been a massive amount of information and misinformation in the public domain about this case for many years. I'll start with some of the questions already raised, if that's ok?

The semen on the bra/t-shirt? DNA from Jodi's sister's boyfriend's DNA was found in the middle front of the t-shirt, where samples labelled "semen" were found and also sperm heads. Confusion arose because the sample identifying the sister’s boyfriend’s DNA was initially labelled “blood.” (Explanations already posted her have clarified that somewhat, I think). Further semen deposits and spermheads were found on the upper left and right front of the t-shirt, the inside of the left sleeve of the t-shirt and also on the outside and inside cups of the bra. All of these returned either "no reportable results" or partial profiles and so remain unidentified to this day.

The prosecution claim was that semen from the t-shirt may have "migrated" to the bra due to rainwater diffusion. However, the bra and t-shirt pieces (it had been cut and ripped into two pieces) were found several feet away from each other, so, if rainwater diffusion was the culprit, Jodi had to be still wearing both items of clothing and being rained on when the semen was deposited, which doesn't fit with the prosecution case. At the claimed time of death (5.15pm) it wasn't raining (it was bright sunshine) - the rain didn't start until almost two hours later.

There is one other possible explanation and that is that when the police gathered up items of clothing from the scene (before the forensics officers arrived) they put the bra and the t-shirt together, thereby transferring forensic evidence from one to the other. I've no idea how likely it would be that the deposits would land up where they did on the items if this was the explanation.

The time Luke waited at the end of his street? When he left home just after 5.30pm, he tried to call Jodi’s house (5.32) but the call didn’t connect. He tried again at 5.40pm and was told Jodi had “just left” (it was later claimed he was told Jodi had left “to meet him,” although none of the initial statements said so). If he believed Jodi had just left at 5.40pm, he wouldn’t be expecting her in Newbattle much before 6.05 – 6.10pm, so, for the first half hour, he was just whiling away time. After that, he walked a little way up the Newbattle Road to a bend at Barondale Cottages “a couple of times” to see if he could see Jodi approaching. He was seen by a witness at around 6.15pm at the cottages. Around 6.30pm, he says he went into the grounds of Newbattle Abbey and smoked a joint and then called a male friend to see if he was going to be out and about – this was a friend Luke, Jodi and another friend regularly hung out with. The call was made at 6.50pm, Luke calling his mum at 7pm to tell her, if Jodi turned up at the house, to send her over to the Abbey where the others would be.

"Throughout this all, Jodi’s family have continued to conduct themselves with quiet dignity." That is not strictly true. Jodi’s mother went into Corinne Mitchell’s workplace just after the appeal hearing in 2008, drunk, and attacked Corinne, breaking her glasses and pulling out clumps of her hair. In 2010, after the launch of the Luke Mitchell website, Jodi’s brother came to my house and threatened me – amid a barrage of cursing, he told me “that website goes or you do – I know where you are now.” Jodi’s mother later posted on a forum that I was lying about her son’s threats, firstly claiming the incident never happened (as she did following the incident with Corinne) and then admitting her son had “visited” me because he was “upset.”

Where did Andrina Bryson live (and which supermarket did she visit)? Mrs Bryson lived in an area known as “The Bryans.” After she passed the Easthouses end of the path, she would continue driving southward on the Easthouses road onto Morris Road– when she reached the end of that, the houses directly opposite the junction with the B6482 belong to The Bryans area.


The supermarket was in Gorebridge - EH23 4TX - if you check with Google maps, you can see the direct route between the store and either the Easthouses Road or the Bryans area (I can't post links yet because this is my first post, sorry!)


However, if you zoom in on the Gorebridge map, the prosecution claim was that one of the routes taken by Mrs Bryson, instead of simply returning by the route she’d taken to get there, headed in the opposite direction (turning left out of the supermarket, on the B 704 along Hunterfield Road to Station Road, turning left onto Lady Brae and following this road to Barleyknowe Road and then looping back around to Stobhill Road again. When you look at the direct route between her home and the supermarket, this alternative seems ludicrous.

The other suggested route isn’t much better – instead of cutting along past Mayfield Industrial Estate, the suggestion was that Mrs Bryson took the B704 (back the way she came) but turned onto the A7, down through Newtongrange Main Street and up Bryans Road before turning into Morris Road.

The only explanation for introducing either of those routes as possibilities can be that the time needed for either journey had to be at least double the actual time the most direct route would have taken (around 6 – 7 minutes) in order to “fit” the required timing for the “sighting.”

(Apologies if this isn't the best way to demonstrate what I'm trying to show here - I've no idea how to upload screenshots of the actual maps, sorry!)
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Old 11th August 2019, 05:54 AM   #89
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Sandra Lean,
Welcome to the forum.
It seems there is copious data precluding the notion Luke could be the perpetrator, so let's hope this thread can in some way assist.
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Old 11th August 2019, 05:56 AM   #90
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Oh, hi Sandra. I'm @DrMoragKerr (my real name) on Twitter. You probably recognise the avatar. I'm currently in the huff there because Twitter have designated a couple of innocuous posts of mine (the usual, men cannot actually turn into women) as "hate speech" and won't give me access to my account until I delete them. I'll get round to it but I'm in no hurry.

This is a much better forum to discuss the case as we're not limited to 280 characters, and I'm glad you decided to join. It's also a lot harder to get suspended or banned from here.

I'm not sure about this explanation for the semen DNA being reported as female. It seems to me from what Chris posted that this explanation is in the context of semen being recovered from the vagina of a rape victim, when there would of course be female cells present as well. The semen in this case, as you noted, was recovered from a t-shirt. I was going to post about this once I was back on my computer. I still don't understand it and to a certain extent I'm still in "so somebody please explain to me why Steven Kelly isn't the murderer?" mode with that one. It would certainly have been a lot easier to fit him up than to fit Luke Mitchell up as far as I can see, and yet the police appear to have been falling over themselves to dream up exculpatory explanations for the evidence against him.

I've already posted a map of the general area, and here it is again. It doesn't go as far out as The Bryans or Gorebridge but I can put up a smaller scale one of a larger area if necessary. I think the OS map is a lot clearer and makes it a lot easier to see where things are than Google.



The three points showing the two houses and the crime scene are a bit approximate, from your own descriptions. I think they're OK as illustrations, but if you have more precise details I can change the file.
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Old 11th August 2019, 09:45 AM   #91
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Sandra, can I post some things I'm confused about so you can put me right?

First, Andrina Bryson. Her itinerary for the late afternoon was, put the kids in the car and go to the Co-op for the messages. (I'm a bit unclear as to why she went all the way to Gorebridge when there's another Scotmid branch a lot nearer but that doesn't matter, I assume the identity of the supermarket is not in doubt.) It's very clear that this journey, direct both ways, wouldn't have taken her anywhere near Easthouses Road, as Gorebridge is in the opposite direction.

However, she went into Easthouses to look at a house she'd seen there which was for sale. (Do we know the address of that house?) She must have done that after she did the messages, because of the time on the checkout slip. Leaving her actual route aside for the moment, this sequence of events would take her first north into Easthouses from Gorebridge, then south from Easthouses back home. Going from Gorebridge to Easthouses one might drive north up Easthouses Road, but on the other hand one might not, one might take the B6482 instead. Going from Easthouses to The Bryans on the other hand, the absolute no-brainer would be to drive south down Easthouses Road.

It is impossible to see what she said she saw from a car travelling north on Easthouses Road. It is perfectly possible to see what she said she saw from a car travelling south (although one might marvel somewhat at her having retained so much detail about two perfectly unremarkable pedestrians seen for only a handful of seconds when she apparently couldn't even remember which route she'd taken to Easthouses).

It would be natural to assume she saw these two people on her way home, as the natural route back to The Bryans from Easthouses is south down Easthouses Road, however if that was the case then the time was about 5.40, which is no use at all to the prosecution. The prosecution needs that sighting to have been shortly before five o'clock, and the time we're expected to believe it happened is approximately 4.50, certainly before 4.55.

Mrs Bryson left the supermarket at 4.50, according to the checkout slip time, or 4.37 according to the bank statement time (in both cases allowing five minutes to get the groceries and the kids into the car and drive off). The former time is too tight for her to have got to the end of the path even driving straight there, so the police had to use the latter time (even though this leaves an improbably short time to get the shopping done).

At this point a detour becomes necessary, not simply to use up some of that extra 13 minutes we've suddenly acquired by using the earlier checkout time, but to get her car pointing south. Neither of the routes you describe gets Mrs Bryson going south on Easthouses Road at 4.50 to 4.55. In order to do that she would either have had to drive north up Morris Road and then Easthouses Road, past the end of the path, then turn herself around and retrace her route back south towards The Bryans, or she would have had to get to the north end of Easthouses Road via the B6482 and then drive south.

Neither of these manoeuvres makes any sense if she was looking for a house in Easthouses, because the end of the path is to the south of Easthouses, and a driver going south is leaving Easthouses behind at that point. In order to be driving south on Easthouses Road before she had looked at the house she was interested in, she would have had to have become quite seriously lost. At this point her route from Gorebridge towards Easthouses becomes fairly irrelevant, as the time required to place the sighting at 4.50/4.55 given a leaving time of 4.37 is easily explained by this circumstance. The interesting part is how she came to be in Easthouses itself (north of the end of the path) and then to have driven south back out of Easthouses before she actually found the house she was looking for. (If she lived in The Bryans she can't have been as unfamiliar with Easthouses as all that, it's barely half a mile.)

I have to say this is quite baffling to me, and the attempted explanations are making it even more baffling. How do we place Mrs Bryans on Easthouses Road driving towards Morris Road at 4.50 to 4.55. That's the important point, not the route she took when leaving Gorebridge.

(As an aside, I find this whole story very hard to swallow when considering what Andrina Bryson was doing at that point. She was driving her car with two small children in it. She was looking for a house she wanted to take a look at. SHE WAS LOST, AND HEADING AWAY FROM THE PLACE SHE WANTED TO BE. Had she yet realised she was going the wrong way? Since she was less than half a mile from her own house, it would seem likely. She was approaching a blind left-hand bend. And yet we're supposed to believe she remembered, in detail, what two unremarkable pedestrians she happened to pass on her right were doing, and wearing, to the point where she was able to pick one of them out of a photospread some weeks later? Really?)
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Old 11th August 2019, 09:57 AM   #92
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Second, the timeline of the Mitchell family between about five and five-thirty.

It seems that Luke started to heat up these pies around 4.30 or a little later, but we have to give him time to burn the things. Or did he not start doing that until after the exchange of texts with Jodi? If he didn't put them in the oven until about 4.40, after the texts and the point when Shane returned home, I'm not sure they'd have been burned unless he had the oven way too high. Did he also prepare Corinne's meal, or would she have done that herself?

It also seems likely that Shane logged off his computer at 5.06 to go and have his tea. If he left the house before 5.30 this is pretty much inevitable. So, he ate a burned pie. Presumably Luke also ate a burned pie, and again since we know he also left the house at 5.30 he must have eaten at that time too. Did they eat together? It seems unlikely they ate separately, alone in their rooms or something. (If Shane ate a burned pie, who burned it, if not Luke?)

I note that Corinne's usual time of returning home was 5.15. Did she get home at that time on 30th June? Did she see Luke (+/- Shane) at that time? What did she eat and when? Did all three eat together before 5.30?

I can appreciate that anyone might not immediately remember exactly what they did on what was then an unremarkable evening, but once it becomes clear (as it soon did) that the evening was anything but unremarkable and it's necessary to remember, it's not that hard to recall the details if not much time has passed (as was the case here). I know the police said Shane was lying about having seen Luke in the house when he got in from work, but what was it the police said Shane and Corinne were lying about as regards the period from about 5.10 until 5.30? Corinne was apparently in the house from about 5.15 but there's nothing in your book about whether she saw Luke or not, or indeed who ate at what time and with whom.
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Old 11th August 2019, 10:03 AM   #93
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Third, Stocky Man.

You said he'd been identified at a later stage, after all the confusion about the person one witness thought it was turning out not to have been near the place. I can't see any clear statement of who he was identified as, but I have it in my mind it was either Steven Kelly or Joseph Jones. Can you clarify?
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Old 12th August 2019, 04:19 AM   #94
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Andrina Bryson - the claim is she drove into Easthouses via Morris Road (i.e. driving north), found the house she was looking for, after a bit of to-and-froing, stopped outside the house, which was in a cul-de-sac, did a three point turn taking her back out onto the Easthouses Road and headed south, towards Morris Road, on her way home.

Findlay, himself, seemed confused (or perhaps he was trying to point out the anomaly of her car facing in the wrong direction for the sighting) - he put it to her that she passed a particular road sign which is just before the beginning of Easthouses when coming from the south. She agreed that was the way she'd come into Easthouses, but then Findlay moved onto her sighting without making any more of it.

As I've said so many times, the 4.49 - 4.54 window can only be fitted to the time Bryson was arriving in Easthouses (according to the prosecution case), from the south and therefore, the path (and anyone on it) were on her left hand side, hidden from view until she passed the entrance - she could only have seen someone on the path in those circumstances by looking backwards as she drove around what would then be a tight, right hand bend.

But her own testimony was that she spotted the couple when she was driving home, after viewing the house for sale.

She spoke to the police on the late afternoon of July 1st - just 24 hours after her shopping trip, and again on July 2nd. Both times, she was pretty clear about her times (she even took the phone log with the call from her husband pinpointing the time she'd estimated the previous day). They didn't ask her, in those two statements, what route she took from the store to Easthouses.
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Old 12th August 2019, 04:30 AM   #95
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Times for the Mitchell family.

Luke put the pies in the over after he'd spoken to his mum around 4.25pm to ask what he should cook for dinner. Corinne was a few minutes later home because she stopped at the local store to buy cigarettes on her way home, but it didn't make a huge difference - she was home by 5.10 - 5.15pm every night and that particular day (June 30th) she arrived at 5.15pm. There is CCTV footage of her leaving work at a few minutes after five and in the shop buying cigarettes around 5.09pm (I'd have to dig out the paperwork to get the exact times) - she would have needed about 5 minutes to drive from the shop to her home.

Shane turned off the computer and went downstairs at the time he was expecting tea to be almost ready (as it was every other evening).

Corinne saw Luke and Shane when she came in (sorry I didn't specify this in the book - it was a mind fry to write). They didn't eat together (teenage boys!) Shane took his dinner upstairs to his room, Corinne sat out in the garden, as she often did after being in the office all day, and Luke ate his dinner in the livingroom. He and Corinne were talking in the kitchen - after both taking their plates there when they finished eating - when Shane left.

Corinne had prawns instead of pie.
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Old 12th August 2019, 05:46 AM   #96
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some call it an axiom of DNA profiling

"There is no information inherent in the DNA profile that provides information about ‘how’ or ‘when’ the profile was transferred."
DNA commission of the International Society of Forensic Genetics: Recommendations on the evaluation of STR typing results that may include drop-out and/or drop-in using probabilistic methods, Forensic Sci Int Genet. 2012 Dec; 6(6): 679–688.
P. Gill, L. Gusmăo, H. Haned, W.R. Mayr, N. Morling, W. Parson, L. Prieto, M. Prinz, H. Schneider, P.M. Schneider, and B.S. Weir. Link to abstract.

This is an important principle in DNA profiling, that I have mentioned previously with respect to the Knox/Sollecito case. I have even heard it referred to as an axiom by someone who was working in the field at the time. With respect to this or any other case, it cuts both ways. The prosecution can make up any story this wish about how DNA came to be on Jodi Jones' clothing, but their assertions do not make it true. Nor is any assertion necessarily false--more evidence might support one hypothesis over another. BTW in other cases the prosecution is usually the side arguing against transfer; therefore, this case is...unusual.

Presumptive then confirmatory testing of body fluids is important to establish a source for the DNA, and this may suggest one scenario for how the DNA arrived on an object. Suzanna Ryan's clearly written blog touches upon this point here. Caveat: The association between a test for a body fluid and a test for DNA is not "implicit," as pointed out in Professor Peter Gill's book.
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Old 12th August 2019, 06:00 AM   #97
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Sperm cells and presumptive testing for semen

Suzanna Ryan discussed the presence of a small number of sperm cells here. In part she wrote:

"What does it mean, however, if an item is negative for AP and/or P30, yet a few sperm cells are found on the evidence item? In this case, there is support for the fact that either the area being tested is a semen stain that has been laundered, or the area being tested is not a semen stain at all. AP is an enzyme that is water soluble and research has shown that when a semen stain is put through a normal washing machine wash cycle, the AP activity will be lost (Kafarowski, Farmen). In addition, P30 activity will typically be lost during a hot water wash cycle (Farmen and Hulme).

Negative AP and P30 results are significant in light of the fact that the AP test can detect semen diluted up to 1:2000 and the P30 test can detect semen in dilutions up to a million-fold (Hochmeister et al) and can retain activity for many years in a dried stain. Therefore the absence of these seminal constituents indicates that the tested area is either not a semen stain, or at the very least the area is not a fresh semen stain that has not gone through the wash."

The acid phosphatase (AP) test is a presumptive test for semen. As Suzanna Ryan mentions, the story surrounding P30 (PSA) is a little more complex, but (without double-checking the literature) I seem to recall that it, too, is presumptive in that it can be found in lower concentrations in other fluids.
EDT
With respect to this case, I would say that finding a small number of sperm heads (hypothetically coupled with a negative AP or PSA test) might support the prosecution's hypothesis. However, it is my understanding that Jodi did live in the same household as her sister; therefore, the washing machine transfer scenario has certain hoops it would have to jump through in order to be plausible.
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Old 12th August 2019, 08:31 AM   #98
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correction to earlier message today

Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
With respect to this case, I would say that finding a small number of sperm heads (hypothetically coupled with a negative AP or PSA test) might support the prosecution's hypothesis. However, it is my understanding that Jodi did live in the same household as her sister; therefore, the washing machine transfer scenario has certain hoops it would have to jump through in order to be plausible.
I meant to write "...Jodi did not live..." I may be mistaken factually.
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Old 12th August 2019, 09:44 AM   #99
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Hi there. Just before I start posting any considerations I might have, is this a continuation from an existing thread or are these 3 pages all there is at the moment? I can't find much else.

Hoots
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Old 12th August 2019, 09:58 AM   #100
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That's all there is.

What you see all there is here; this is not a continuation thread, although a few comments were made in another thread. There are threads at other boards, including the Injustice Anywhere Forum.
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Old 12th August 2019, 10:22 AM   #101
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Is there any reason why anyone interested in Luke's case shouldn't use the UK Justice forum that seems to be quite well established by comparison?

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Old 12th August 2019, 10:36 AM   #102
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Witness cajoling

TomG,

I cannot answer your question direction, having only rarely visited that forum. However, at least one discussion forum I did visit on this case had many commenters that misrepresented at least one aspect this case, namely the real or imagined motivation of the prosecution's eyewitnesses (and for that reason, it might not be a good use of time to discuss the case at that board), a major plank of this case.

If the defense wished to splinter this plank, either the witnesses have to be wrong, or their testimony has to be shown to be non-probative. At the board to which I alluded, the pro-guilt posters said that the defense and its supporters have to argue that these witnesses are lying. This is false. Witnesses can be convinced in various ways to change their testimonies, and this is more likely to happen when the police are themselves prisoners of their own tunnel vision. One possibility is to threaten a witness with criminal charges, but another is to persuaded that they are helping to solve a case. This sort of cajoling is likely to be more effective when the witness believes that the police have good reason to have a given individual in their sights. Examples available upon request.
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Old 12th August 2019, 11:36 AM   #103
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I had previously discussed the similarities between this and the Kercher case with Rolfe. I still think that the similarities are minimal but it's clear that the main reason for the acquittal of K&S was that there was a complete lack of DNA or other forensic evidence in the victim's room. This case is pretty much the same in that respect since there is absolutely no DNA evidence from Luke on Jodi's body when he should have left multiple traces had he been involved. It started raining a couple of hours after Jodi's body was found as I understand it that might have destroyed vital evidence; however, if there were DNA traces of unidentified individuals found on Jodi's body it would have to be significant since you can't get selective raining any more than you can get a selective clean-up as demonstrated in the Kercher case. In James English's YouTube interview with Corrine Mitchell she claimed that if Donald Findlay QC had pursued this argument the jury could not convict. I'm just wondering if this major pro-innocence point has been lost for good.

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Old 12th August 2019, 02:13 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by TomG View Post
Is there any reason why anyone interested in Luke's case shouldn't use the UK Justice forum that seems to be quite well established by comparison?

Because we're not members there, don't want to be members there, and don't know anybody there? Because this is where we hang out? On a more serious note, there may be something to be gained from starting at the beginning rather than being swayed by ready-formed opinions of people who have been discussing it for a while.

Originally Posted by TomG View Post
I had previously discussed the similarities between this and the Kercher case with Rolfe. I still think that the similarities are minimal but it's clear that the main reason for the acquittal of K&S was that there was a complete lack of DNA or other forensic evidence in the victim's room. This case is pretty much the same in that respect since there is absolutely no DNA evidence from Luke on Jodi's body when he should have left multiple traces had he been involved. It started raining a couple of hours after Jodi's body was found as I understand it that might have destroyed vital evidence; however, if there were DNA traces of unidentified individuals found on Jodi's body it would have to be significant since you can't get selective raining any more than you can get a selective clean-up as demonstrated in the Kercher case. In James English's YouTube interview with Corrine Mitchell she claimed that if Donald Findlay QC had pursued this argument the jury could not convict. I'm just wondering if this major pro-innocence point has been lost for good.

The similarities thing is a matter of opinion, but there's also the point that the police immediately decided the person (only one of them in this case) who found the body was the culprit, treated him as the only suspect right from the start, and damned him at the court of public opinion (leaks to newspapers) before any forensic results came back. Just as with K&S they seemed to be waiting for the DNA results to prove what they already thought they knew, but when the DNA came back with nothing from their suspect and positive evidence of someone else, they didn't back-track but doubled down on their original theory. Oh, and the Reid technique.

Anyway, as regards "absence of evidence" being held to be "evidence of absence", I think that boat sailed in 2005. The only way it could be brought up again would be at a retrial and I don't see that happening. Although, interestingly, the special defence of incrimination run at the appeal was rejected on the grounds that there was no DNA from either of the men named in that defence on Jodi's body!

I think the Andrina Bryson boat has probably sailed too. All that evidence was available to the court in 2005 and you're not allowed another bite at the cherry. It's a typical quandary. The original case is so full of holes it ought never to have been a conviction in the first place, but without "new evidence" you're stuck with it.
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Old 12th August 2019, 02:27 PM   #105
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Originally Posted by Sandra Lean View Post
Times for the Mitchell family.

Luke put the pies in the over after he'd spoken to his mum around 4.25pm to ask what he should cook for dinner. Corinne was a few minutes later home because she stopped at the local store to buy cigarettes on her way home, but it didn't make a huge difference - she was home by 5.10 - 5.15pm every night and that particular day (June 30th) she arrived at 5.15pm. There is CCTV footage of her leaving work at a few minutes after five and in the shop buying cigarettes around 5.09pm (I'd have to dig out the paperwork to get the exact times) - she would have needed about 5 minutes to drive from the shop to her home.

Shane turned off the computer and went downstairs at the time he was expecting tea to be almost ready (as it was every other evening).

Corinne saw Luke and Shane when she came in (sorry I didn't specify this in the book - it was a mind fry to write). They didn't eat together (teenage boys!) Shane took his dinner upstairs to his room, Corinne sat out in the garden, as she often did after being in the office all day, and Luke ate his dinner in the livingroom. He and Corinne were talking in the kitchen - after both taking their plates there when they finished eating - when Shane left.

Corinne had prawns instead of pie.

Total empathy about the mind-fry part. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. (Come to think of it, I actually made a t-shirt with my book cover on it. No idea what happened to that.) In the end I stopped stressing about it, realised that somebody had to do this and I was the one who had pulled that duty, and all I could do was my best.

I see Corinne was a "facultative vegetarian"! I think you did put the bit about Corinne on CCTV leaving work and in the paper shop in the book, I remember reading it. So it wasn't just all on Shane, they had to flat-up accuse Corinne of lying in her teeth, since presumably there was no way they could pretend she had been looking at dirty videos at the time.

I haven't got my head round the time-scale of when Luke is supposed to have given her the nonexistent parka yet - presumably he told her everything and she just said OK son, I'll take care of it for you! - but I'll get on to it.
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Old 12th August 2019, 02:42 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
With respect to this case, I would say that finding a small number of sperm heads (hypothetically coupled with a negative AP or PSA test) might support the prosecution's hypothesis. However, it is my understanding that Jodi did [not] live in the same household as her sister; therefore, the washing machine transfer scenario has certain hoops it would have to jump through in order to be plausible.

Interesting information. Certainly prostatic acid phosphatase is held to be essentially prostate-specific when interpreting blood biochemistry results - an elevated plasma concentration is considered to be diagnostic of prostatitis. I don't think the full details of the forensic results are in Sandra's book, but I recall Corinne in her recent interview saying that semen had been found on Jodi's body somewhere, so we need a bit more information.

I don't think it was ever established that the t-shirt Jodi was wearing was actually Janine's. And as Janine didn't actually live in the same household as Steven either, the whole washing-machine thing is difficult to tease out. I'd dearly love to know who first suggested to the investigators that Jodi might have been wearing Janine's t-shirt. Awfully convenient assumption for someone. Or maybe several someones.
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Old 12th August 2019, 03:36 PM   #107
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More on PSA and confirmatory tests

In a 2009 review article Virkler and Lednev wrote, "The most popular confirmatory test for semen beyond looking for sperm cells is the test for prostate-specific antigen (PSA). The semen from azoospermic males will still contain this antigen which is present in the seminal plasma; other body fluids contain a very low level of PSA and do not interfere [10]. These low levels require that PSA tests are not too sensitive so that there are no false positives. An important aspect of detecting PSA involves the ability to detect it on contaminated or scarce samples including laundered fabrics and decomposed cadavers [70]."

Suzanna Ryan wrote, "When it was first described in the literature, P30 [prostate specific antigen PSA] was thought to be found only in semen. However, as the sensitivity of the testing methods increased, scientists soon found P30 was present in body fluids other than just semen – including in some female body fluids....Negative AP and P30 results are significant in light of the fact that the AP test can detect semen diluted up to 1:2000 and the P30 test can detect semen in dilutions up to a million-fold (Hochmeister et al) and can retain activity for many years in a dried stain. Therefore the absence of these seminal constituents indicates that the tested area is either not a semen stain, or at the very least the area is not a fresh semen stain that has not gone through the wash."

Apparently hot water is more effective than cold water at removing reactivity in the PSA test, either by removing PSA or by denaturing it. Therefore, my present thinking is that PSA should be classified as confirmatory, but thought should be given to the possibility of a false positive. I would also tentatively conclude that AP is more likely to wash out of a stain than PSA is likely to.
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Old 12th August 2019, 03:59 PM   #108
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Aaaand, the biggie.

Originally Posted by Sandra Lean View Post
Andrina Bryson - the claim is she drove into Easthouses via Morris Road (i.e. driving north), found the house she was looking for, after a bit of to-and-froing, stopped outside the house, which was in a cul-de-sac, did a three point turn taking her back out onto the Easthouses Road and headed south, towards Morris Road, on her way home.

Findlay, himself, seemed confused (or perhaps he was trying to point out the anomaly of her car facing in the wrong direction for the sighting) - he put it to her that she passed a particular road sign which is just before the beginning of Easthouses when coming from the south. She agreed that was the way she'd come into Easthouses, but then Findlay moved onto her sighting without making any more of it.

As I've said so many times, the 4.49 - 4.54 window can only be fitted to the time Bryson was arriving in Easthouses (according to the prosecution case), from the south and therefore, the path (and anyone on it) were on her left hand side, hidden from view until she passed the entrance - she could only have seen someone on the path in those circumstances by looking backwards as she drove around what would then be a tight, right hand bend.

But her own testimony was that she spotted the couple when she was driving home, after viewing the house for sale.

She spoke to the police on the late afternoon of July 1st - just 24 hours after her shopping trip, and again on July 2nd. Both times, she was pretty clear about her times (she even took the phone log with the call from her husband pinpointing the time she'd estimated the previous day). They didn't ask her, in those two statements, what route she took from the store to Easthouses.

I've been trying to process this ever since I read it at lunchtime. I'm not often lost for words, but "outrageous" doesn't seem to do it justice. How can this point possibly have been glossed over? It absolutely destroys the relevance of what Mrs Bryson saw, and if that sighting is off the table there's absolutely no evidence that Luke was on the east side of the path at any time that evening, or indeed that Corinne and Shane were lying when they said he was with them at the time the murder was alleged to have happened.

I admit that I was aided on this point by Google Streetview, which wasn't available in 2005, but Easthouses is hardly the back of beyond and anyone living in the Central Belt should be able to drive there in an hour or two. Indeed, the angle of the path to the road at the junction can be seen on the OS map and that in itself might ring an alarm. In fact, how come the people (on the defence side) who actually lived there and must have been familiar with the neighbourhood didn't spot it?

My interest was initially sparked by your comment in the book that the end of the path was at a bend in the road. I wondered how Mrs Bryson could have been uncertain or mistaken about whether she was approaching a left-hand or a right-hand bend when she saw the couple. It then occurred to me that it was even simpler than that. "Mrs Bryson, can you cast your mind back. When you saw these two people, were they on your left or on your right hand side?"

I went to Streetview to get a better idea of the lie of the land. Was it possible Mrs Bryson's memory had been rearranged by the police so that she now believed the couple were on her left when originally they were on her right? Then I realised even that couldn't fly. Even if she had answered "they were on my left" to that question, it was clear that couldn't possibly be true. Here's all you can see of the path as you approach it from the south.

https://goo.gl/maps/cPFFAv1YBEskmSzeA

A car driver would be unable even to clock that there was a path there at all. If there were two people standing at the entrance to the path (between the lamp-post and the close-boarded fence, although I suspect the fence and the houses beyond it are new since 2003) it would be even less evident that there was a path at that point. Even when you're actually passing the end of the path it's barely visible.

https://goo.gl/maps/VQsT1ydbBuvLHpjXA

Bear in mind a car at that spot is approaching a right-hand bend. The driver would have to be looking at right angles in the opposite direction to the bend to see even that much, and if they did that for more than a split second they'd probably crash. And again, a couple of people standing at the entrance to the path would almost certainly hide it completely. And it's not as if the couple were doing anything in particular to draw attention.

I honestly thought from your Twitter reply on this point that somehow a contrived route had been dreamed up that had Mrs Bryson driving south at 4.50-4.55 even though the house she was looking for was to the north of her starting point, although I couldn't for the life of me think what that could have been. But it seems this wasn't the case at all. The prosecution simply got her to agree she'd driven north up Easthouses Road on the way from the supermarket to the house viewing and transferred her sighting to that time. My God, they built a replica of the wall in the court-room, but nobody could be bothered taking a run over to Easthouses Road to see what the sightlines looked like?

Conversely of course, a driver travelling south gets a fairly good look at the end of the path and even a few yards into it. Depending on where they were standing, a couple of people might not obscure the existence of the path from a passing south-bound driver, and it might even be possible to notice someone who had walked about ten yards along the path.

https://goo.gl/maps/pqV5pLQN6HdAbVYt9

The two aspects are so different that not only could there be no confusion in anyone's mind about which way they were driving when they saw the couple "at the end of the path", anyone who tried to maintain that they had seen all that while driving north would be revealed as a liar. (I still think the amount of detail Mrs Bryson attested to is more than slightly improbable given the short time the couple would have been in her sightline even driving south - again bear in mind they were on her right and she was approaching a left-hand bend - but the general assertion that she saw two people there and realised they were at the end of the footpath is credible enough.)

It ought to have been possible to destroy the Andrina Bryson sighting in court. It seems that Donald Findlay doesn't just sing nasty sectarian songs at football matches, he's also an incompetent who lets an innocent child go to jail for life because he can't grasp simple spacial geometry.

Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
At the board to which I alluded, the pro-guilt posters said that the defense and its supporters have to argue that these witnesses are lying. This is false. Witnesses can be convinced in various ways to change their testimonies, and this is more likely to happen when the police are themselves prisoners of their own tunnel vision. One possibility is to threaten a witness with criminal charges, but another is to persuaded that they are helping to solve a case. This sort of cajoling is likely to be more effective when the witness believes that the police have good reason to have a given individual in their sights. Examples available upon request.

I know what you mean, and Tony Gauci in the Lockerbie case is a prime example. (Same prosecutor too.) Over the course of about 22 statements he gradually changed almost everything about his evidence to match what the police wanted him to say. Yes, he had his eye on the $4 million reward money, but he also thought the police knew that Megrahi was guilty and if he didn't say the right thing the bad man would get away.

However in this particular example I have to say I have grave doubts about the honesty and integrity of everyone involved. The police do seem to have gone to extraordinary lengths to try to change the time of the sighting of these two people, and to represent them as being Jodi and Luke despite there being very marked differences between Mrs Bryson's description (particularly of the man) and what the 14-year-olds actually looked like, and I can't see that being honest. But I also have a lot of trouble believing Mrs Bryson, who actually drove the road and saw the two people, didn't realise that since her car was pointing south when she saw them she must have been on her way home. As this seems to have been what she said in her original statement, the back-flips involved in getting her to agree that it happened on her way to the house viewing can only be imagined.
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Old 12th August 2019, 04:45 PM   #109
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Chris, remember when I first got interested in the Knox and Sollecito case? Someone happened to mention that the victim had eaten nothing all day and then had a meal of pizza followed by apple crumble at about seven o'clock. They then said all of that meal was still in her stomach at post mortem, and her small intestine was completely empty apart from a small amount of ingesta in the terminal ileum. And that the prosecution was alleging a time of death of eleven or eleven-thirty or thereabouts. That is absolutely flat impossible in a healthy 20-year-old woman. She absolutely must have been killed very shortly after she was last seen alive just before nine.

That to me was absolutely conclusive. It convinced me on the spot that anyone with an alibi for nine to nine-thirty was provably innocent. And yet as far as I can see none of the serial court examinations of the evidence ever got this point straight.

The evidence of the baggage handler John Bedford in the Lockerbie case was a similar point. Nobody ever seemed to have explained why the suitcase he saw at 4.45 that afternoon wasn't the bomb. (And of course, it was.)

The directionality of the Andrina Bryson sighting in this case is for me the same sort of point. Wipe that off the table and there's no case at all. It seems to me this is a lot simpler than the stomach-emptying thing, which is susceptible to obfuscation from people quoting general papers pointing out that intestinal transit is a poor predictor of time of death without applying the principles to the specific circumstances under discussion. And yet the court again doesn't seem to have got its head round it.

Mrs Bryson, you say you observed the male walk about ten yards down the path. (Leaving aside for the moment the obvious fact that she couldn't have had him in view for long enough to see him do that.) How do you explain that, if you were travelling in a northerly direction? From that direction it's only possible to see into the path if you swivel your head round like an owl or something out of a zombie movie, in the opposite direction to the bend in the road your car was approaching at that moment.

M'lud, I rest my case.
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Old 12th August 2019, 07:28 PM   #110
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clarification

Originally Posted by Chris_Halkides View Post
If the defense wished to splinter this plank [a particular piece of eyewitness testimony], either the witnesses have to be wrong, or their testimony has to be shown to be non-probative. At the board to which I alluded, the pro-guilt posters said that the defense and its supporters have to argue that these witnesses are lying. This is false...
What I should have said is more like this: If an eyewitness gives testimony that is false, it is not necessarily the case that this witness is consciously trying to deceive. That eyewitnesses sometimes lie is difficult to deny, but it is the way that they are interrogated that can just as easily produce false testimony. For two examples see page 213 and page 238 of Brandon Garrett's invaluable book Convicting the Innocent.

In the Mitchell case at least one witness did have a good reason to lie, even if he were innocent, Janine's boyfriend Steven.
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Old 13th August 2019, 03:34 AM   #111
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I've had this problem in other discussions. One particular episode in relation to Lockerbie drove me absolutely up the wall. There is a man called John Parkes who has a bizarre theory about there having been another bomb on the plane in a different location, and his evidence for this is something to do with the body of a little girl which he happened to see during the recovery operation. He has constructed a whole fantasy scenario around this and has pestered Prof Busuttil (who was also in charge of the Lockerbie post mortems) until the man literally runs away if he hears the name. I got into a debate about this with a journalist (whom it seems isn't very bright) and he kept saying, so you're saying John Parkes is lying, what reason would he have to lie? Of course he's not lying, he absolutely believes what he's saying, it's just that he didn't see what he thought he saw and he has embroidered a whole theory on nothing.

I have no reason to believe Andrina Bryson is lying. For one thing, if she were lying she'd have done a better job getting the descriptions to match Luke and Jodi's actual appearance. It seems fairly clear that she did see two people standing at the end of the path around 5.40 when she was driving back home, and thought this might be of use to the inquiry. Since then she has confabulated a bit more detail than she actually saw, particularly as regards the male walking ten yards down the path, and (much more surprisingly) has gone along with the preposterous suggestion that she saw these people three quarters of an hour earlier when she was driving in the opposite direction.

However, even if Mrs Bryson is entirely honest (and there may be some doubt about that in the light of the absolute impossibility of her having seen the couple when she was driving in the opposite direction, and the witch-hunt that developed to get Luke convicted which I think there is reason to believe she participated in), the same can't be said for the police, or the prosecutors.

The defence in these cases is labouring under a severe disadvantage. The public (including the jury of course) believe that the police and the prosecution are truly disinterested, examining the evidence dispassionately and coming to a rational and well-supported conclusion about who committed the crime. They believe that exculpatory evidence will be given due weight and that if something emerges which shows pretty conclusively that they're on the wrong track they will back off and reassess, no matter how promising their initial line of thinking appeared to be.

Conversely, everyone (including the jury) assumes (probably quite rightly) that the defence is as biassed as hell. That their absolute objective is to get their client off, and that they will engage all the tricks in the book to do that.

Both of these positions seem to me to be wildly wrong. The police, as we've seen time and time again and as Sandra so clearly illustrates in her first book, No Smoke, latch on to someone who appears to them to be a plausible fall-guy, and then proceed to construct a case around him (or occasionally her) regardless of the amount of exculpatory evidence they uncover and regardless of the amount of incriminating evidence they find against someone else. This is compounded by the legal profession (COPFS in Scotland and something similar in England). Nessie, who is a former policeman, once rationalised that the police see the fiscal as their quality control mechanism. Lawyers, so he reasoned, are better educated and better at reasoning than police officers, and if the police have made a mistake then the case won't get past the PF. I'm sure this does happen occasionally, and indeed Sandra's book suggests the PF had serious reservations about bringing charges in this case but came round eventually. But it doesn't always happen and I think the higher profile the case, the less likely the PF is to tell the cops to bugger off and do a better job. Once charges are brought, the entire might of the system aligns itself towards the goal of getting that person convicted, come hell or high water. The cosy idea of Sutherland's Law where the benevolent PF always gets to the bottom of the truth and justice is done is a complete myth.

On the other hand, defence advocates seem to me to be failing their clients time and time again. So many open goals were missed in the Lockerbie trial I really do suspect the defence there may have been playing to lose. I don't imagine Findlay was playing to lose in this case but I think he just didn't care. He gets paid whether or not his client is acquitted. It takes a lot of time and effort to get a secure grasp of the facts in a complicated case like this, and you only have to read The Secret Barrister to realise the difficulties even when the defence advocate is actually trying. The cosy idea of Rumpole cogitating about the cases over breakfast and suddenly realising the extra bit of evidence that will prove his client innocent and going out and getting it is a complete myth.

There have been encouraging exceptions. The whole shebang of a system went out after the wrong people in the Damilola Taylor murder, up to and including the Sun screaming for their blood. But not only did the jury see through this and acquitted the defendants, the police actually re-examined the evidence and found the right culprits rather than falling back on the usual lazy "we are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident" schtick.

The police did the whole "we got the guy!" thing in the Joanna Yates murder, up to and including taking Chris Jefferies into custody and telling the press that they had their man, but when evidence against someone else emerged very shortly after that - akin to the finding of Rudy Guede's DNA on Meredith Kercher's body - they released him with apologies, backtracked, and again found the right guy.

But it doesn't happen often enough. I think things are getting better - this case was in 2003 after all - but mindsets are hard to change and when the police decide to home in on some random bystander, heaven help them even now. Because the jury probably won't.
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Old 13th August 2019, 03:55 AM   #112
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Eyewitnesses: no resemblance

From the book Witness for the Defense by Dr. Elizabeth Loftus and Katherine Ketcham:
"In a classic text on the subject, Convicting the Innocent, legal scholar Edwin M. Borchard presents sixty-five cases of "erroneous criminal convictions of innocent people." In twenty-nine of these cases, or approximately 45 percent, mistaken eyewitness identification was responsible for the conviction. Borchard concludes: "These cases illustrate the fact that the emotional balance of the victim or eyewitness is so disturbed by his extraordinary experience that his powers of perception become distorted and his identification is frequently most untrustworthy" (p. 367).

"Misidentifications are often blamed on the fact that the real criminal bears a close resemblance to the wrongly identified person. But in the twenty-nine cases in which mistaken eyewitness identification was responsible for the wrongful conviction, Borchard reports these facts:"...in eight of these cases the wrongfully accused person and the really guilty criminal bore not the slightest resemblance to each other, whereas in twelve other cases, the resemblance, while fair, was still not at all close. In only two cases can the resemblance be called striking." (p. 367)."

This passage prompts the question, "Why does the real criminal not resemble the wrongfully convicted person?" Part of the answer may lie in badly constructed identification procedures, for example a photo line-up which is suggestive. Even worse is not using a photo line-up at all.
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Old 13th August 2019, 05:33 AM   #113
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In other cases though, like this one, the problem is different. Someone sees someone else under perfectly unremarkable circumstances with no particular reason to believe there might be any significance to attach to this, and only later does it emerge that this unmemorable incident may require to be remembered. How well does their recollection then match the reality of what they saw?

At least Tony Gauci interacted with his customer in his shop for maybe half an hour, and during that time he looked at him with some care as regards what size and build he was and what clothes would fit him. (Unfortunately he doesn't seem to have remembered his face very well.) The problem there was that nine or ten months elapsed before he had any reason to consider the encounter to be important and even then it was a miracle he remembered it at all. Then he was shown a lot of mugshot pictures which probably muddied his vague recollection of the man's face even more. Then by the time he was shown the mug-shot he allegedly picked out, it was well over two years after the actual event, and it's highly likely the police gave him some indication as to which picture they wanted him to pick (even if they didn't, again that picture stood out as being different from the others in the photospread). By the time of the live identity parade it was almost eleven years since he saw the customer in the shop, and the accused's picture had been so widely disseminated that anyone who had been following the case could have picked him out even if they'd never set eyes on him before. (And then we have the added complication of Tony's first words, "NOT the man I saw in my shop..." being interpreted as a positive identification.)

In this case Andrina Bryson came forward within 24 hours of the sighting and gave a description of what she remembered, but she only saw the two people for a few seconds and didn't see the faces. The male in particular she described as looking quite different to Luke Mitchell's appearance. However she seems later to have become caught up in the witch-hunt mentality so that when she was shown a photospread including a mug-shot of Luke (again standing out as being different from the other pictures) she was prepared to pick him out as being the person whose face she didn't actually see.

Witness cajoling, indeed.
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Old 13th August 2019, 04:02 PM   #114
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Jamie Snow and Carlos Luna

"Carlos has now recanted his ID saying he is not sure if Jamie Snow was the person he saw from over 200 feet away, and that he only identified Snow because “as a 14-year-old, he believed that the police had caught the right person.” Why did he believe he was the “right” person? There were six people in the lineup." Link.

There are some differences between the eyewitnesses in the Snow case versus the Mitchell case, but I infer that the police somehow convinced Carlos Luna that Mr. Snow was the killer, or at least encouraged him in some way to identify Mr. Snow. There are other, even more serious, problems with the eyewitness testimony in the Snow case.
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Old 14th August 2019, 12:32 AM   #115
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Interesting information. Certainly prostatic acid phosphatase is held to be essentially prostate-specific when interpreting blood biochemistry results - an elevated plasma concentration is considered to be diagnostic of prostatitis. I don't think the full details of the forensic results are in Sandra's book, but I recall Corinne in her recent interview saying that semen had been found on Jodi's body somewhere, so we need a bit more information.
The problem with the Forensic results is the number of labs involved and the different labeling protocols used by each. Samples believed to be semen were found on the T-shirt, bra, underpants, trousers, shoe, face, right hand and abdomen. While many of those samples returned "no reportable results," three, labelled "semen," returned mixtures with Jodi and "unknown male(s)" - these were on the t-shirt and the bra.

The t-shirt had been cut through the neckhole, ripped down the centre back, torn vertically across to the left and along both side seams. According to the Forensic Report "several areas" close to the cuts and tears were swabbed, the swabs being sent to a different lab, along with two saliva stains and a sperm head that was labelled "semen." Results for all of these are not in the main table of results. I'll look out the other reports and come back to this.

Quote:
I don't think it was ever established that the t-shirt Jodi was wearing was actually Janine's. And as Janine didn't actually live in the same household as Steven either, the whole washing-machine thing is difficult to tease out. I'd dearly love to know who first suggested to the investigators that Jodi might have been wearing Janine's t-shirt. Awfully convenient assumption for someone. Or maybe several someones.
Until trial, it was never established that the t-shirt belonged to Janine. Since the questions asked of witnesses aren't recorded in statements, we don't know, for sure, where the borrowed t-shirt suggestion came from, however, although the lab report mentions possible rainwater diffusion, there is no mention, anywhere, of DNA from Janine suggesting the t-shirt may have been worn by her, so I think it's unlikely the suggestion came from there.

Kelly said, in one of his statements relating to this that he'd "been asked about a black t-shirt of Janine's," going on to say she had two identical t-shirts, one of which Jodi was "probably" wearing that night. Jodi was naked when she was found and none of the three who went over the wall mentioned seeing any clothing. Kelly had not seen Jodi at all that evening before she was found, so the only people who knew, for sure, what clothes were found at the scene were the police.
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Old 14th August 2019, 01:23 AM   #116
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If only the police conducted murder enquiries like this....
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Old 19th August 2019, 04:30 AM   #117
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How strong is this case?

Solely for the sake of argument, how strong a case would this be if we took some of the prosecution's points at face value. Let's start by assuming that Ms. Bryson saw Jodi and Luke. Let's also as take as true that the dog did not signal at the wall.

Here are my problems: One, finding a body when one is out looking is not impossible; why wouldn't you check on the other side of the wall? Two, seeing Luke and Jodi together would prove that Luke lied, but I am not sure how much more it proves. We are still left with a motive that is almost pure speculation, no murder weapon, no eyewitness to the crime, no confession, little or no forensic evidence against Luke versus some forensic evidence against others, no time of death from body temperature (unless I missed this). The timeline for Luke to have committed this crime and to have cleaned up is very tight.

BTW this is another crime that according to the various authorities was perpetrated by an inexperienced criminal who nevertheless managed to clean himself up perfectly and to leave little or nothing forensically incriminating behind.
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Old 19th August 2019, 11:55 AM   #118
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This is my 'local murder' - in fact I was very close by when it happened. I used to live on Newbattle Abbey Crescent (the same street as the Mitchell family), my parents still did at the time of the killing, and I was visiting them that week. In fact as I recall I arrived from London that very day - my dad picked me up from Edinburgh and we must have been driving in to Newbattle Abbey Crescent from the Dalkeith direction within an hour or two of the actual event, if not actually at the exact time. The next morning I was taking the dog for a walk and passed the Newbattle end of the footpath and saw police standing there - they gave me a look as I looked at them, but didn't actually stop me and I didn't ask them anything... but I hadn't seen anything the day before so there's no missed evidence there, before anyone pounces on that line of inquiry.



Of course just being close by doesn't grant me any special knowledge - other than to confirm that the court of public opinion was swift, and the story about the mother incinerating clothes was certainly spread widely.


However, if there are any specific questions about the local geography I might be able to help as I spent many years in the area - although generally not on the footpath that led to the murder scene itself, as it happens (I must have taken various dogs on hundreds of circuits of the woods around Newbattle Abbey Crescent, but never really had occasion to go to Easthouses).
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Old 19th August 2019, 01:15 PM   #119
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the wall itself

Big-E,

Welcome to the forum. I see that you have not often been on the foot path; however, I do have two questions about it. How tall is the wall along the path, and is it uniform in height? Thank you.
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Old 21st August 2019, 02:35 PM   #120
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the other woman hypothesis

It is my understanding that one motive for this crime that has been advanced is that Luke had a second girlfriend, that Jodi found out, and that in their quarrel he killed her. I am not sure whether or not the prosecution put this forward at the trial.

Offhand, this looks unlikely. From the reading I have done, it sounds as if she lived an hour away by car; therefore, I do not understand how Luke could have traveled this distance regularly, being too young to drive. It is not clear to me that there was an ongoing relationship, nor have I seen evidence that Jodi knew even of the existence of this young woman.

But in the spirit of an earlier comment of mine, let us suppose that there was a relationship and that Jodi found out. How likely is it that a quarrel would end in murder versus tears, angry words, or perhaps a slapped face?
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