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Tags Grace Millane , murder cases , New Zealand cases

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Old 19th November 2019, 10:51 AM   #121
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Let me remedy that oversight:

I see many differences, but also many similarities. I'm basing my assessment on the similarities: It's a legal activity. It's a voluntary activity. It's an activity that requires trust. It's an activity where carelessness or incompetence can get someone killed. It's an activity where, absent a clear indication of intent, it's impossible to discern negligence from murder.


That almost makes the parachute scenario worse. Packing a parachute is a specific thing that has to be done right one time. You're doing it calmly, methodically, at your leisure.

Compare that to an amateur act of consensual passion, between two enthusiastic but untrained partners. I'd argue that the skydiver has a much greater burden of negligence, simply because his circumstances admit a much greater degree of mindfulness in the act.


That's not how I see it. Negligence is negligence. I think that a charge of negligence should be easier to prove in cases of violent sex play (and packing a parachute), simply because it's the kind of activity that a reasonable person would understand they had to be careful about. But I don't think a charge of negligence should be replaced by a higher charge.


I'm sure it does. But sex play occupies a weird place in our society. We criminalize a lot of kinks we probably shouldn't. And people are gonna get it on however they like to get it on. We don't consider consensual sodomy rape, even though some jurisdictions make it illegal to consent to sodomy.
I guess you're right. I can't really come up with a coherent reason why you're not, other than this scenario feels different to me (which is obviously not skeptical). I think this brutish cad is evil and disgusting - based on the things he did afterward - but being evil and disgusting is not a crime in its own right. Once I start probing for the actual, specific crimes in this whole mess, it becomes harder to defend my position without invoking "special sex rules," which is not enlightened.

It still seems to me as though a reasonable person should have had a chance to see that he was going too far in hurting Grace, but some medical information has been posted that has made me a little less certain on that account. We'll see what the courts say, I suppose.
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Old 19th November 2019, 10:55 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Let me remedy that oversight:

I see many differences, but also many similarities. I'm basing my assessment on the similarities: It's a legal activity. It's a voluntary activity. It's an activity that requires trust. It's an activity where carelessness or incompetence can get someone killed. It's an activity where, absent a clear indication of intent, it's impossible to discern negligence from murder.


Here's a hypothetical question which is only peripherally related to our case, but which deals with this idea of "consent" and whether there are limitations to this:

Suppose two people (A and B) decide to settle a property dispute by means of an old-fashioned duel. That's to say they take two loaded handguns, stand back-to-back, take twenty counted paces away from each other, then turn and shoot. They both consent to this act. A shoots B dead. The entire act is witnessed reliably by dozens of people who are willing to testify, and it's been filmed on dozens of cameraphones.

What crime (if any) should A be justifiably convicted of? These were two consenting adults, remember....
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Old 19th November 2019, 10:55 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
I guess you're right. I can't really come up with a coherent reason why you're not, other than this scenario feels different to me (which is obviously not skeptical). I think this brutish cad is evil and disgusting - based on the things he did afterward - but being evil and disgusting is not a crime in its own right. Once I start probing for the actual, specific crimes in this whole mess, it becomes harder to defend my position without invoking "special sex rules," which is not enlightened.

It still seems to me as though a reasonable person should have had a chance to see that he was going too far in hurting Grace, but some medical information has been posted that has made me a little less certain on that account. We'll see what the courts say, I suppose.
That's about where I'm at. I don't really think there should be "special sex rules", but I do think that some kinds of sex play are special - that is, they require special care. So I'm definitely in favor of looking at charges of criminal negligence for this kind of thing. But not charges of murder, unless intent can be shown.
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Old 19th November 2019, 10:57 AM   #124
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Murder in New Zealand, as defined on the national legislation site;

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/p...DLM329311.html

"167 Murder defined
Culpable homicide is murder in each of the following cases:

(a)if the offender means to cause the death of the person killed:
(b)if the offender means to cause to the person killed any bodily injury that is known to the offender to be likely to cause death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not:
(c)if the offender means to cause death, or, being so reckless as aforesaid, means to cause such bodily injury as aforesaid to one person, and by accident or mistake kills another person, though he or she does not mean to hurt the person killed:
(d)if the offender for any unlawful object does an act that he or she knows to be likely to cause death, and thereby kills any person, though he or she may have desired that his or her object should be effected without hurting any one."

That makes NZ murder a broader definition than in the UK, as it crosses into what would be a manslaughter charge here, whereby there is an act that was not intended to kill, but it still caused a death.
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Old 19th November 2019, 11:00 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
That's the sticking point for me - the gap between unconsciousness and death.

If I could be convinced that this gap is just a couple of seconds, then it would be easier to think of this as an accident. But if the point of the activity is to give the recipient some kind of pleasure, then there's absolutely no point in continuing after she's passed out, and the guy should stop as soon as that happens, not continue for as long as it takes for her to actually die.

Unless HE's still getting some sexual pleasure from it, in which case lock him up.

But maybe I'm just a prude.
Yeah, this has been the sticking point for me as well. I accept that I may have some information wrong (I'm definitely not an expert in choking people out), but how could he not notice that she had gone limp? Why on earth would he keep going?

So then my mind says, well, there IS a fetish for sex with unconscious people. It exists in several forms, and it's generally called somnophilia. It might have a different name for scenarios in which it's combined with forms of violence. Not sure. It's been ages since I studied that stuff. But anyway, if dude was into that fetish on top of the choking, it's quite possible that he got carried away and continued on past the point of reasonable safety precautions. That makes the crime much worse, in my fervent opinion. But how could it be proven? Are we bordering on thoughtcrime? That would probably be the defense.

This is a mind ****.
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Old 19th November 2019, 11:06 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by isissxn View Post
I guess you're right. I can't really come up with a coherent reason why you're not, other than this scenario feels different to me (which is obviously not skeptical). I think this brutish cad is evil and disgusting - based on the things he did afterward - but being evil and disgusting is not a crime in its own right. Once I start probing for the actual, specific crimes in this whole mess, it becomes harder to defend my position without invoking "special sex rules," which is not enlightened.

It still seems to me as though a reasonable person should have had a chance to see that he was going too far in hurting Grace, but some medical information has been posted that has made me a little less certain on that account. We'll see what the courts say, I suppose.


Oh but the defendant's post-death actions in this case DO play a crucial part in any assessment of his guilt. Any jury is wholly entitled to ask itself whether a person who had come across the death of a sex partner as the result of a genuine accident and who panicked because he didn't know what to do and worried that he would be blamed..... would choose, after many hours and plenty of consideration, to travel out to hire a car and buy a large suitcase, place the body of the accidentally-dead partner into the suitcase, transport her body in the suitcase out through the lobby of the hotel, drive out of the city, pick up a shovel on the way, bury the body in the countryside, clean and return the hire car, and act as if nothing untoward had happened (including under police questioning until confronted with evidence of his lies). Oh and go on another Tinder date the very next evening.

Any jury is wholly entitled in law to consider whether those are the acts of an innocent person, or whether those can only be the acts of a guilty person seeking to avoid detection of his crime. And the jury's determination on this matter can legitimately form a significant part of its reasoning when it comes to the final verdict. Of course the jury will be asked to consider the physical evidence and other factors as well, but don't disregard the judicial significance and relevance of defendant's post-death acts just because they may seem like a "soft" judgement call.
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Old 19th November 2019, 11:12 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Murder in New Zealand, as defined on the national legislation site;

http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/p...DLM329311.html

"167 Murder defined
Culpable homicide is murder in each of the following cases:

(a)if the offender means to cause the death of the person killed:
(b)if the offender means to cause to the person killed any bodily injury that is known to the offender to be likely to cause death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not:
(c)if the offender means to cause death, or, being so reckless as aforesaid, means to cause such bodily injury as aforesaid to one person, and by accident or mistake kills another person, though he or she does not mean to hurt the person killed:
(d)if the offender for any unlawful object does an act that he or she knows to be likely to cause death, and thereby kills any person, though he or she may have desired that his or her object should be effected without hurting any one."

That makes NZ murder a broader definition than in the UK, as it crosses into what would be a manslaughter charge here, whereby there is an act that was not intended to kill, but it still caused a death.


No, it's actually pretty identical to the UK (England&Wales) definition.

E&W law carries precisely the same provision for "intending to cause significant injury" but which instead results in death. This is a wholly-necessary legal provision. Because otherwise, for example, a defendant in a murder-by-handgun case could (reasonably) claim "Oh yeah, I pointed my gun at the victim's chest and pulled the trigger, but I only intended to puncture his lung and put him in hospital for a few weeks, to teach him a lesson! I didn't intend to actually kill him!" And it would be functionally impossible to prove otherwise.

Manslaughter does not require intent to kill or seriously harm. That's the difference.
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Old 19th November 2019, 11:52 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Here's a hypothetical question which is only peripherally related to our case, but which deals with this idea of "consent" and whether there are limitations to this:

Suppose two people (A and B) decide to settle a property dispute by means of an old-fashioned duel. That's to say they take two loaded handguns, stand back-to-back, take twenty counted paces away from each other, then turn and shoot. They both consent to this act. A shoots B dead. The entire act is witnessed reliably by dozens of people who are willing to testify, and it's been filmed on dozens of cameraphones.

What crime (if any) should A be justifiably convicted of? These were two consenting adults, remember....
I'm not sure I understand the "whether there are limitiations" part of the question. Our society does in fact place limitations on activities that knowingly and intentionally cause death to the participants.

Whether there should be limitations, I don't have an answer, other than Chesterton's fence: We have a longstanding consensus that trial by combat is not something society needs. I guess we should stick with that tradition until we can figure out why we have it and why it's a good idea to drop it.

Our traditions about sex are somewhat messier and less well-regulated, but in general the idea is that whatever two consenting adults do in the bedroom is their business. As long as they're not setting out to kill each other on purpose. If someone dies apparently by accident, then an investigation is probably appropriate. Because sometimes it looks like an accident when it's really murder.
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Old 19th November 2019, 12:13 PM   #129
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He's in danger of being caught by (b) but I don't think it's a slam-dunk.
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Old 19th November 2019, 12:42 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm not sure I understand the "whether there are limitiations" part of the question. Our society does in fact place limitations on activities that knowingly and intentionally cause death to the participants.

Whether there should be limitations, I don't have an answer, other than Chesterton's fence: We have a longstanding consensus that trial by combat is not something society needs. I guess we should stick with that tradition until we can figure out why we have it and why it's a good idea to drop it.

Our traditions about sex are somewhat messier and less well-regulated, but in general the idea is that whatever two consenting adults do in the bedroom is their business. As long as they're not setting out to kill each other on purpose. If someone dies apparently by accident, then an investigation is probably appropriate. Because sometimes it looks like an accident when it's really murder.


I asked in order to create a frame of reference.

So, moving forward. Suppose two consenting male sex partners, in the privacy of their own bedroom ("their own business", according to your point above....) consent to giving each other sexual fulfilment by inserting multiple aubergines (eggplants) up within each other's rectums and large colons. Suppose that A forces a third large aubergine into B, but that causes B's colon to rupture and ultimately causes B's death from abdominal sepsis. The entire act is captured on cameraphone which is available to the State.

Should A be charged with (and, for the sake of argument, convicted of) any criminal offence? If so, what offence?


(NB I'm not merely trying to play semantics games here: I'm trying to establish ethical and judicial boundaries, which will hopefully then help us to assess the case in hand more appropriately....)
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Old 19th November 2019, 12:45 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
I asked in order to create a frame of reference.

So, moving forward. Suppose two consenting male sex partners, in the privacy of their own bedroom ("their own business", according to your point above....) consent to giving each other sexual fulfilment by inserting multiple aubergines (eggplants) up within each other's rectums and large colons. Suppose that A forces a third large aubergine into B, but that causes B's colon to rupture and ultimately causes B's death from abdominal sepsis. The entire act is captured on cameraphone which is available to the State.

Should A be charged with (and, for the sake of argument, convicted of) any criminal offence? If so, what offence?


(NB I'm not merely trying to play semantics games here: I'm trying to establish ethical and judicial boundaries, which will hopefully then help us to assess the case in hand more appropriately....)
I'm really not interested in hours and hours of painstaking, one-sided Q&A. How about you take a turn, tell us what you think the offense should be, and why you think so.
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Old 19th November 2019, 01:33 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
He's in danger of being caught by (b) but I don't think it's a slam-dunk.
The summing up by justice Moore may be critical. As I said earlier he prosecuted Renee Chignall and Neville Walker 3 times for the murder of Peter Plumley Walker until they were acquitted. The case was somewhat different in that the autopsy allegedly discovered a tiny grain of sand in his lungs which allowed the police to claim he was alive when thrown off the Huka falls, but of course it is now universally accepted they panicked when confronted with a dead body, the result of having a ciggy and cup of coffee while he was left semi asphyxiating. They then drove 200 miles with his body in the boot.

I am not suggesting this suggests a bias at all, but the parallels are curious.
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Old 19th November 2019, 01:37 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm really not interested in hours and hours of painstaking, one-sided Q&A. How about you take a turn, tell us what you think the offense should be, and why you think so.


Oh right. OK.

Manslaughter. Negligence. OK?

But clearly I'll stop at this point, seeing as we're in no danger of making headway....
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Old 19th November 2019, 02:04 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Oh right. OK.

Manslaughter. Negligence. OK?

But clearly I'll stop at this point, seeing as we're in no danger of making headway....
I think we're making a lot of headway. I just don't enjoy making headway by a process where you ask all the questions and I answer them.
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Old 19th November 2019, 03:30 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
You are conflating this with drink driving which is a criminal offence in New Zealand. Choking for enhanced eroticism is not currently legislated against, so engaging while drunk is not apparently the business of the state.
Because of witness 1, I am currently of the view this was an accident as claimed. I also heard all testimony from witness 2 who engaged in completely consensual activity until he "sat" on her. She had drunk a bottle of wine minus possibly a glass he may have drunk. Unpacking all that is ultimately for the jury.
I reckon he will take the stand.
Not sure choking by consent is not legislated against in NZ it could probably be attempted to be covered by an assault charge if one person decided the other had gone too far, same with whipping I guess. But certainly not clear.

Last edited by Fixit; 19th November 2019 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 19th November 2019, 03:39 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think we're making a lot of headway. I just don't enjoy making headway by a process where you ask all the questions and I answer them.


Well it was only two questions up to that point.... but anyhow....

I think another relevant area of reference here may be the way a country such as the UK (E&W)* deals with the law in the case of so-called assisted dying. The law here states that even if a person has a terminal, irreversible illness from which they are suffering intolerable pain and/or loss of dignity**, they cannot in effect give consent for someone else to assist in the ending of their life.

So even if a person in such a condition signs, for example, a competently-witnessed statement, recorded on camera, stating that they wish to end their life and giving me permission to prepare and administer a lethally-toxic substance to them with the intent of it ending their life (either immediately thereafter or at a time in the future when their condition has reached a specified level), I could - and almost certainly will - be successfully prosecuted for that person's murder if the act is carried out within this jurisdiction. E&W law currently does not draw any distinction between such a terminally ill person giving me their "consent" and any other person giving me their "consent".

In a very real sense, E&W law is stating that no human being can actually give consent - informed or otherwise - to dying from the actions of another person. It's not a dissimilar argument from that of a child being unable to give consent to engage in sexual activity. The law basically says that in either case, there's no such concept as consent when it comes to injurious acts of these sorts being inflicted upon those types of people. In another parallel, it's against the law for anyone (not just a doctor) to maim another person, even if that other person expressly gives "consent" for the maiming).

And so I'd go so far as to say that there's actually no such thing as "consent" for even so-called-consenting adults to perform injurious acts upon each other. And one such act would (IMO) be mutual choking into unconsciousness. Even choking someone into unconsciousness (but no further) carries risks to the long-term health of that person, up to and including brain damage. Therefore I'd argue that at the very least, the defendant in this case could be convicted of either Grievous Bodily Harm or Actual Bodily Harm.

But, as I've written already, the fact (QED) that his choking/smothering of Millane went way beyond unconsciousness, to the extent that (IMO) the defendant must have known that his continuation of constriction/pressure carried with it the probable outcome of very serious injury or death, I'd judge that the medical evidence alone in this case indicates murder.

(I'd further argue that the defendant's various acts in the wake of Millane's death are incompatible with his claims of her having suffered an "accidental" death and his panicking and being in fear of being wrongly blamed, but are instead only compatible with the acts of a man who knowingly caused her death and subsequently tried to cover it up and distance himself from it with lies and deception - but that's a separate (though obviously relevant and additive) point to the medical/consent matters under discussion at this moment)



* I have not sought out the corresponding NZ legislation (or, more accurately, lack of separate legislation) in this area, but a) I'd be surprised if it wasn't currently similar to that in E&W, and b) irrespective of (a), the E&W legislation still stands as an example in its own right of what jurisdictions can have to say in certain areas of alleged consent.

** I strongly disagree with current E&W law in this respect: I think euthanasia should be legal, albeit under extremely tight and well-regulated guidelines and safeguards. But that's by-the-by.....
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Old 19th November 2019, 03:49 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Fixit View Post
Not sure choking by consent is not legislated against in NZ it could probably be attempted to be covered by an assault charge if one person decided the other had gone too far, same with whipping I guess. But certainly not clear.


True. Again, it would be an effort to find - by exclusion - what NZ legislation has to say about these sorts of acts. But I'd venture to suggest that, as Aus and NZ law has tended to evolve in a similar manner to E&W law in these sorts of areas, I'd say it's a reasonable starting point to suppose that the current law is the same as that in E&W: that is to say that there's no such thing as "consent" by one adult to have physical injury inflicted upon himsellf/herself by another.


I remember watching a TV programme some years ago about a small group of people in the UK who have a peculiar (and extremely rare) mental health condition in which they grow to hate certain of their body parts - usually, it seems, either hands, arms, feet or legs - and desire to have the offending body parts amputated. The ones who carried it through had to go to certain states in the US where judicial precedent had already been set under the ambit of it being safer for a surgeon to carry out the amputation procedure correctly rather than have the person risk serious injury or death by trying to do it (or get it done) themselves, plus the fact that it was seen as a way of treating the mental health issue. In the UK, anyone performing such an amputation would certainly have faced serious criminal charges.
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Old 20th November 2019, 01:37 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Well it was only two questions up to that point.... but anyhow....

I think another relevant area of reference here may be the way a country such as the UK (E&W)* deals with the law in the case of so-called assisted dying. The law here states that even if a person has a terminal, irreversible illness from which they are suffering intolerable pain and/or loss of dignity**, they cannot in effect give consent for someone else to assist in the ending of their life.

So even if a person in such a condition signs, for example, a competently-witnessed statement, recorded on camera, stating that they wish to end their life and giving me permission to prepare and administer a lethally-toxic substance to them with the intent of it ending their life (either immediately thereafter or at a time in the future when their condition has reached a specified level), I could - and almost certainly will - be successfully prosecuted for that person's murder if the act is carried out within this jurisdiction. E&W law currently does not draw any distinction between such a terminally ill person giving me their "consent" and any other person giving me their "consent".

In a very real sense, E&W law is stating that no human being can actually give consent - informed or otherwise - to dying from the actions of another person. It's not a dissimilar argument from that of a child being unable to give consent to engage in sexual activity. The law basically says that in either case, there's no such concept as consent when it comes to injurious acts of these sorts being inflicted upon those types of people. In another parallel, it's against the law for anyone (not just a doctor) to maim another person, even if that other person expressly gives "consent" for the maiming).

And so I'd go so far as to say that there's actually no such thing as "consent" for even so-called-consenting adults to perform injurious acts upon each other. And one such act would (IMO) be mutual choking into unconsciousness. Even choking someone into unconsciousness (but no further) carries risks to the long-term health of that person, up to and including brain damage. Therefore I'd argue that at the very least, the defendant in this case could be convicted of either Grievous Bodily Harm or Actual Bodily Harm.

But, as I've written already, the fact (QED) that his choking/smothering of Millane went way beyond unconsciousness, to the extent that (IMO) the defendant must have known that his continuation of constriction/pressure carried with it the probable outcome of very serious injury or death, I'd judge that the medical evidence alone in this case indicates murder.

(I'd further argue that the defendant's various acts in the wake of Millane's death are incompatible with his claims of her having suffered an "accidental" death and his panicking and being in fear of being wrongly blamed, but are instead only compatible with the acts of a man who knowingly caused her death and subsequently tried to cover it up and distance himself from it with lies and deception - but that's a separate (though obviously relevant and additive) point to the medical/consent matters under discussion at this moment)



* I have not sought out the corresponding NZ legislation (or, more accurately, lack of separate legislation) in this area, but a) I'd be surprised if it wasn't currently similar to that in E&W, and b) irrespective of (a), the E&W legislation still stands as an example in its own right of what jurisdictions can have to say in certain areas of alleged consent.

** I strongly disagree with current E&W law in this respect: I think euthanasia should be legal, albeit under extremely tight and well-regulated guidelines and safeguards. But that's by-the-by.....
"(I'd further argue that the defendant's various acts in the wake of Millane's death are incompatible with his claims of her having suffered an "accidental" death and his panicking and being in fear of being wrongly blamed, but are instead only compatible with the acts of a man who knowingly caused her death and subsequently tried to cover it up and distance himself from it with lies and deception - but that's a separate (though obviously relevant and additive) point to the medical/consent matters under discussion at this moment)"

"who knowingly caused her death and subsequently tried to cover it up"

Equally he could have accidentally caused her death and knowingly (in terms of being panicked) tried to cover up. It's a big leap from that to 'knowingly caused her death.'

I struggle to put the accused into the role of ultimate predator with such poor planing that followed. I also struggle with the notion that Grace was so active in apparently putting herself at peril. I think that falls to the explanation today that it is more difficult for those my age to comprehend such random hookups, The other side is that it is people going about their own business. This is the first case of its kind in NZ for a generation at least, people will be at the moment be going about their lives as they decide while we debate a trial in which a Jury may be unable to reach a verdict.
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Old 20th November 2019, 04:08 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Fixit View Post
"(I'd further argue that the defendant's various acts in the wake of Millane's death are incompatible with his claims of her having suffered an "accidental" death and his panicking and being in fear of being wrongly blamed, but are instead only compatible with the acts of a man who knowingly caused her death and subsequently tried to cover it up and distance himself from it with lies and deception - but that's a separate (though obviously relevant and additive) point to the medical/consent matters under discussion at this moment)"

"who knowingly caused her death and subsequently tried to cover it up"

Equally he could have accidentally caused her death and knowingly (in terms of being panicked) tried to cover up. It's a big leap from that to 'knowingly caused her death.'

I struggle to put the accused into the role of ultimate predator with such poor planing that followed. I also struggle with the notion that Grace was so active in apparently putting herself at peril. I think that falls to the explanation today that it is more difficult for those my age to comprehend such random hookups, The other side is that it is people going about their own business. This is the first case of its kind in NZ for a generation at least, people will be at the moment be going about their lives as they decide while we debate a trial in which a Jury may be unable to reach a verdict.


Well firstly, I entirely agree that the actual jury in this case may interpret things in a whole number of different ways. I'd also readily admit that since a) I've obv not been in the courtroom during the whole trial, and b) I've only followed reports of the trial sporadically and recently, I may be way out in my own interpretation.

But

I still stand by my belief that the defendant's actions post death do not at all seem compatible with the actions of someone who came across a consensual sex partner who'd suffered an accidental death. I completely agree that it's reasonable to imagine that someone in such a position might have panicked and been scared of being blamed. But to me that's entirely incompatible with 1) going out to buy a large suitcase and hire a car, stuff the person's body into the suitcase and wheel it through the hotel lobby to the car, drive out of the city, picking up a shovel on the way, bury the body still within the suitcase, clean and return the hire car, act as if nothing has happened, lie to the police about everything when first questioned, and only change that lie of a story when confronted with hard evidence proving the lie; and 2) (and worse, IMO), carrying through with going on another Tinder date the very next night.



Incidentally, another very important point to consider is that (IIRC) the defendant claimed to have come across Millane's body at some point after their sexual encounter, to find her lying dead on the bed with blood coming out of her nose. BUT we know that, whatever version of events is true, she was choked or suffocated to death by his hand. So it's a total certainty that Millane must have been lifeless, limp and unresponsive (and not breathing) at the very moment the defendant removed his hands from her throat or face. So if we accept his claim in this respect, we have to accept that he walked away with zero concern from a limp, lifeless, unresponsive and non-breathing partner at the end of the sexual encounter.... and then only realised something was wrong when he came back into the room to "discover" that she was dead. I cannot believe that for a second. I think he's lying.
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Old 20th November 2019, 06:23 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
So if we accept his claim in this respect, we have to accept that he walked away with zero concern from a limp, lifeless, unresponsive and non-breathing partner at the end of the sexual encounter.... and then only realised something was wrong when he came back into the room to "discover" that she was dead. I cannot believe that for a second. I think he's lying.
Didn't he claim that he didn't discover this until the next morning, as her body was on the floor? That would require that her dead body somehow managed to get transferred from the bed to the floor. But I may not have been keeping up with all the story changes.
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Old 20th November 2019, 06:48 AM   #141
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Even if he is telling the truth, what he did is murder under NZ law, as she died of prolonged pressure to the neck, which at least falls under; "being so reckless as aforesaid, means to cause such bodily injury as aforesaid to one person, and by accident or mistake kills another person".

His post death actions are very much indicative of the actions of someone who is trying to cover up a crime.
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Old 20th November 2019, 01:32 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
Didn't he claim that he didn't discover this until the next morning, as her body was on the floor? That would require that her dead body somehow managed to get transferred from the bed to the floor. But I may not have been keeping up with all the story changes.
The act occurred on the floor, that is where she died. He claimed he went to the bathroom and fell asleep in the shower, later returned to bed in the dark and thought she had left.
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Old 20th November 2019, 01:35 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Even if he is telling the truth, what he did is murder under NZ law, as she died of prolonged pressure to the neck, which at least falls under; "being so reckless as aforesaid, means to cause such bodily injury as aforesaid to one person, and by accident or mistake kills another person".

His post death actions are very much indicative of the actions of someone who is trying to cover up a crime.
The defence is along the lines that his post death actions are very much indicative of the actions of someone who is trying to cover up something that looks like a crime.

This was exactly the same in the trials around Peter Plumley Walker, and the accused were acquitted.

Here is a brief summary

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/a...ectid=11726909

As I have said a few times, the trial judge in the Millane case was the serial prosecutor.

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Old 20th November 2019, 01:44 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by Samson View Post
The act occurred on the floor, that is where she died. He claimed he went to the bathroom and fell asleep in the shower, later returned to bed in the dark and thought she had left.
Most of the accounts I saw said he 'returned to bed' or 'went back to bed' and assumed she had left because she wasn't there.
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Old 20th November 2019, 01:53 PM   #145
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I am sure she died on the floor. The blood from the nose was on the floor and subject to the clean up. It is possible he did not take the stand because it would show his confession to the police involved elements that do not stand scrutiny.
However, I can't see how that has any greater impact than the lies he told about last seeing her at 8pm and so on. This trial is about everything that happened up to the moment of death. The prosecution say he murdered her, he is saying she died during a sex game gone wrong.

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Old 20th November 2019, 02:20 PM   #146
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This sex gone wrong is nonsense. Sex does not kill. In her case it was being strangled. That it was allegedly during sex should not matter. Just because the sex and even holding her neck may have been consented to, being strangled to death cannot legally be consented to.
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Old 20th November 2019, 02:32 PM   #147
Elaedith
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Even if he is telling the truth, what he did is murder under NZ law, as she died of prolonged pressure to the neck, which at least falls under; "being so reckless as aforesaid, means to cause such bodily injury as aforesaid to one person, and by accident or mistake kills another person".

His post death actions are very much indicative of the actions of someone who is trying to cover up a crime.
I think the one you quoted was referring to intending bodily injury to one person but accidentally killing a different person.

The relevant one would be b) 'if the offender means to cause to the person killed any bodily injury that is known to the offender to be likely to cause death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not.'

The reckless part is referring to whether death ensures, but the bodily injury part requires intent. If the jury accepts that pressure to the neck was not actually intended to cause injury, he could get off.
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Old 20th November 2019, 02:42 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by Elaedith View Post
I think the one you quoted was referring to intending bodily injury to one person but accidentally killing a different person.

The relevant one would be b) 'if the offender means to cause to the person killed any bodily injury that is known to the offender to be likely to cause death, and is reckless whether death ensues or not.'

The reckless part is referring to whether death ensures, but the bodily injury part requires intent. If the jury accepts that pressure to the neck was not actually intended to cause injury, he could get off.
You are right, I did misread that.
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Old 20th November 2019, 03:34 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Well firstly, I entirely agree that the actual jury in this case may interpret things in a whole number of different ways. I'd also readily admit that since a) I've obv not been in the courtroom during the whole trial, and b) I've only followed reports of the trial sporadically and recently, I may be way out in my own interpretation.

But

I still stand by my belief that the defendant's actions post death do not at all seem compatible with the actions of someone who came across a consensual sex partner who'd suffered an accidental death. I completely agree that it's reasonable to imagine that someone in such a position might have panicked and been scared of being blamed. But to me that's entirely incompatible with 1) going out to buy a large suitcase and hire a car, stuff the person's body into the suitcase and wheel it through the hotel lobby to the car, drive out of the city, picking up a shovel on the way, bury the body still within the suitcase, clean and return the hire car, act as if nothing has happened, lie to the police about everything when first questioned, and only change that lie of a story when confronted with hard evidence proving the lie; and 2) (and worse, IMO), carrying through with going on another Tinder date the very next night.



Incidentally, another very important point to consider is that (IIRC) the defendant claimed to have come across Millane's body at some point after their sexual encounter, to find her lying dead on the bed with blood coming out of her nose. BUT we know that, whatever version of events is true, she was choked or suffocated to death by his hand. So it's a total certainty that Millane must have been lifeless, limp and unresponsive (and not breathing) at the very moment the defendant removed his hands from her throat or face. So if we accept his claim in this respect, we have to accept that he walked away with zero concern from a limp, lifeless, unresponsive and non-breathing partner at the end of the sexual encounter.... and then only realised something was wrong when he came back into the room to "discover" that she was dead. I cannot believe that for a second. I think he's lying.
It can be put another way, how well can any person remember the details leading to or following a panic attack. As often happens we decide how a person acted and judge that, we also judge what they say - ok when asking what side of the road did you park the car on? Compared to, 'did the windscreen smash before the air bag inflated'. We have a ritual with the upstairs is locked when asked 'did you lock the door,' and being quite sure that it happened 'just to going to check' and finding it locked. This situation is a whole lot ramped up past that.

But a Jury may not see it like that. If one looks for details that are inconsistent in this case there are many, there are also many consistent details between the 2 statements and what pathologists said in particular. Some commentators have fixed on the 'maximum' time of neck pressure when it may have been far less. So far I've heard nothing about immediate unconsciousness by applying pressure to the neck - something taught in unarmed combat and which might by mistake might be applied by a person not knowing about it.

Overall total outrage should be tempered by the fact that Grace had a preference for pressure on her neck during sex, that should not be forgotten. Did it just happen her killer attacked her neck, or was it an invitation to apply pressure that went wrong?

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Old 20th November 2019, 03:44 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
This sex gone wrong is nonsense. Sex does not kill. In her case it was being strangled. That it was allegedly during sex should not matter. Just because the sex and even holding her neck may have been consented to, being strangled to death cannot legally be consented to.
Once again, technically correct is shown to be the worst kind of correct. There's a lot more to sex than penis in vagina, or talking to the little man in the canoe.
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Old 20th November 2019, 05:25 PM   #151
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https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/natio...cid=spartandhp

1st details of Crown closing, concentrating on photos, duration of pressure on the neck and introducing 'reckless intent.' Defence this afternoon Judge tomorrow.
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Old 20th November 2019, 06:12 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by Fixit View Post
It can be put another way, how well can any person remember the details leading to or following a panic attack. As often happens we decide how a person acted and judge that, we also judge what they say - ok when asking what side of the road did you park the car on? Compared to, 'did the windscreen smash before the air bag inflated'. We have a ritual with the upstairs is locked when asked 'did you lock the door,' and being quite sure that it happened 'just to going to check' and finding it locked. This situation is a whole lot ramped up past that.

But a Jury may not see it like that. If one looks for details that are inconsistent in this case there are many, there are also many consistent details between the 2 statements and what pathologists said in particular. Some commentators have fixed on the 'maximum' time of neck pressure when it may have been far less. So far I've heard nothing about immediate unconsciousness by applying pressure to the neck - something taught in unarmed combat and which might by mistake might be applied by a person not knowing about it.

Overall total outrage should be tempered by the fact that Grace had a preference for pressure on her neck during sex, that should not be forgotten. Did it just happen her killer attacked her neck, or was it an invitation to apply pressure that went wrong?


Firstly, for my part, there's no outrage involved. It's simply my view of the case. As I think I wrote before, I don't "want" or "need" this man to be convicted. But IMO he should be convicted, based on my understanding of the most important evidence.

Secondly, I believe that all relevant evidence around choking and suffocation is consistent in the relevant timings: that a person can be choked/suffocated into unconsciousness within a time period going from as little as several seconds up to around 2o seconds (and that also depends on the severity of the choking etc). But once the person being choked/suffocated has become unconscious and gone limp and unresponsive with eyes closed, it then takes a significant additional period of time of continued choking/suffocation to actually lead to death. Again this is somewhat variable depending on the "victim" and the method/strength of the "perpetrator", but the minimum is something like 40 seconds longer (I'll search for a relevant cite tomorrow - it's 1.15am here now).

So whatever the defendant did to Millane to choke/suffocate her, he must have continued with it long after Millane closed her eyes and fell unconscious, limp and unresponsive. I simply cannot see any other explanation for that other than that the defendant intended to cause Millane serious injury or death (the test for murder).

And in addition, as I wrote in an earlier post yesterday, the defendant by definition must have seen that Millane was entirely lifeless at the moment he released his hands from her neck or face - because it was the very prolonged application of his hands which caused her death. But if we're to accept his version of events, we are to believe that he felt zero concern for Millane's welfare at that point, and only "discovered" that she was dead when he "came across" her body at a much later time. For me, that quite simply does not, and cannot, ring true. If he'd claimed that he choked her for that time period, then released his grip and waited for her to regain consciousness, and then panicked when he realised she was not in fact simply unconscious but in fact dead, I'd be much more ready to believe that. But that's not what he claimed.

And lastly, you write of a panic attack, and of course I understand that people can do irrational and contradictory things when they're in the middle of such an attack. But I'd venture to say that panic attacks cannot last for 36 hours or longer. And the defendant in this case, having (by his account) come across the accidentally-dead body of Millane in his hotel room, took at least 36 hours - and a good deal of methodical planning and purchasing/hiring - to conceal the body in a suitcase he bought for that purpose, transport it out of his hotel and into a car he hired for that purpose, and bury it using a shovel he bought for that purpose. And furthermore, he went on another Tinder date the very next evening, while (I believe) Millane's body was inside the suitcase inside the boot (trunk) of his hire car...... Oh and then he repeatedly lied to police, only changing to a different version when confronted with evidence which proved his lies.

Those actions, to me, do no seem like the product of a "panic attack". As I wrote previously, I could accept the "panic attack" version if, for example, he'd said he discovered her body and he fled the hotel more-or-less immediately. And if, either once her body had been discovered or there was a missing-person inquiry underway, he'd been open with the police from the start. But that's not what happened of course. What happened is what I wrote in the previous paragraph - and what happened took place over a period of well over a day.
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Old 20th November 2019, 06:22 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by Fixit View Post
https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/natio...cid=spartandhp

1st details of Crown closing, concentrating on photos, duration of pressure on the neck and introducing 'reckless intent.' Defence this afternoon Judge tomorrow.


WOAH! I hadn't realised he took several photos of Millane's dead body! For me, that's additional formidable evidence pointing to his guilt. How on Earth can his claim to have panicked be compatible with taking photos of Millane's dead body?

Oh and I also note with great interest that the Crown prosecutor referred to the defence's own expert having opined that it takes a period of "five to ten minutes" to cause brain death from strangulation! And of course almost all of that time would be post Millane becoming unconscious, limp and unresponsive. I happen to understand that this is an upper estimate on timings; but I think it's a given that something over a minute's time must have been spent with continued strangulation beyond the point where Millane fell unconscious for her death to have ensued.


I simply cannot see how a jury can find for anything but murder, once it assesses all of the evidence in this case. But I'd be absolutely open to hear a narrative which accounts for all of the evidence and which is compatible with acquittal (or which is compatible with guilt of manslaughter or even assault/ABH/GBH).
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Old 20th November 2019, 06:25 PM   #154
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Oh and also, from that news article:

CCTV cameras filmed the defendant dumping items in a bin in Albert Park shortly after Ms Millane died.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said three days had passed before police traced the bin contents to a tip in East Tamaki.

By then, the items were buried under almost 10 metres of soil and searching the 70m by 100m area, would have been too resource-intensive, Mr Beard said.

Mr Dickey walked the jury through a number of internet searches on the man's phone starting with 'Waitākere Ranges' and 'hottest fire' around 1.30am on 1 December.

He reminded the jury the man also watched pornography before a break in activity which resumed in the early morning with more searches, including "time in London" and "are there flesh eating birds in New Zealand".



The actions of a panicking man who'd done nothing more than happen across the dead body of the Millane?
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Old 20th November 2019, 06:28 PM   #155
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PS: I think that everyone interested in this case should read that news article on the Crown's closing address to the jury. Yes, of course I understand that the defence will present a different explanation in its own closing address; but even stripping out the Crown's actual argument, the evidence to which it has referred appears to me to paint its own picture, regardless of any partisan argument being applied to it.
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Old 20th November 2019, 10:19 PM   #156
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https://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/natio...cid=spartandhp

Defence closing. 2 main points - pathologists opinions re the amount of bruising to the neck, or lack of bruising. Secondly, no resistance - the importance I suppose of lack of fingernail DNA belonging to the accused under Millane's nails, crucial evidence that in the normal reaction at hands on the neck is to go for the arms of the attacker.
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Old 20th November 2019, 10:32 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
Firstly, for my part, there's no outrage involved. It's simply my view of the case. As I think I wrote before, I don't "want" or "need" this man to be convicted. But IMO he should be convicted, based on my understanding of the most important evidence.

Secondly, I believe that all relevant evidence around choking and suffocation is consistent in the relevant timings: that a person can be choked/suffocated into unconsciousness within a time period going from as little as several seconds up to around 2o seconds (and that also depends on the severity of the choking etc). But once the person being choked/suffocated has become unconscious and gone limp and unresponsive with eyes closed, it then takes a significant additional period of time of continued choking/suffocation to actually lead to death. Again this is somewhat variable depending on the "victim" and the method/strength of the "perpetrator", but the minimum is something like 40 seconds longer (I'll search for a relevant cite tomorrow - it's 1.15am here now).

So whatever the defendant did to Millane to choke/suffocate her, he must have continued with it long after Millane closed her eyes and fell unconscious, limp and unresponsive. I simply cannot see any other explanation for that other than that the defendant intended to cause Millane serious injury or death (the test for murder).

And in addition, as I wrote in an earlier post yesterday, the defendant by definition must have seen that Millane was entirely lifeless at the moment he released his hands from her neck or face - because it was the very prolonged application of his hands which caused her death. But if we're to accept his version of events, we are to believe that he felt zero concern for Millane's welfare at that point, and only "discovered" that she was dead when he "came across" her body at a much later time. For me, that quite simply does not, and cannot, ring true. If he'd claimed that he choked her for that time period, then released his grip and waited for her to regain consciousness, and then panicked when he realised she was not in fact simply unconscious but in fact dead, I'd be much more ready to believe that. But that's not what he claimed.

And lastly, you write of a panic attack, and of course I understand that people can do irrational and contradictory things when they're in the middle of such an attack. But I'd venture to say that panic attacks cannot last for 36 hours or longer. And the defendant in this case, having (by his account) come across the accidentally-dead body of Millane in his hotel room, took at least 36 hours - and a good deal of methodical planning and purchasing/hiring - to conceal the body in a suitcase he bought for that purpose, transport it out of his hotel and into a car he hired for that purpose, and bury it using a shovel he bought for that purpose. And furthermore, he went on another Tinder date the very next evening, while (I believe) Millane's body was inside the suitcase inside the boot (trunk) of his hire car...... Oh and then he repeatedly lied to police, only changing to a different version when confronted with evidence which proved his lies.

Those actions, to me, do no seem like the product of a "panic attack". As I wrote previously, I could accept the "panic attack" version if, for example, he'd said he discovered her body and he fled the hotel more-or-less immediately. And if, either once her body had been discovered or there was a missing-person inquiry underway, he'd been open with the police from the start. But that's not what happened of course. What happened is what I wrote in the previous paragraph - and what happened took place over a period of well over a day.
I think it's clear from the point he didn't ring emergency services, that he wasn't going to stop from his intention to hide the body. I think the idea that the time of an intention put in place out of fear or panic somehow expires is naive. it took a day. One case here previously (30 years ago) a couple drove 5 hours or so with a body to dump in water where from memory it still surfaced at some point.

Your earlier paragraph about the length of time of the pressure to the neck was raised in the defence closing in a para above. I ask you when was Grace going to fight back if not consenting?
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Old 20th November 2019, 10:40 PM   #158
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I think there is no way the bloke is going to get murder.

Maybe manslaughter, but it will be appealed to death and he will end up off.
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Old 20th November 2019, 10:47 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by LondonJohn View Post
WOAH! I hadn't realised he took several photos of Millane's dead body! For me, that's additional formidable evidence pointing to his guilt. How on Earth can his claim to have panicked be compatible with taking photos of Millane's dead body?

Oh and I also note with great interest that the Crown prosecutor referred to the defence's own expert having opined that it takes a period of "five to ten minutes" to cause brain death from strangulation! And of course almost all of that time would be post Millane becoming unconscious, limp and unresponsive. I happen to understand that this is an upper estimate on timings; but I think it's a given that something over a minute's time must have been spent with continued strangulation beyond the point where Millane fell unconscious for her death to have ensued.


I simply cannot see how a jury can find for anything but murder, once it assesses all of the evidence in this case. But I'd be absolutely open to hear a narrative which accounts for all of the evidence and which is compatible with acquittal (or which is compatible with guilt of manslaughter or even assault/ABH/GBH).
Have not heard or read yet that there was evidence of when the photos were taken - while Grace was alive or dead - clearly pivotal.

Repeating a narrative is probably pointless if you have been unable to connect the defence to this point, but the Defence closing may help. Apparently 6 hours of closing from the Crown and Defence combined so a lot we may never hear. As I've written above important that there was agreement between the pathologists regarding the lack of bruising to the neck, not that there was none but that there was not more. It's in 1 of the 2 links posted today.

Some New Zealanders are surprised by this 'neck pressure' activity generally, and no doubt to the extent to which Grace sought it out. The Defence counsel was at pains to point out that there should be no judgement on that by the Jury, as no doubt the Judge will.
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Old 20th November 2019, 10:51 PM   #160
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From the 2nd link both the Defence and Crown on the act of strangulation. Note the point I made earlier about the pressure to the arteries rendering a person unconscious instantly.

"Mr Brookie also said the absence of damage to Ms Millane's deep neck tissue supported a consensual encounter not an aggressive attack.
"A person who is being strangled against their will will fight, of course they will. If they can't use their hands they will fight in any way they can."
This morning Crown Solicitor for Auckland Brian Dickey told the jury someone couldn't possibly have defensive injuries if they'd quickly passed out; the court having heard this could take seconds if pressure was applied directly to the neck's arteries."
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