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

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Old 4th June 2019, 03:56 AM   #1
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Luke Mitchell and the murder of Jodi Jones

"Forensic psychologist Ian Stephen, who advised on the television crime dramas Cracker and Prime Suspect, said that was in itself a clue.

He said: 'The fact he [Mitchell] kept attending school and insisted on trying to maintain as much normality as possible - and his mother insisted on this as well and made a big issue of it - seemed to me almost like a confession of guilt in some way.'" Link.

If you are calm, you are guilty. If you collapse at the funeral, you are guilty....
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Old 4th June 2019, 04:38 AM   #2
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Is there any particular reason you have highlighted such an old case? Yes some of the stuff, like liking Marilyn Manson, satanic rituals and the testimony of somebody involved with Cracker gives one pause, but there is nothing in the link which points to a miscarriage of justice.

Can you add anything further, because I know you would not start a thread like this without decent proof.
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Old 4th June 2019, 06:07 AM   #3
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I have just (like 30 seconds ago) ordered Sandra Lean's two books about this case. I expect it will take a week or so for them to arrive (they weren't available as eBooks), and then I have to read them, so I'll let you know.

Lionking, we were discussing the case in another thread, and rather than derail that it certainly seemed like a better idea to start a new thread. I've been aware of this case on the radar since the time it happened and there has been a strong thread of "looks like a miscarriage of justice" running through all the press coverage I've read.

This interview with Luke Mitchell's mother was published on YouTube only four days ago so someone is still interested. Of course it only gives one side of the story but it's still worth a listen.

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I AGREE

It'seems the SCCRC rejected Mitchell's application for a fresh appeal five years ago but I don't know on what grounds. Sometimes the law is obstructive - if a manifestly wrong interpretation was put on evidence that was available at the original trial it can be fiendishly difficult to get that looked at again.
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Old 4th June 2019, 06:24 AM   #4
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DNA from blood and possibly semen

"The new defence team say the original police forensic service laboratory report and biology report contradict the prosecution case that the murder did not have a sexual motive, as semen was found on Jodi's body.

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.

IIUC the semen was found on her bra, and the DNA was not from Luke Mitchell. However, I have not yet found a good summary of the DNA evidence from this case, and some of the facts a little unclear. For example, there is supposedly a DNA profile from her bra, but at least one discussion board refers to a t-shirt that might have transferred DNA and possibly semen onto the bra. We need accurate, reliable information to have a useful conversation.

EDT
"The day after the murder, Kane couldn't explain recent injuries to his face and he had changed his story several times as to how he got them.

As for Falconer, the defence say a recently used condom was found 50 metres from the murder scene.

DNA swabs matched a sample taken from Falconer two months ago." Daily Record.

I recall that the condom was found about 50 yards from the body. My understanding is that the bra yielded DNA from a different individual. No true Scotsman would fail to have some doubts about this case.
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Old 4th June 2019, 09:42 AM   #5
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Were her fingernails tested for DNA or blood?

One or more article I have read discuss the (complete?) absence of forensic evidence against Luke Mitchell. However, I have to ask whether or not the area beneath Jodi Jones' fingernails was tested for blood or DNA. DNA beneath fingernails carries substantial weight as evidence, a point I have made at length in other threads. "She added that she had taken fingernail scrapings from Mitchell [the day after], which would be submitted for analysis to test for blood or other material." link

I have not looked into the testimony from the eyewitnesses, but I found this passage from the same link to be intriguing:
"Mr Findlay asked the witness to look at the youth (Mitchell) sitting between security guards in court, and said: "Is that the young man you saw?"

Ms O’Sullivan stated: "No it is not. I am positive.""
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Old 5th June 2019, 05:31 AM   #6
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Mitchell's interrogation

From a 2009 article at The Guardian:
"As well as pursuing a new appeal in Scotland, Mitchell's defence team has lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) about his pre-arrest interview, which, in accordance with Scottish law, was conducted without a solicitor present. Despite denying last year's appeal, the three judges said some of the police questioning of Mitchell was 'outrageous'."

"He [Lord Hamilton] added: At times the nature of the questioning was such that the questioner did not seem to be seriously interested in a response but rather endeavoring to break him down into giving some hoped-for confession by hostile interrogation." Daily Record.

"He [Lord Hamilton] added: At times the nature of the questioning was such that the questioner did not seem to be seriously interested in a response but rather endeavoring to break him down into giving some hoped-for confession by hostile interrogation."
https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scot ... er-1095460
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Old 5th June 2019, 06:49 AM   #7
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This is all a long way back though. There was a 2012 application to the SCCRC which was thrown out in 2014 on the grounds that the SCCRC didn't see anything to suggest there had been a miscarriage of justice. I'd like to know more about that.

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.c...hell-1-3478153

Quote:
The SCCRC recently ruled that although Mitchell’s rights were infringed when he was questioned by police, he was not the victim of a miscarriage of justice as the evidence from the interrogations was not needed to prove the case against him.

Samson posted that link in the other thread. Something weird going on between the family and Sandra Lean. Also reading somewhere that Luke had tried to create an alibi by manipulating his mobile phone. I'd like to know more about that too.
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Old 5th June 2019, 08:51 AM   #8
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off the top of my head with respect to the alibi

IIUC his alibi was that he was cooking dinner. His brother did not support this, saying that he was surfing porn and would not have done so had he known that others were in the house. Lack of an alibi is not proof of guilt, and it is possible that his brother was mistaken.
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Old 5th June 2019, 09:32 AM   #9
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Yes, I'd picked up on that part. I agree it's perfectly possible he was in the house and his brother didn't realise. I also think that it might be natural for a boy of his age, if he realised he was being investigated for a crime for which he had no alibi, to try to concoct one. I'd just like to know more of the facts.
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Old 5th June 2019, 01:59 PM   #10
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DNA, semen, or both might have been found

"She [Corinne Mitchell] wrote: “X’s semen and blood were on Jodi’s T-shirt…his description and clothing matched a witness statement of a male ‘following Jodi’…he was known to the police.

“Is it me or is anyone else adding things up here?

“Description of man seen behind Jodi – grey hooded top.

“Several days after the murder X hands his grey hooded top to the police saying it has been washed.

“At 5pm X’s alibi is Janine (Jodi’s sister).

“The police accepted that Janine said, ‘he was with me’ and from him ‘ I was with her’.”

And Sandra Lean, author and researcher on miscarriages of justice, added: “Our Mr X is emerging as more and more suspicious."" Link.

I am not sure that Luke Mitchell's mother's claim about DNA from semen is true, but I have heard it mentioned at other sites. The DNA is said to be either on a t-shirt or a bra. Mr. X may or may not be Janine's boyfriend/fiance. Elsewhere in this article one can see some difference in approach between Mr. Mitchell's mother and Sandra Lean.

With respect to the interrogation mentioned above, it is suggestive of police tunnel vision.
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Old 5th June 2019, 02:03 PM   #11
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How strongly inculpatory is the evidence?

Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Is there any particular reason you have highlighted such an old case? Yes some of the stuff, like liking Marilyn Manson, satanic rituals and the testimony of somebody involved with Cracker gives one pause, but there is nothing in the link which points to a miscarriage of justice.

Can you add anything further, because I know you would not start a thread like this without decent proof.
Hello Lionking,

Several of us have responded, and I may add one or two more comments in the next few days. However, another way to approach this case is to ask what evidence got the jury to guilty BARD? It might make a good exercise.
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Old 5th June 2019, 03:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Is there any particular reason you have highlighted such an old case? Yes some of the stuff, like liking Marilyn Manson, satanic rituals and the testimony of somebody involved with Cracker gives one pause, but there is nothing in the link which points to a miscarriage of justice.

Can you add anything further, because I know you would not start a thread like this without decent proof.
From a New Zealand perspective we are using the SCCRC as a guide to establishing one here, similar population and other convenient reasons.
If indeed Luke Mitchell is innocent, and it seems clear to me he is, there is a catastrophic design fault that it is not too late to highlight. That is one reason I find the case interesting besides the injustice that needs correcting.
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Old 5th June 2019, 03:44 PM   #13
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Yes, that's what I'm asking myself at the moment. Also why the SCCRC thought there were no grounds for believing it might have been a miscarriage of justice. I'm not banging the "Luke Mitchell is innocent" drum as yet, but I'd seriously like to know what the evidence against him actually consisted of.

They keep going on about the longest trial "of a single accused", ooh, I wonder what trial of more than one accused (under Scots law) might have been longer? Guess. Turnbull prosecuting, too. You know, these people don't have a stellar track record here.

And they were stuck with that notorious poseur Donald Findlay QC as well.
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Old 6th June 2019, 07:17 AM   #14
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When is the absence of evidence evidence of absence?

From www.heraldscotland.com
"'I [Allan Jamieson] understand that there was no physical evidence linking Mitchell to the scene and given the nature of the event and relationship with Jodi, I think that that requires an explanation as well. So, I mean, what can I say about evidence that’s not there?' the professor explains."

From www.scotsman.com
[quote]Prof Jamieson was not involved in the forensic work in the case, but was asked to look over the scientific findings by Mitchell’s defence counsel, Donald Findlay QC. While not saying the verdict against Mitchell was wrong, Prof Jamieson believes a lack of forensic evidence is something that will be used in future trials as proof that the accused is innocent.
He says: "There was a prolific amount of scientific work in the Jodi Jones case with zero result.
"One of the things you don’t see happening much is much being made of the absence of evidence where one might expect to find it.
"If someone is supposed to have been involved in a violent assault involving transfer of fibres and body fluids and these are not found on the suspect, that is rarely used as evidence [that the suspect was not guilty]. But forensic science is still a relatively new science - that may well change." [Endquote]

I infer that Professor Jamieson is pondering the question of when the absence of evidence might become evidence of absence. He is the coauthor (with G Meakin) of a helpful review article on DNA transfer (circa 2013). No forensic evidence of which I am aware puts Mr. Mitchell at the scene. However, if various reports are to be trusted, there is some evidence, as mentioned upthread.
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Old 6th June 2019, 09:28 AM   #15
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I think some consideration has to be given to the diligance of the search for the evidence, and the inherent likelihood or otherwise of the crime having been committed by the suspect but still no forensic evidence has been left. This is always going to be a dispute between two opinions.

A similar point has been made in the Gilroy case. There was no forensic evidence in that one either, and at first I wondered how the conviction could be BRD without that. However if you know you're going to put a corpse into your car boot there are precautions you can take to avoid transferring DNA. The lack of DNA in the recess in the basement, where he was supposed to have left the body while he went to get his car, is more surprising. However I do think it's possible that a fully-clothed body lying on a concrete floor for only three hours might not have left any trace identifiable by 2010 technology - especially if you put something under her head. But then other people might disagree. That's where expert opinion will become important.
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Old 6th June 2019, 02:08 PM   #16
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facial injuries

If Luke had been examined and his fingernails swabbed on the same day as the body was found, that would have been marginally better than this having been done on the following day. If Jodi's fingernails have not yet been tested, they certainly should be (the putative facial injuries to one individual are worth exploring). IIUC the prosecution has implied that Luke or his mother disposed of one or more items of his clothing, but there is scant evidence to that effect (only an odd smell that may have just been wood burning). If there were an objective crime-reconstruction expert who could indicate whether or not Jodi's injuries would have led to transfer to the killer, that would be helpful. This link is a discussion board which quotes some news reports.

More generally the proposition that young, inexperienced criminals are able to execute near-perfect or perfect cleanups is open to question.
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Old 6th June 2019, 03:39 PM   #17
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The proposition that he immediately led the search party to where Jodie's body was, because he knew it was there, is very questionable. At his age, if I'd been in that position (murderous little me) I think my instinct would have been to have gone in the other direction as if I didn't have a clue.
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Old 6th June 2019, 03:52 PM   #18
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"don’t let the bastards grind you down"

I have read that the "dog [was] partially taught to track by a professional trainer." I have also read in the same article, which is primarily an interview with him: "Documents from the investigation, reveal that all three statements of the family search party, corroborated with Mitchell’s claim that the dog had led him to Jodi. All three statements changed to deny this one month later." HeraldScotland
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Old 6th June 2019, 05:30 PM   #19
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That interview is characteristic of many that precede exoneration. Complete openness, consistency, logic, and a clear determination to stay the course.
Were Jodie's family financial beneficiaries in any way? This becomes another anchor for the police. In Bain and Lundy the victims' relatives were huge beneficiaries and campaign against the accused.
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Old 6th June 2019, 05:45 PM   #20
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I've got the Sandra Lean books on order and these will presumably provide the facts even if the interpretation may be partisan.
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Old 8th June 2019, 09:03 AM   #21
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I have now received my copy of "No Smoke", which is the book covering a series of questionable convictions with the Mitchell case occupying only about 25 pages. I'll let you know what it says when I've read it.
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Old 8th June 2019, 03:41 PM   #22
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jonmarbles is posting on the case on IA, in fact where I learned of it.
Just acknowledging his work,
He posted this youtube link with the polygrapher Terry Mullins being interviewed after the interview with Corinne.

I watched it right through and on reading the comments Dr Sandra Lean also contributes,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ItQv...ature=youtu.be
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Old 8th June 2019, 04:14 PM   #23
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I don't reckon on polygraphs at all, the whole thing is junk science. So honestly I discount that on principle. I've read the relevant chapter in Sandra Lean's book and I can't see why Luke was convicted in the first place. There's nothing there about him trying to fake an alibi using his mobile phone, which one of the articles said.

Sandra Lean's book in general is very interesting. She takes seven cases and examines them on the basis of the principles of legal proof to show that they're unsafe - or I assume she does in all of them, I've only read the Mitchell one, Sion Jenkins (which I knew all about already, some of that chapter is verbatim from the "Justice for Sion Jenkins" web site) and someone called Derek Christian which I didn't know about before.

There is a pattern emerging and it's one of tunnel vision. The cops choose what to concentrate on at the start, and if these choices cause them to miss the real culprit, or indeed if the real culprit has genuinely left no evidence, they're restricted to the evidence they have and the selection of suspects that has turned up. They need to find a culprit, so they select one of these people and then basically fit them up.

The real shocker is the absolute vehemence which which the prosecution pursue cases which are incredibly flimsy, determined to get a conviction whatever it takes.
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Old 8th June 2019, 04:56 PM   #24
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I followed this link from the IA thread, and it turns out to be a transcript of the chapter of Sandra Lean's book about the Mitchell case. So if you don't want to shell out for the book, here you are.

https://paulviking.websitetoolbox.co...89531?trail=15

Some of the rest of the stuff in that thread, which mostly seems to be transcripts of press articles, suggests Luke Mitchell (if innocent) has become a seriously damaged person while in jail. Which wouldn't be all that surprising actually. But of course when I look at the red-top tabloid sources I factor in that it's quite likely none of it is true anyway.
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Old 9th June 2019, 03:32 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I followed this link from the IA thread, and it turns out to be a transcript of the chapter of Sandra Lean's book about the Mitchell case. So if you don't want to shell out for the book, here you are.

https://paulviking.websitetoolbox.co...89531?trail=15

Some of the rest of the stuff in that thread, which mostly seems to be transcripts of press articles, suggests Luke Mitchell (if innocent) has become a seriously damaged person while in jail. Which wouldn't be all that surprising actually. But of course when I look at the red-top tabloid sources I factor in that it's quite likely none of it is true anyway.
I guess I am interested in your assessment of the SCCRC work on the case Rolfe.
The Mark Lundy case goes to the supreme court in July, it must be the whole panel, 3 women, one maori male, and one white man, Mark O'Reagan.
Two of these women have employed false statements to keep him in jail, so they can be expected to defend their positions.
Will our CCRC be any damn good?
The SCCRC appears to have operated like any run of the mill appeal panel in Luke's case.
It seems impossible he did the crime, how do you reconcile the body of work of the SCCRC if this is truly so?

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Old 9th June 2019, 04:36 AM   #26
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I don't know the details or the reasoning. It can be legal issues. If evidence has been presented (or was even available) at the time of the original trial, but was misinterpreted (or its significance not understood), it can be very difficult to get past this. You get "the court was aware of this at the time and took a different view, it's not new evidence" problem.

There seems to be some sort of issue between Mrs Mitchell and Sandra Lean. I think Mrs Mitchell, who was originally grateful for the interest Dr Lean took in the case and the help she offered, came to blame her for the failure of the SCCRC application. I don't know if there is any truth to this or not. Dr Lean has quite properly said she won't get into it out of respect for the Mitchell family but is still thoroughly convinced of Luke's innocence. But clearly there are things going on here we don't know about.
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Old 9th June 2019, 01:23 PM   #27
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Not much time

Even if one accepts the prosecution's possibly revised time at which Jodi left her house, the timeline for Luke to kill her and clean-up/dispose of clothing seems very tight. From what I can gather he called or texted someone during this period as well. The prosecution's case also relies upon either a lack of transfer from Jodi to Luke, or an efficient removal of transferred matter.
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Old 10th June 2019, 02:55 AM   #28
Rolfe
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I'm going to go through the timings given in Sandra Lean's book and see what the discrepancies are. The case makes so little sense it's hard to keep it straight. I think they had to revise the time Jodie left the house in order to fit with a sighting of someone who probably wasn't her in the first place which complicates the issue.

The alleged burning of the parka is bizarre. There's no evidence Luke even had a parka (before the murder), never mind that it was burned. Nothing but some neighbours reporting an unspecified burning smell that evening, and even the times are inconsistent. It's quite surreal.
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Old 10th June 2019, 05:04 AM   #29
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I will post links to videos where NZ justice minister Andrew Little explains in a substantive way that no innocent person can remain jailed after his CCRC takes effect,
So assuming Luke is innocent he would be freed here.

Great.
Seeing is believing.
Fortunately we expect Mark Lundy to win at the supreme court and not need the half decade for these nitwits to pontificate.
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Old 10th June 2019, 02:45 PM   #30
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Here is the first reading of the NZCCRC bill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-QLXSnN6TU&t=128s

It is interesting to listen to this with the Luke Mitchell case in mind.
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Old 10th June 2019, 02:59 PM   #31
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I think it might be a good idea to open a separate thread on the NZ bill which sounds interesting but isn't directly related to the Mitchell case.
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Old 11th June 2019, 03:47 AM   #32
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Yes and this is it.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=324612

However I had no idea of this Luke Mitchell case when I started that thread.
We are dealing with a case where:
The thread concensus says not guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and indeed not guilty after analysing all the evidence.
The SCCRC has said nothing to see here.
That nothing is the concern.
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