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David McLoughlin

I don't trust the Police. This needs a Commission of Inquiry.

Er. We've had one. Justice Taylor. His findings were pretty damning.


But is this really such a bombshell? Like Arthur Allan Thomas, Rochelle Crewe is and interested party. Did we expect her to say she could not care less about some renewed interest in this case?

I too am all for reviewing this if anything new can be turned up but what is there really? Will this just be another exercise in balancing probabilities? What will be the cost?


This matter should be left to rest. Ian may well have fingered the right person at last, but that cannot bring justice. The new allegations cannot be tested in Court and likely parties are dead. Our justice system can never guarantee that some people will not be hurt or fully restored only God can do that.

Any inquiry now as why action was not taken for the findings that evidence was planted is also pointless. The findings of an inquiry have little or no evidential value in another criminal trial; we have passed the days of the Star Chamber. Anyone who has had put together a prosecutable case will know the high standard of proof that must be validated by chains of evidence, not opinion. The consequences of losing may outweigh the risks of losing.

The Police involved are long gone and hopefully their then culture.

Will Rowe

Bruce Hutton is still alive, and it takes only to read Ian's book or the Royal Commission findings (though it is better to read the whole thing) to conclude that Hutton should be prosecuted. There is ample, damning evidence against Hutton and Johnston. Either way, is not about the end result, but about the justice system being seen by Rochelle and the people of NZ to be holding itself accountable, regardless of time elapsed since the events.

In response to David, one thing the original commission lacked was the a term of reference to enable it to recommend charges against the officers involved. Had the Commission had this term, I have no doubt that some lengthy prison sentences would have been handed to Johnston and Hutton, among others.


The search for historical vengeance may not yield justice.

Evidence allowable by law has to be presented in full in a criminal court and the findings of a commission are generally irrelevant outside the commission. Criminal charges may follow elsewhere but such charges have to be freshly proven with a criminal level of proof and only from evidence which is formally acceptable to the criminal court. It is only that evidence against which the charge is tested. Time is the enemy of truth and evidence.


Kevin OB .. that is why any thought of retrial or commission looks like good money after bad to me.

Chuck Bird

I think it is very clear that the shell case was planted. The case did not match the bullet. However, I did not see that strong a case against Hutton for planting the bullet. Mind you the police do not need that strong a case to lay charges against someone. I wasted 3 days on a rape trial. The accused was obviously innocent and the complaint had perjured herself. When I phoned the police prosecutor he told me it was police police when a complaint did not change their story to let a jury decide.

Although Hutton would likely be found not guilty he should be forced to answer questions at an enquiry.

Ian Wishart

Chuck, the test "beyond reasonable doubt" is a subjective one, heavily dependent on circumstance.

Juries draw inferences from collections of evidential snippets.

If the test for conviction was eyewitness testimony for every crime, few people would be convicted.

Having looked at the case, I'm pretty confident a jury, even today, would find Hutton had planted the cartridge case either directly or by ordering others to do so.

Of course, Hutton could argue Johnston went rogue on him, but that doesn't get Hutton off his "suggestion" that troops re-search the flower bed that they hadn't searched earlier, nor does it explain the clear pressure placed on officers like Meurant to lie about their previous search - a jury would be entitled to draw the inference that an honest police chief would have taken an honest approach, not attempted to pervert the course of justice.

And when you consider that perverting the course of justice is the charge underpinning the cartridge debate, it appears Hutton can be pinged any number of ways on the testimony of people still alive.

A court is also entitled to take into account evidence taken on oath at a Commission of Inquiry or previous court hearing, so the fact that some witnesses are dead is not an automatic bar to re-hearing the evidence.


Look what happened to Dewar when he had to front up in a court room. Put Hutton in front of twelve of his peers. Until this is done the matter will fester on like a weeping sore.

Chuck Bird

Thanks Ian. I must have another read of your book when I get it back as I have loaned it out.

I would be happy to see Hutton stay out of jail provided he told the truth.

BTW - have you sorted out the index online?


Chuck, send me an e-mail at and I'll send you an index.

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