We have noted the release of a new book written by Dr Temple-Camp, some of the excerpts from it, and the rather lame and tame interview of the author on TV3. Lundy has an appeal set down to be heard in mid October and we are therefore limited as to what we can say, however some of what Temple-Camp has written and said cannot be left without comment.
T-C entitles his book “Cause of Death”. His job is a medical diagnostic pathologist who assists in determining what sort of disease a person may have, particularly cancer. We are not aware of him being an expert in cause of death in a murder, and even in the Lundy case he was not the pathologist used, rather his underling Dr Pang. There is a vast difference between medicine and forensics (more later), and neither T-C nor Pang has forensics accreditation, as far as we are aware. T-C was not introduced to the court as having expertise in immunohistochemistry (the key science in the case), or forensics.
Astoundingly, T-C has made only little mention of the fact that the time of death was greatly changed between the first trial and the retrial. Christine and Amber had bought a McDonalds’ meal at about a quarter to six in the evening of August 29th 2000 and thus the last meal is accepted as having been eaten around 6pm. The police wanted to pin the murders and Lundy as the culprit on a time of death of 7pm, when he had no alibi. Pang duly obliged with a t.o.d. of an hour to an hour and a quarter of eating, i.e. 7-7:15pm and the first trial went ahead on that basis. The police even found an eye witness who saw “Lundy” running down the road in Palmerston North at just after 7pm. Det. Grantham said this witness was ‘positive”. The arrest interview with Lundy is crystal clear that Lundy was being arrested and charged for killing his wife and daughter at about 7pm. The foundational basis for the case, as it were. This evidence from Pang was strongly contradicted by several experts at the Privy Council and was one of the reasons why the conviction was quashed.
At the retrial, the Crown completely changed the t.o.d. from 7pm on August 29th to about 3am on August 30th. Pang, under oath both times, did not seem to have any problem changing his estimation from (a) with 60-75 minutes of eating, to (b) any time in the 15 hours between 6pm on the 29th and 9am on the 30th (when the bodies were found). The “positive” eye witness disappeared off the witness screen and was not called at the retrial. Neither was T-C.
T-C writes that “James (Pang) concluded that death had occurred about one hour after eating” and largely ignores the new Crown case, and the retrial. He follows the Crown line that Christine had herself a big meal in the early hours of the morning which explains her full stomach. We have heard of and even experienced teenagers doing that, but women in their 40’s? The fact that Amber also had a full stomach – identical to Christine, said Pang – means that she also got up out of bed at about 2am and ate a big meal. We don’t think so. The word ludicrous comes to mind.
One of the errors which we can address. T-C writes that “Lundy maintained that he didn’t own an axe – an assertion contradicted by several of his acquaintances’. Completely wrong, reversed in fact. Lundy never ever told anybody that he didn’t own an axe (tomahawk). He actually volunteered to the police that he owned a tomahawk and if he had previously “maintained” that he didn’t have one, surely the police would have commented on that? They didn’t. Lundy borrowed one from his mate over the road to cut some kindling because his own was part of his very old scouting stuff and was buried in his garage. Mark’s garage was described by witnesses as “totally full and messy” and contained “a conglomeration” of stuff. The police has Lundy’s tomahawk in their possession on December 14th, a couple of months before the arrest. They simply asked him why it was not painted like his carpentry tools, and he replied because it is not a builder’s tool.
We mentioned above that medical diagnosis and forensics are very, very different and would like to point out that not one of the “experts” who claimed Lundy had “brain tissue” on his shirt has any disclosed qualifications, certifications or accreditation to the world’s forensic science programmes, the most respected of which is ISO17025. The Privy Council was bothered by, and drew attention to this, - their full judgment can be accessed at
Note particularly para. 81 “ It is important not to assume that well established techniques which are traditionally deployed for the purpose of diagnosis can be transported, without modification or further verification, to the forensic arena where the use to which scientific evidence is put is quite different from that involved in making a clinical judgment. Put simply, evidence that can properly used to reach a confident medical verdict may not measure up to the more stringent requirements that arise in the setting of a criminal trial”.
A simple example. The science used by the medical pathologists in this case was immunohistochemistry (ihc) as they use it for cancer diagnosis. The cut-off point between negative/positive ihc on most cancer cells is 5%. (Some breast cancers are at 1%). If 5% of cells or more stain positive to a cancer, the answer given is that you are positive for cancer. The 95% do not matter. Now imagine a forensic science, say fingerprints, and there are 100 features which need to be matched in order to nail the suspect. How do you think the expert would get on in court if he said 5 of the features were the same and 95 were not, therefore it is a “match”? Laughed out of court, right? Simply put, that’s the difference.
There are two papers available which set out in detail what has to be done with forensic sciences. The first is the 2016 report to (then) President Obama about ensuring Validity of forensic science methods, and the second is from the UK Forensic Science Regulator also concerning Validation. The links are below –
From these documents you can see the very, very detailed process which has to be gone through to validate every step of the process for a forensic science to be used in court. You will note from the Obama report that immunohistochemistry is not listed as a forensic science. The National Academy of Sciences report from 2009 doesn’t list ihc as one either. We haven’t found anybody who mentions it.
So, what does T-C have to say? He writes in his book that he says to the police he uses the “Aunt Minnie” process of identification of the “brain” on Lundy’s shirt and says “You don’t have to go through the whole scientific rigmarole”. The links above, the plethora of top scientific and legal minds who have put it all together in the interests of ensuring justice and no miscarriages, and we have T-C saying the required specified care and detail is nothing but “scientific rigmarole”.
If that is not enough, he goes on to say that this “Aunt Minnie” process uses “the lizard part of your brain, the ancient dinosaur bit that runs on automatic without any intelligent thought”.
The slide T-C examined (Exh. C3003/2) and told the police it was brain using the “Aunt Minnie” method, was also viewed by 5 neuropathologists, one PhD in physiology and one PhD in neuroanatomy – none could identify any brain cells, presumably using intelligent thought. It seems from T-C’s book that he was very keen to give evidence and is proud of the Privy Council saying he “trenchantly asserted” stuff, as though that was a positive. We therefore do not understand why he gave evidence “under subpoena”. This is a legal/Latin term meaning under penalty, and basically means the witness is forced to turn up, or face punishment. The overall connotation is reluctance to testify, but there may be reasons we are not aware of.
As stated earlier, we are in the process of an appeal and are limited as to what we can say. We can comment on the following –
T-C writes (a) I heard the experts even managed to find evidence of brain tissue on the original dab slide using electron microscopy (b) DuPlessis confirmed that the whole argument about the lack of preservation was rubbish and a red herring.
He writes “So we were right there too. Doubly vindicated!”
This seems to be completely incorrect. DuPlessis (filed doc. 22/8/14) reports on electron microscopy “Material retrieved from the dab preparation (C3003/2 ) could not be recognised as any specific type of tissue. It consisted of non-descript amorphous debris……….” By standard microscopy, he said “ The overall appearances are consistent with degenerate/autolytic tissue……….certainly not confirmatory of cns tissue. I strongly disagree with the notion that some cells recognised within this material can be recognised as glial cells, the latter an opinion originally expressed by some of the pathologists previously examining this specimen” i.e. T-C.
Even the actual shirt stain, not the dab slide, under electron microscope – no glial cells, no axons and, as found by ihc, no neurons either. Funny “brain” this. There should be hundreds of thousands of neurons all with axons attached, and millions of glial cells.
We don’t necessarily see or understand “Aunt Minnie” but we have sure seen Mickey Mouse in more than a few places in this case.
By Nostalgia-NZ (http://nostalgia-nz.blogspot.co.nz/)