Hamilton teen meddles in Guy murder case

"A Hamilton teenager who fed police false information about a high-profile killing claims he was "just trying to help", after watching a television show. Police say Andrew Colin George Jacobs, 18, formerly of Feilding, called an inquiry hotline after an episode of Police Ten 7 appealed for information about the killing of Feilding farmer Scott Guy...Jacobs, who now lives in Waikato, appeared in Hamilton District Court yesterday to enter a guilty plea to a charge of obstruction. In court, police prosecutor Sergeant Jock Simpson said Jacobs' false tip triggered an extensive follow-up enquiry and a lot of work was done...

Needless to say, this was traumatic for the family and not only wastes police time but can affect the operation of the investigation. This isn't the only apparent instance of false information being given:

...Guy's sister Nikki Guy yesterday said she was disappointed Jacobs had misled the police. "It's just frustrating because we just want the truth - that's the most important thing. "That's what we all want," she said. Officer in charge of the case, Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger, said she could not comment on the case until after Jacobs was sentenced. It's not the first time police have had to deal with false leads in the Guy case. In November Manawatu prisoner Shaun Francis Whittaker, 34, was further jailed for three months after telling police he could name a friend who confessed to shooting Guy. He was also ordered to pay $8545.10 to police for wasting their time. In December a 16-year-old boy was referred to police youth aid after providing false information.

Schwalger previously told media that the false leads were "disheartening" for those working on the case."

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it appears to be a very different story when psychics make baseless claims about unsolved cases.

In this case, psychic Lisa Williams "channelled" Guy.

The media articles say "she was told his killers' first names were Mark and Joey. A cousin of Guy's who was in the audience became upset and started crying during the show, said one audience member." and "Williams described some circumstances of the killing last July 8 that had been widely reported. She also claimed a white or grey sedan was used by the killers to flee the scene." (It is worth noting that person charged with the murder first name is "Kerry")

The police reaction there?

"Police said they were aware of the names and were checking them against their suspect list..."

Detective Inspector Sue Schwalger said the investigation team was aware of Williams' claims. She said: "Any information the team receives in respect of Scott Guy's murder, irrespective of where it comes from, will be looked at, evaluated and assessed against the information we currently have."

One senior private investigator said police could not afford to dismiss information from psychics - especially in complex "whodunnit" investigations. Ron McQuilter, managing director of Paragon Investigations, said: "With psychics, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. You can't ignore it in case it turns out to be significant. If that means a psychic, then that means a psychic."

Certainly no charges for wasting police time or obstructing justice that I can tell even after they are proved to be baseless claims and useless in bringing anything new to the investigation. Rather there is acceptance of the claims as ones that need to be taken seriously despite the fact that are clearly aware they are not anything remotely like witness reports but revelations claimed to come from the dead and from the outset they have no basis in any real life facts the police are investigating outside of possible coincidental correlations. That's not to mention the obvious that in making these claims, usually in a dramatic and very public fashion, garners publicity and can lend them the air of credibility as it appears they are being taken seriously. The possible exploitation of a tragic situation aspect is ignored by police who appear to treat psychic claims as being as neutral and as credible as any other report.

Needless to say, it's understandable that police would place credit in an report that apparently is giving some real information pertinent to the case even if it turns out later the person was misleading the police. The diffence in how it's treated is they do assess the information just the same, but if it turns out to be a deliberate false lead actually confront the issue and deal appropriately with the people concerned. These psychic reports would be as disruptive to the case and as misleading as those who fed the police with false information but without using the guise of psychic ability and could mean that followup of credible information that could help the investigation is delayed or not done at all. Possibly this is even worse than those that ring in, because with the widespread dissemination of false information as psychic predictions are reported in the media that could affect memory, distorting what people recall about the case.

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How to differentiate between

How to differentiate between the deluded or deceptive "psychic" though?

I could imagine it could be near impossible to say with enough certainty for a court which of those "psychic X" is.

I live in hope the Police will one day afford the "psychics" claims no more consideration than I do my morning motion.

"Oooh you're a psychic and you want to help with our investigation? Certainly! Get on the end of this broom the forensics lab needs a sweep out and when you've done we'll need coffee.... I take it you won't need to ask us how we like it?"

My take on it is if they are

My take on it is if they are deluded, that they claim a belief or good intentions is not enough to counter the charge that they wasted police time and obstructed justice by giving misleading information. The young man in the article also said he wanted to help and it didn't get them off the charge. If they are deliberately being deceptive, then it's identical to those that gave false information deliberately, if not worse because they've exploited the situation. It also doesn't matter that the psychic didn't ring up a information line either, their claims are widely broadcast with the psychic readily identifiable from those sources and they claimed to have direct contact with the ghostly presence of the deceased and they had specific information that would solve the case.

Ideally (for me) the police would say "sod off, unless you've got some reason there (i.e. actually saw something) that means we should pay attention to it. Oh, and BTW if what you've said turns out to be false and misleading to the investigate we'll be charging you with the offences of obstruction of justice and wasting police time." The police are being inconsistent as when someone else gives misleading information, they deal with them. Not so for psychics and their "revelations". They need to move away from tacitly accepting the claims of charlatans and allowing them to broadcast this, and instead ask for proof they have credible information.

I think the difference in the

I think the difference in the two scenarios is that one has deliberately gone to the Police with false information intending them to act upon it, and the other has made public comment for the purpose of sick entertainment(right to free speech) believing that the Police would not be gullible enough to follow up on it.

What is a worrying trend these days is the Police prosecution of historic sexual complaints reliant on 'recovered/suppressed memory', without corroboration and with the attitude, "let the jury sort it out". These cases get committed to trial purely on written testimony at the depositions stage.

That's a good point, but what

That's a good point, but what muddies the water (with me at least) is that despite the claims not being communicated directly, the media and/or others do communicate these claims to the police and they act on them i.e. in the article "Police said they were aware of the names and were checking them against their suspect list...". Also, in other cases such as the Madeleine McCann it seems that many thousand 'psychic' reports were directly communicated to the police using the helpline and it's possible that this could have happened in this case as well but that's just speculation on my part. Hard to tell what beliefs are in the psychics mind when they do this. This may be more than just a free speech issue, they are not just broadcasting an opinion but claiming to have specific information.

For false claims based on 'recovered/suppressed memory', that is IMO exceedingly rare now (although there have been well publicised cases in the past). What we've seen though, is many of these cases tossed out as a miscarriage of justice over the years. This was always contentious and was never generally accepted by the scientific community at the time, and these days is pretty much debunked. Memory is a complicated thing, and I don't think the claim of 'unconscious suppression' holds much water and we know that memories can be altered or even planted. I think that it's important though to be careful not to conflate this issue with all historic claims of abuse, as there doesn't seem to be any suggestion of 'recovered memories' being part of these cases that I'm aware of. It can actually be that as patient in a institution many years back or as a child the person or people making the claim were either too powerless or their claims weren't believed at the time and they could only try and press a claim once an adult or otherwise independent of the situation they were in. There are checks and balances in the legal system although no one can say that the system is perfect and there are some cases that turn out to have a weak basis for proceeding. The police have to determine whether there is enough evidence to charge someone with an offence first and then further, at the depositions hearing they are supposed to determine whether there is a case to answer based on the evidence (plus all the rest, such as the right to legal representation for the defendant etc) so I'm doubtful there is a trend there for particular types of cases. In most cases, there would be something there to mean there is a reasonable case for prosecution.

Not guilty verdicts in

Not guilty verdicts in parent-rape trial
Thursday, June 10, 2010 • NZPAhttp://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?id=17668
Auckland — The case against a husband and wife from a small township near Gisborne, who were yesterday acquitted on all historic charges of rape and inducing their daughter to do indecent acts, was poorly investigated, their lawyers say.

The man’s lawyer, Chris Wilkinson-Smith, told NZPA outside the High Court in Auckland that the case had been pursued by west Auckland police, despite Gisborne police recommending the prosecution should not proceed.

“It was only the efforts of private investigator Michael Rhodes, who was able to locate many witnesses, who completely contradicted the complainant’s evidence.

“A more thorough police investigation could have avoided three years of misery,” Mr Wilkinson-Smith said.

The jury of eight women and four men returned their verdicts after deliberating for four hours. They retired after Justice Douglas White summed up the trial in the morning.

The man was acquitted of two charges of rape, and a charge of inducing his daughter, aged 12 at the time, to do an indecent act.

The woman was acquitted of inducing the daughter, who was then under 16, to do an indecent act.

They were jointly acquitted on two counts of inducing their daughter to do an indecent act.

Both have name suppression.

The mother’s lawyer, Adam Simperingham, told NZPA outside the court the charges should never have been laid.

“The two accused have been through a very traumatic experience and are both grateful to all their supporters who have flown from Gisborne and Perth and have stood by them from the outset,” he said.

“The allegations are the product of a methamphetamine-addicted mind.”

Police in charge of the case were not immediately able to respond to the lawyers’ claims.

The charges related to alleged incidents between January 23, 1978, and January 23, 1981, at a township near Gisborne.

Their daughter, now 39, gave evidence during the trial, as did her mother and father.

Crown prosecutor Soana Moala alleged a series of sexual assaults occurred at the family home when the girl was aged between seven and 10.

She alleged that in one of the incidents the father ordered her to take her clothes off and perform an indecent act while he and a friend watched.

The Crown says he also raped his daughter in a caravan on the property and in her parents’ bedroom.

Ms Moala told the jury the complainant did not tell anyone at the time. She did not remember the incidents until 2006.

There were triggers to how she remembered what happened, Ms Moala said.

In 2007, the jury was told the complainant went with her sister-in-law to see her parents and confront them about what happened.

A police investigation began and her parents gave video interviews.

But the father said “no sex assaults were committed against his daughter whatsoever”, when questioned by Ms Moala in court yesterday.

Ms Moala asked the father whether he found out his daughter had made the allegations of sexual abuse on Boxing Day 2007.

“Police told us she was making historic sex charges. We wanted to know why she was doing it. It’s absolute rubbish and it never happened,” he said.

“She has a sick, sick mind. It’s a very sad state of affairs. She is mentally unstable and needs serious medical help,” the father said.

The above is a recent example of a prosecution based solely on 'recovered memory'. It was investigated by the Gisborne Police who decided there was no credible evidence to proceede.
It did because the disjointed and very hazy allegations (of which the Complainant had no continuous memories of until they came to her in a dream) were composed into a depositions statement by an Auckland Detective.
The Complainant did not give evidence (not cross examined) at depositions as is the case in all prosecutions of a sexual nature and her parents were commited to trial on her prepared brief.
The Crown do not usually become involved until after commital. A crown prosecutor is a solicitor working for
a legal firm that holds a crown warrant. The Private Investigator in this matter clearly had the view that the Crown interest in this instance lay with the firm/shareholders than in justice. It would not have gone the distance in the British prosecutions system.
Doctor Donald Stevens' paper to the NZ Law Society is well worth a read.
There is little doubt that since the Bazley Report, there is a new Police culture of blind acceptance of sexual allegations.
Send in your comments

...and? What you said was

...and? What you said was "What is a worrying trend these days is the Police prosecution of historic sexual complaints reliant on 'recovered/suppressed memory', without corroboration and with the attitude, "let the jury sort it out". These cases get committed to trial purely on written testimony at the depositions stage."

What I said is that in IMO these are exceedingly rare these days and what I noted was that many of them have been tossed out as a miscarriage of justice, so finding one case where it's dubious and involves someone with mental health and drug abuse issues that got dumped doesn't change that point. In fact it more proves the point that if it's something like that, it's unlikely to hold water and be accepted as a valid claim once it goes further and we know from this article that it wasn't just the police letting it go through without corroboration because as you pointed out, the Gisborne police didn't recommend it proceed but another one made the call to do so. I don't think that you can assert a culture "blind acceptance" from the police there because it's clear that it wasn't the case, it's more a flaw in the process if what you say is correct. The main issue with the cases in the past was not situations like this, but with recovered memories under therapy.

Anyway, my point was that you have to very careful when asserting a trend. That might be your perception, but it takes more than one case, or even that some cases might have happened in the past to support that assertion. What I see though, is perhaps something that may be more worrying - an attitude that suggests that because some cases prove to be false, that this applies to most or all cases. Simply can't do that, controversies regarding memory should not be allowed to obscure the fact that child abuse and rape exist and actually in many cases, the victims remember what happened to them, and they are not asserting that it came to them in a dream or whatever. Otherwise, we've then got big issues...like do we toss out the claims of sexual abuse of children and adults made against the Catholic church just because they are historic? We know what they did was move the priest and cover up allegations when/if they were made and I'd say it would be the greater miscarriage of justice to marginalise or ignore those claims based on that some other case was invalid because of another reason. I think instead, it should be each case on it's merits and if the law is flawed in some respect, act to change the law.



It would perhaps be a little hopeful to think that this may be a deterrent to other "psychics"..