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“Confirmation Bias”

Filed under: General — Richard Johanson @ 6:23 pm Thu 22nd May 2008

In recent hours two extremely high profile court cases have ended.

A man charged with the murder and sexual violation of a 10 year old. Not Guilty.

A man charged with murdering two babies. Not Guilty. (In about 10 minutes)

A wise Man once said:

Confirmation Bias

“There is a phenomenon known to psychologists as Confirmation Bias.

Make up your mind on an issue before you have all the facts.

Thereafter look only for the evidence to support your hunch.

Ignore contradictory evidence or dismiss it as irrelevant or untrue.

This is a phenomenon to which some New Zealand Police and Prosecutors seem susceptible”.


  1. Cannot agree more.What a waste of the country’s money that Kahui case was.It was obvious right from the start that there was doubt.
    Makes you wonder how many innocent men are sitting in prisons all around the world.Just good that Chris Kahui was ably represented.
    Who profited from all this?
    Well Police ,Court Staff,Prosecuting lawyers all made work for themselves.
    Be careful out there brothers.They may be coming for you next!

    Comment by whanga — Thu 22nd May 2008 @ 7:54 pm

  2. From what I have read it all came down to the mother’s lying.Why did she tell these lies?No perjury charges!No charges against the mother.
    No follow up interview after Police told by defence witness that mother had confessed to the killings.This familiar to anyone out there?
    It was amazing one of the Prosecutors left the court early one day and did not do his cross examination job.I am sure he was just disgusted that they were carrying on with the prosecution with no chance of success and he was protesting against this.Good to see at least some kind of principled behaviour from a prosecutor.
    10 minutes Jury deliberation from a murder trial must be a world record.It will gi in the Guiness Book.The New Zealand Police and their prosecuting lawyers and our government will be a world wide laughing stock!!

    Here is an extract from the Herald Report….

    Defence lawyer Smith also told the jury that they had been lied to about a cellphone call to Macsyna King’s alibi, her sister Emily, on the night the Crown alleges the Kahui twins were fatally injured.

    “It places her in Mangere, the very place where the twins are,” Mrs Smith said.

    She said Emily King first told police that the phone call could not be explained but later said she had been called by her partner who asked her to return the car.

    Mrs Smith said there was a window of opportunity for Macsyna King to go home and find Kahui at the hospital before flying into a rage.

    She went on to say that the return trip “did not make sense”.

    “The defence says you have been lied to by Macsyna and Emily King,” she said.

    The prosecution said

    * Chris Kahui, 23, murdered his twin sons, Chris and Cru, when he snapped under pressure.

    The defence said

    * The twins’ mother, Macsyna King, inflicted the fatal injuries.

    * She returned home and hurt them when she discovered Kahui wasn’t there.

    * Cellphone records show Ms King was in Mangere when she claimed she was in West Auckland.

    Comment by whanga — Thu 22nd May 2008 @ 8:13 pm

  3. Throughout this trial it was becoming increasingly clearer that Chris Kahui was not the most probable suspect, and 10 minutes jury deliberation signifies how unconvincing the police case was.

    But what I have to ask myself is: why did the police insist on charging the less probable suspect? Were they working on the basis that a woman defendant (Ms King) would be acquitted if there was the slightest chance she didn’t do it, but a man defendant would be convicted if there was the slightest possibility he did? In other words, have the police become so cynical that getting a conviction was more important than prosecuting the right person?

    If this is how police thinking is, one might speculate that the police have further evidence on Macsyna King that hasn’t yet been shown to a court – evidence that would have to be released if she were subsequently tried. And that would raise questions about why the police decided to charge Chris Kahui, when they already knew he was probably not guilty.

    For this reason, they can’t be allowed to let this case drop without comment. It would look too much like they’re trying to hide their own performance.

    Comment by Rob Case — Thu 22nd May 2008 @ 10:23 pm

  4. Hi Whanga, Poor Chris should get some sort of compensation for being put through all that, it has ruined his life and as for the police they can rot in hell mutha f-ckas

    Comment by Hadi Akbari — Thu 22nd May 2008 @ 10:25 pm

  5. The police are now a fully fledged political wing of the Labour ‘fem squad’
    Steve Rickards and Allan Duff know what its like to be on the wrong side of this lot.

    If you ask any cops who are foot soldiers they will tell you that only guys with ‘small balls’ get promoted in this politically infiltrated police force.

    Be afraid……be VERY AFRAID!!!!

    Comment by Bryanxy — Thu 22nd May 2008 @ 11:46 pm

  6. This is unbelievable… two kids have been killed… they could not pin the murder on the father… so police say thats the end of it… what the fuck… the kids are dead, someone killed them so find out who did it. It makes me sick to think of those babies that died and for the person who did it to get away with it !! But then again it makes me sick of my own case of being charged with MAF and for the ex to poss get away with it. I watched the doco channel on finding my dad the other night. It was so sad, so sad to see these kids wanting to see there dads, but so scared of what there dads may think. It had me in tears. These kids did not care about what there mum or dad had been thru, they just wanted to see their dad. Don’t you just love kids. I love my kids too bits but a don’t want to see them in tears because mum or the courts are being wankers. Not much I can do about it, without giving myself a life sentence of stress… and dying from it !!! so I have let it all go. This was the hardess move in my life. But I came to the conclusion, that if i did not do this i would not have a life… I would be dead !!! so i go along now looking after me, and it is bloody good. So guys look after yourself, get an interest ( not girls ) and live. It is good, I am now me !!! I can now leave the toilet seat up, shoes in the house, fart and snore at the same time. I have a house cleaner a garden man and it is all cheaper. I got a motorbike and a little boat that i work on. I have my life back. Do not let them fuck you do not let them threaten you with the kids. Make yourself a life and when the kids find you you will be strong and happy. Then you have won !!!

    Comment by paul — Thu 22nd May 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  7. well said paul

    Comment by cb — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 12:13 am

  8. welcome to germany 1939 people

    Comment by cb — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 12:15 am

  9. The police position on this case becomes ever more bizarre.

    DI John Tims has stated that there is no new evidence and that Chris Kahui remains the primary suspect. On what evidence then do the police hold such strong conviction, when 12 jurors were presented with 6 weeks worth of material, and dismissed the police argument in 10 short minutes? Are the police privy to information not presented at trial? Are they genuinely trying to tell us that they withheld from their own prosecution case the key information that would have convinced the rest of us that Chris Kahui was guilty? Why are they certain, but unable to say exactly why?

    The haste with which the police have announced that they will not be pursuing anyone else on the matter makes them subject to speculation. I have no reason to doubt that DI Tims states the truth that there is no new evidence. Is that the same as saying all existing evidence (not just that concerning a charge against Chris Kahui) has been aired in court?

    Is there a public interest in any evidence not presented being made public?

    Comment by Rob Case — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 2:19 pm

  10. I do not believe the police have a clue what they are doing.They obviously thought that a jury would have the same prejudices and bias against men that they themselves have and that Chris Kahui would be convicted on this basis.Irrespective of the evidence.Maybe this will be a wake up call for the Police.
    Fascinating that the mother asked 3 times when the doctors report would say that the twins were killed.Then she made up a story which placed her outside the area at the time(in collusion with her sister Emily).This was later proved by cellphone records to be untrue.Also evidence of her rough treatment of the twins from birth and of her foul temper.And what about her subsequent confession.Maybe not enough to get a conviction but would have had the jury thinking for more than 10 minutes,especially about the false alibi.
    Obviously some more investigation of the mother would bring up some more evidence as well as the defence was not able to make such a powerful investigation as the Police can.
    And now the Police want to wash their hands of it.It is their job to find out who killed those little boys and not to rest until they do.
    To say simply that it is over is amazing.Does not inspire great confidence or trust.
    I see in the budget we are getting another 1000 police.Might it not be better to have a few less but pay them a bit more so we get some more clever and responsible ones?

    Comment by whanga — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  11. Whanga ,when there is no evidence no witnesses or corrobaration of facts. Our justice system still allows the gestapo to press charges.( Thanks to the feminazi’s ( Clark,King,Bradford & co)In these cases it is exactly as you describe.They rely entirely on societies prejudices and sympathies to gain a conviction.

    Comment by Rick Johanson — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 4:15 pm


    Comment by cb — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 4:21 pm

  13. And this is part of the reason why the Fuehrer and her Regime will suffer a catostrophic defeat come election

    Comment by Rick Johanson — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 4:40 pm

  14. Just as a wee side issue

    It see that most of the country seem to think today that either Juries or police and even CYFS make mistakes….. Fancy that !

    Comment by Rick Johanson — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 4:47 pm

  15. Well said paul,
    What kind of bike do you work on?

    Comment by xsryder — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 9:24 pm

  16. I have served on jury, sentencing someone for murder, and therefore have an understanding of the need to be entirely satisfied that the person you may be convicting is in fact entirely guilty. I also understand that often, I suspect, people get off despite the jury, the police, the judge, knowing full well that the suspect was guilty – just that it was never proven (beyond reasonable doubt). In this particular case, clearly, the Jury had no doubt whatsoever that it was not proven that he was guilty. 10 minutes for not guilty of murder may well be a record in this country.

    What am i saying here? I don’t know whether Chris committed murder or not. Acquital does not say he didn’t do it; only that it was never proven. Certainly he is a free man, and no one can accuse him (at least on current evidence) of being a murderer. The mother may well have done it; that too has never been proven – or disproven.

    Either way, it is clearly evident that the Police either did not, or were unable to, find the proof needed to convict anyone. The trial should never have proceeded. Someone knows, and is not saying, what happened. Somebody committed murder, and got away with it. On that count, it is utterly disgusting that the Police are closing their case.

    Chris now seems set to seek custody of his remaining son. I hope he is not retried in Family Court for crimes for which he has been committed. I say that because a real court is the only place to try a man for allegations of violence. Substantive courts such as Family Court have in my experience proven themselves woefully inadaquate in pursuing truth. If Family Court seeks to re-try Chris (which it will in effect do, if even the slightest mention of Chris being arrested for these crimes is raised), it is classic double jeopardy.

    Comment by Frank & Earnest — Fri 23rd May 2008 @ 9:43 pm

  17. oh, well – maybe another plug for ‘playstation’ in the family court to be seen to warrant him as a bad parent, the prosecution seem to of thought there was a link between chris and the game ‘playstation’ as part of their evidence to his guilt, i surprised they didn’t ask him what the ‘playstation’ games were that he was playing and used the actual games as evidence, now theres a thought…, ‘grand theft auto’ spurs a double murder claims the prosecution, but they didn’t go as far as checking out the titles of the games he was playing i guess, coz they already decided he was guilty before mounting their case…

    Comment by bull en a china shop — Sat 24th May 2008 @ 2:53 pm

  18. Well said ! Bull .. Sad… But true might have given the Jury something to wake up for…

    Comment by Rick Johanson — Sat 24th May 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  19. I’d like Chris Kahui’s little boy to remain with the people who are caring for him now.When I heard that he was found not guilty of the murder of his twin babies,I initially thought that was great news.But every time I look at the photo of those beautiful little babies,where they’re almost holding hands,I can’t help but think that neither of those parents deserve to ever have another child in their care.Because they are not responsible enough.

    Comment by rosie — Sat 24th May 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  20. The Chris Kahui case, what is this are the police are so PC that they can not understand that a woman can actually kill her kids !! So they did not get Chris convicted so they are going to walk away. Is this because they do not want to admitt they they could have been wrong !! Police like the justice system do not like to be proved wrong, and when they are they walk away. Just look at the Aurther Alan Thomas case or the Bain case. Cops proven wrong and then walk away. The cops set there minds on someone, and if they don’t get it they walk away. Hey what a job, if it doesn’t go your way then forget it. The kids are still dead, and someone killed them. SORT IT OUT !!! I think the police are just wanting an up roar so they can then say we NEED MORE FUNDING. It is a political situation. Cops don’t like to be wrong unless you pay them. It is total bullshit.

    Comment by paul — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 7:17 pm

  21. Hi Xsyder,

    I have a a 650cc single banger, its great fun back fires all the time, I love it and it keeps me sort of sane.

    Cheers Paul

    Comment by paul — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 7:24 pm

  22. It needs to be remembered that when Ms King telephoned Chris to tell him that his sons would probably die,he said “whatever” and returned to his playstation game.

    Comment by rosie — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 7:54 pm

  23. Lest we forget……..

    Apology and money for Dougherty
    Jul 11, 2001 6:36 PM

    David Dougherty has received an apology and more than $800,000 after being convicted and jailed for the abduction and rape of an 11-year-old girl.

    The Justice Minister made a public apology and unveiled the compensation payout for Dougherty, who spent three and a half years in jail.

    After a four year battle, Dougherty was awarded $868,728, made up of $168,728 in lost income, legal and other costs and $700,000 to compensate for time in prison, loss of reputation, emotional harm and effect on family and personal relationships.

    Justice Minister Phil Goff said the payment has been made in recognition that society has an obligation to right the wrong that was done in Dougherty’s case.

    “I think it is very appropriate. David has had three and half years stolen from his life,” his lawyer Murray Gibson said.

    It has been four years since he walked from the Auckland High Court after being acquitted in a retrial after already serving three and half years in prison.

    DNA evidence finally proved Dougherty was not the man who abducted and raped the 11-year-old girl.

    Gibson says his client is now a sick man worn out by the whole process.

    “David is relieved as well as pleased, because he has been down a long road and is not well. He now has the ability financially to move forward,” Gibson said.

    But the research scientist who questioned the DNA evidence, forcing the court of appeal to give Dougherty a retrial, says it has taken too long.

    “No justice system is perfect…but every fair minded New Zealander expects that when a mistake does occur that it is put right quickly and people are looked after and compensated,” Arie Geursen said.

    Former justice minister Sir Douglas Graham initially refused compensation, but Goff called for it while in opposition and has now made amends.

    “I acknowledge and apologise to Mr Dougherty on behalf of the government and the justice system for the wrong that was done to him,” Goff said.

    Dougherty’s lawyer wants another apology.

    “I think the ESR (Institute of Environmental Science and Research) should have assumed some responsibility for what happened. After all it was their scientists who misinterpreted the results,” Gibson said.

    The report commissioned by Goff says no blame could be attached to the ESR for not picking up the DNA mismatch.

    Goff is promising a revamp of the rules governing eligibility for compensation in such cases. The rules were toughened up after Dougherty filed his original claim and under the new rules he would not qualify for any compensation.

    Two other New Zealanders have won substantial payouts for wrongful imprisonment.

    In 1980 Arthur Allan Thomas received $1 million for 10 years wrongful imprisonment for the double murders of Jeanette and Harvey Crewe. And last year an Auckland man received $570,000 after spending 14 months in jail for sexually abusing his son.

    Comment by Rick Johanson — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 8:01 pm

  24. Every single person who lived in the Kahui’s house should have been charged with accessory to murder.They should all be behind bars now.

    Comment by rosie — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 8:10 pm

  25. Rosie ,so you sat through a 6 week trail 60 witnesses 1200 pages of evidence…? 10 minutes… Not Guilty

    Comment by Rick Johanson — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 8:22 pm

  26. Terrible muck up this Kahui saga with two dead babies’
    which is sickening and appalling as no one is held
    I watched a friend get sent down for sexual violation on a
    12 year old.He was set up by his ex and is totally
    innocent of any crime.I sat thru a 3 day trial where
    defence proved the complainant’s credibility was not
    reliable, however the jury still convicted him and
    tonight he sits out in D block on remand.

    Our justice system is that dysfunctional it’s dangerous.

    Comment by dad4justice — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 9:32 pm

  27. Hi dad4justice, thats right our justice system is dysfunctional and corrupt, my wife was set up by police, lawyer, judge, cypfs, womans refuge and starship hospital

    Comment by Hadi Akbari — Sun 25th May 2008 @ 10:34 pm

  28. Hi paul,
    Is your “650 single banger” a Yamaha by any chance? I have a 1979 XS1100 with a Watsonian sidecar, and rebuilding it and imagining me and my son going camping on it kept me going through my 3 year tour of duty in the FC.

    Comment by xsryder — Mon 26th May 2008 @ 5:05 pm

  29. Hi xsrder,

    Your a hard case, If it wasn’t for people like you I would go mad. I have a 650 suzuki. Its a lovely little bike. Man a side car would be cool I can imagine you and your son out there. He would love it, It would be the talk of the town. Boys (generally) just love that suff, and camping. I have done many of the treks in the South Island, and would love to do them again with my son. These are the things to focus on. The things we would love to do. Firing up the old BBQ and cooking some freshly caught fish, sitting around a camp fire with your (my) son and having a good old chin wag. To me that is life.That is why I live in this country. Only one problem… getting access to our kids. That is the only fucker of New Zealand, Too bloody PC. I mean really if a father is going to fight for his kids, then why the fuck would he want to hurt them !!! There is no logic in that arguement !! anyway mate all the best with your bike, it is always a pleasure to chat to you. Paul

    Comment by paul — Mon 26th May 2008 @ 5:36 pm

  30. Chris Kahui’s now famous “whatever” reply could easily have been his indifferent reaction to her incoherent hysteria.

    Rosie, you wouldn’t see sexism if it hit you at a 100km/h head on.

    A fact is that a statement was made to police that Ms King confessed to the killings and that her alibi turned out to be a lie. Incredibly, police where to busy to follow any of this up. If the genders had been reversed there would be a public outcry!

    Not a single politician made any noise about how disastrously the coppers handled this case. The best some of our “real men” in parliament can come up with is that we should discuss law changes removing the “right to be silent”.

    Comment by pete — Mon 26th May 2008 @ 10:58 pm

  31. Hi guys, even if either of the parents had killed these two beautiful boys, we cant completely blame them for it, for a young couple to have a baby it can be very stressful and to have two would be worse, just say the mother had a case of postnatal depression and didnt aknowledge it or know where to go for help, this is what you lot dont understand, i believe these two felt so alone and maybe lost the plot, my wife in the past had potnatal depression going to friends, family, doctors, counsellors and even cypfs seen as though she already had them in her life and instead of getting the help she needed they took her children, this government is the reason these children are dying

    Comment by Hadi Akbari — Tue 27th May 2008 @ 10:22 am

  32. There is a common factor in both the Gwaze murder/rape trial, and the Kahui murder trial which should be noted: Medical ‘experts’ from DSAC Doctors for Sexual Abuse Creation Care.

    My wife Felicity was directly involved with the Gwaze case. As this case may still be subject to legal proceedings I better only publish information which is already in the public domain:

    What the public didn’t hear about the death of Charlene Makaza

    GP and forensic physician Felicity Goodyear-Smith, the medical adviser for the defence, believes that once sexual abuse had been raised, other possible explanations were never considered.

    And because Charlene’s care was handed over between shifts, those on duty later lost sight of her first symptoms. “They were well-intentioned but totally wrong. The fact that she was admitted with sepsis and hypovolemic shock was lost in the retelling.

    “Once you get a particular line of thought, like this is sexual abuse, it colours thinking,” she said. “And these were very senior people saying it was abuse. If it IS sexual abuse that doesn’t matter, but suddenly the possibility that it might not be isn’t on the table any more so everything is focused on looking for evidence of it and this is really what this case typifies.”

    Goodyear-Smith says at first, she too thought the odds were stacked against Gwaze.

    “It looked very damning, and very difficult. But when I went through it bit by bit and produced a timeline it all fell into place and then it became incredibly compelling that there was actually no crime. Even though there may be strange coincidences, there are explanations for all of it.”

    On her timeline, the turning point in medical opinion as to the cause of Charlene’s death came at around 1pm when a rectal probe was inserted to take a more accurate temperature. Nurses alerted consultants to what they thought was a “meaty open wound” in her anus, or a rectal tear. A paediatric consultant put the size of the wound at around 7cm while a nurse described it as “a wound you would never forget”.

    Quickly, attention switched to a possible sexual assault and the infection being caused by the anal injury. By the time Charlene took her last breath 12 hours later, with Sifiso holding her hand and the rest of her family looking on, police were stationed outside.

    And when pathologist Martin Sage reported the results of his autopsy the following day that Charlene had likely been suffocated and her genital injuries were consistent with forcible penetration the prosecution had its murder victim.

    But when the jury delivered its not guilty verdicts on Wednesday afternoon, the Gwaze case became a judicial rarity a murder trial without a murder. There was a victim, but no crime.

    There were no gaping genital wounds, either, says Goodyear-Smith. She believes what the doctors and nurses were actually seeing was a swollen and distended anal canal caused probably by a combination of the severe diarrhoea, Charlene’s HIV-Aids status, and the fact she was being pumped with litres of fluids to increase her blood pressure. “There was no 7cm laceration. There were lots of tiny fissures but there wasn’t a big tear. But that’s what they thought they saw and they went `gasp’.”

    Sage’s autopsy report made no mention of a 7cm tear, referring only to cracks in the anal tissue, the largest of which was 5mm. But he thought these could not be explained by natural causes.

    What the doctors were in fact looking at was a very rare HIV-related death in an untreated child. Charlene, who arrived in Christchurch with Sifiso and Charmaine in October 2005, had never had an HIV test.

    Though tests in Zimbabwe showed her immunity was lowered and HIV was suspected, she didn’t have an Aids-defining condition that would have triggered treatment. And because she came here on a student visa, she didn’t have an HIV test.

    The family probably knew Charlene was infected, but chose to treat problems as they occurred, pointing to Zimbabwean children dying with Aids despite aggressive treatment.

    Goodyear-Smith says she approached HIV experts and pathologists to help but found it difficult to get experts willing to testify. “It is very difficult because if you do come out for the defence against your colleagues you may end up as a pariah.”

    Goodyear-Smith has tracked Charlene’s 18 hours in hospital, almost by the minute. Every test, every scan, every examination.

    “Their attempts to save Charlene’s life were heroic,” she says. “They did everything right. The only thing wrong was the diagnosis.”

    Dr Patrick Kelly – witness for Kahui prosecution

    Medical experts struggled with age of injured twins

    Dr Terrence Donald, a forensic paediatrician from Australia, told the High Court it was very difficult to pinpoint when the Kahui twins were fatally injured but believes a seizure by one of the boys may have happened hours after the initial assault…Dr Donald disputed evidence by crown witness Dr Patrick Kelly that the twins would not have been able to feed after being assaulted.

    Brain specialist on Kahui jury

    A doctor with specialist knowledge of brain injuries was on the Chris Kahui murder jury, one of Kahui’s lawyers has revealed…Medical evidence on the timing of the injuries was at the crux of the Kahui case. The Sunday Star-Times has been told the twins’ mother, Macsyna King, was the prime suspect before Auckland paediatrician Patrick Kelly said he believed baby Cru was most likely injured minutes before he stopped breathing and was resuscitated.

    DSAC member Dr Patrick Kelly spends a lot of his time giving evidence in court. Also in the last Star-Times article:

    Patrick Kelly’s evidence is being challenged in the death of a Pukekohe toddler Arwen Fletcher, who died in March 2006, three months before the Kahui twins died. Her stepfather, Warick Broadhurst, 18 at the time, was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 7 1/2 years in prison, but has appealed on the grounds that Kelly could not accurately predict the timing of the injuries.

    Comment by JohnP — Tue 27th May 2008 @ 11:16 am

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