“Every now and then I see a court outcome so extraordinary that I feel very uneasy”. – Jeremy Bioletti NZ Defense Barrister
The observation above was tweeted by a New Zealand criminal defense barrister soon after reading and retweeting several media reports covering the inquest into the death of Kelston Boys High School Student Stephen Dudley during an altercation following a rugby match almost three years ago.
Our bet is that there would be very few lawyers who would disagree with the suspicions expressed by Mr Bioletti
Regular readers will be aware that team LF have followed this case since the very first report of the attack. We also reported on the coverup as it had unfolded in court:
From the outset it became more than evident that something was up, that the New Zealand police and the Ministry of justice were treating this crime very differently to any other we had witnessed. In short the police behavior and the way the New Zealand media, Ministries of Education and Justice were conducting themselves smelt very bad, very bad indeed.
The fact that the police applied an immediate media blackout on reporting any mention of the schools name was the first major red flag. There was absolutely no reason for this to have been the case. The fact that the identity of the school is still subject of a suppression order in New Zealand is also highly suspicious.
Who in their right mind would be stupid enough to believe that New Zealand parents don’t have a right to know where there has been a history of serious violence, particularly when its more than obvious that the school in question was incapable of ensuring the safety of it’s students. That reality, as the New Zealand Govt would have it, would be a profound breach of natural justice and trust.
Importantly, just as LF had concluded back in 2013 and 2014 following the coverup one of the police objectives was to protect the Rugby career of the principle offender. This has now been unequivocally admitted:
“However he’s since forged a career as a sportsman and is living overseas.”
LF’s views, as expressed three years ago, have stood the test of time and the police attempts to cover-up the criminal offending.
It is now also our view, given the extent of this corruption, New Zealand’s very small and incestuous legal fraternity and the often nefarious connection it has with the country’s police, that the Coroner Gordon Matenga will likely work hard to furnish an inquest finding that does little more than maintain the status quo; hints that this outcome is more than likely are to be found in seemingly innocuous comments Matenga made during the hearing
Kelston Boys High Principle, Brian Evans
The principle has given evidence at the inquest, evidence with holes so large that a truck could have been driven through it. Most notable was Evan’s purported belief that he had done the right thing by the family and that the school was on good terms with the Dudley’s.
“I’m really distressed to hear that’s how you feel. I’m deeply sorry on behalf of the school and myself…..I believed our relationship after was really positive.” – Kelston Boys High Principle Brian Evans
Now either Evan’s like a fucking mushroom lives in a dark room and thrives on bullshit, a complete vacuum, where he’s not subjected to any news or police advice, or he is a complete fuckwit; or he is simply lying – just three choices – commonsense should tell anyone who’s followed closely that Evans is a fucking liar, who’s only objective throughout has been to look after number one.
There is no possible way that Evans could have realistically been of the belief that the family had been treated fairly, or that the communication provided by the school was even adequate let alone “positive”.
Brian Evan’s recollection of events and his purported beliefs surrounding the schools attitude toward the Dudley family are clearly complete fabrications, they just don’t ring true in the circumstances of a total media blackout, extreme likelihood that the Dudley’s would speak to the media and the fact that the school was likely facing a massive negligence tort and the decimation of Evans status as a Kiwi Rugby Legend
In our view Evans had been instructed by Litherland and his masters at the Ministry of Education to keep his mouth shut and maintain a great deal of distance between himself, the school and the Dudley family.
In that regard Stephens fathers testimony has much more of the ring of truth about it:
“Gutted, that’s an understatement. The people that were sent, that had to come over, they did do a good job, but we wanted communication and you just distanced yourself, and you did it bloody deliberately because you didn’t want to incriminate yourself.” –
The truth is that commonsense tells us that the police, the Ministry of Education and Evans knew that the principle, the coaches and the school we in deep shit.
They had after all been responsible for Stephen’s welfare, and all three groups would have been aware of the ramifications of that fact, given that the assault and death had happened on school grounds during an activity endorsed by the school and monitored by teaching staff.
Another New Zealand Police Cover-up
For anyone who still believes that the New Zealand police, or any New Zealand Government Ministry for that matter, acts with integrity and with justice foremost in mind either needs a lobotomy or to have a quite chat to one of the many campaigners who have fought police over the years. Anyone who has had dealings with the police would undoubtedly agree that one is more likely to be confronted with Machiavellian treachery than anything even resembling integrity. That is certainly the case with the Dudley file.
What is clear is that the senior investigating officer is undoubtedly corrupt. None of the Newspapers reported on the evidence Detective Sergeant Litherland gave and the New Zealand Herald only belatedly added brief reportage following LF’s noting of its absence; adding it to an article after it had already been published.
Detective Sergeant Peter Litherland, of Waitemata police district, gave evidence.
Mr Litherland said he was first advised of the incident at 5.30pm on June 13, 2013, and he made his way quickly to the scene.
He said upon arrival he saw St John staff administering medical attention to Stephen on the rugby field before transferring him to hospital.
Mr Litherland said he spoke to witnesses at the school, teammates of Stephen.
Later that evening, he and other investigating police officers attended the home of two of the suspects, under the rules of the Search and Surveillance Act.
Mr Litherland said he and the officers were also able to obtain three phone videos of the fight incident from Dudley’s teammates who witnessed it, and two phone video recordings of when Dudley was being administered medical treatment after the fight.
He also confirmed that he was the officer that had the tough job of informing Dudley’s parents of his death.
“Throughout my entire dealings with the Dudley’s, I have been at pains to provide them with all the information,” Mr Litherland said.
The inquest before Coroner Gordon Matenga resumes and is scheduled to conclude on Friday
So who was it that “advised” Litherland; how and why was it that Litherland, a cop with an obvious conflict of interest, attended and managed to get there so quickly….what was the urgency if there was as yet no discussion of a possible homicide?
So many questions flow just from this brief summary by Herald journo, British émigré and NZ police lacky Robb Kidd. Did Stephen really die at the hospital, or perhaps he in fact died on the field, before being loaded into the ambulance on the school grounds? You just wouldn’t know to be honest, nothing about this case is clean, and police cannot be trusted.
What is obvious to us however, in the absence of any plausible explanation, is that Litherland, himself a schoolboy rugby coach, had likely set out to protect his coaching mates, the school, it’s reputation in the rugby world and the future career of the principle offender, the man, who witnesses told Matenga, landed the killer blow.
Key among the schools legal responsibilities was a duty of care to Stephen Dudley, to ensure his safety. Clearly the school and the coaches present on the day failed in that legal obligation; a fact that the school, principal Brian Evans and Detective Sergeant Litherland would have been well and truly aware of.
In fact the principle was obviously very concerned about culpability, cancelling an appointment with the Dudleys, later claiming it was them who had cancelled:
The principal of the high school apologised to the couple in court this afternoon and said he had no idea there was any animosity over what had happened.
He understood a meeting he was scheduled to have with the Dudleys had been cancelled by them, but they had denied that was the case.
“If I’m wrong I’m really really sorry,” he said.
Evans was undoubtedly aware that his side had cancelled the appointment, in all likelihood on legal advice from the Ministry’s lawyers. In fact it is these directives, between the school and others, that we would be looking to establish existed and obtain next; if the Dudley’s advisors have not already done so.
The correspondence between the school, the Ministry and the police are important in determining who was driving Evans and the schools avoidance strategy.
Here at LF we’d also love to get our hands on the school phone logs; both for the landlines and mobiles. Our bet is that the call traffic between Litherland, Evans and Co would be damning.
Frankly the evidence given by Litherland at the inquest simply does not stack up; particularly his recollection of the timing of his arrival at the scene of the crime, his alleged dealing with the smartphone evidence and the time and place of death. It is also worth noting one paragraph in the heralds report:
There were also unanswered questions over why police dropped manslaughter charges originally laid against the two teenage defendants.
Was it that police refused to answer the questions? Or was it that Litherland was unable or unwilling to answer questions put to him around the police decision to drop the manslaughter charges? Either way it points to the fact that someone was up to no good. Either Litherland, Police HQ, Crown Law, the Ministry of Education or a conspiracy between all of the parties involved in the decision to drop charges against the brothers.
Nor does the evidence of some of the so-called school mates present at the killing, in particular their claimed support of Stephen and the manner in which they now claim to have destroyed the video recordings; which is of course a serious criminal offense in itself; an offense that police again seemingly chose to ignore.
It has repeatedly been said that Stephen did not die until he had arrived at the Hospital. It has also been stated that the boys called an ambulance after discussing what to do.
Therefore one can only assume that the normal course of events would have been followed, that the New Zealand emergency services number would have been dialed in the first instance, ambulance and then police operators spoken to, and that recordings of those conversations exist; so where are they? Certainly there is no mention in the media that this evidence was placed before the Coroner.
So just how was it that a senior detective, senior sergeant Peter Litherland was able to get on the scene so quickly?
Surely it would have been treated as any other “school boy” fight, Dudley not yet having died and delegated in the normal manner for a regular police vehicle to attend, if not why not?
Was Litherland or another friendly senior officer contacted directly on a mobile phone, lets say by one of the school staff, someone who knew Litherland or another senior cop personally?
Then there’s the fact is that both experts who gave evidence, the heart specialist for the family and the police pathologist, eventually agreed that Stephen had died as a direct result of cardiac arrhythmia and that the trigger had been the violent assault;
Heart specialist Professor Jonathan Skinner said he believed a likelier explanation for Dudley’s death was a “phenomenon” called commotio cordis
This fact was reported by at least one newspaper, the emphasis on the likely “trigger” was however quickly changed, probably following a call from the New Zealand Ministry of Justice spin doctors or the police media office:
Prof Jonathan Skinner
MB ChB, DCH, MRCP(UK), FRACP, FCSANZ, FHRS, MD.
Assoc Prof Jon Skinner joined the Auckland Heart group in 2014. He is paediatric cardiologist/electrophysiologist at Starship Children’s Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, and Associate Professor at Auckland University department of Child Health. He runs the national arrhythmia service for children and adults with congenital heart disease. He chairs the Cardiac Inherited Diseases Group which runs the NZ national inherited heart disease registry and multidisciplinary investigative service of young sudden unexplained death. Jon also chairs the genetic council of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand and has authored over 100 peer reviewed scientific articles, with a focus on cardiac ion channelopathies such as long QT syndrome, together with a text book and seven chapters in various medical texts.
He qualified in medicine in the UK, and trained in paediatric cardiology in Newcastle, Birmingham and Bristol. He was trained in cardiac electrophyisology and catheter ablation of arrhythmias in Hamburg, Germany under Professor Karl Heinz Kuch and Dr. Joachim Hebe, and has performed catheter ablations in Auckland since 1998 with a focus on children, youth and adults with congenital heart disease. He introduced 3D mapping to Auckland, and cryoablation of arrhythmias to New Zealand in 2008.
The police pathologist, Dr Paul L Morrow, an American, is nowhere near as qualified. An employee of the Auckland Hospital and a lecturer at Auckland university. Morrow in fact co-wrote a paper where in the iadequacy of postmortems in New Zealand was known as problematic, the paper pointing out that;
Experience from New Zealand revealed that the quality of autopsies was quite variable among pathologists. Autopsy reports were often very brief and lacking sufficient detailed descriptions to allow the investigating cardiac genetic team to have confidence that anatomical diagnoses such as cardiomyopathies or coronary artery anomalies were adequately searched for.10 In one family with three young sudden deaths, none of the three autopsies described the right ventricle. Subsequent tests have revealed the cause as ARVC.
Thus, it was clear that such investigations need to have proper protocols. With this in mind, a multidisciplinary New Zealand/Australian group known as Trans-Tasman Response Against Sudden Death in the Young (TRAGADY) wrote best practice guidelines for the appropriate investigations of sudden death in young people.
In fact, one detects an element of disbelief in Prof Skinner’s evidence, polite but none the less Skinner challenges Morrow’s findings, at least the ones that the Police cherry picked to suit their obvious agenda; this then begs this question, was the autopsy conducted by Morrow in line with the 2008 (TRAGADY) protocols?
The fact that Stephen died from the injuries he sustained during the attack there is little if any doubt that he would have been alive today had it not been for a vicious and unprovoked assault. Forget the police propaganda projected by the all too compliant NZ media over the past three years, used by police as an excuse to down grade the Murder/manslaughter charges to a big fat zero, the crap about Stephen having died of an unrelated pre-existing heart condition.
The simple fact is the assault killed Stephen, it deprived him of his life. The chances of him having dropped dead at another time are not only negligible, they’re fucking irrelevant; and in any event were for a jury to decide, NOT Peter Litherland or one of his corrupt police overlords.
Police have continued to thwart the Dudley family’s right to know, they have deliberately withheld evidence. They have also variously attacked other people that had gone to the aid of the Dudley’s offering legal advice and the benefit of their experience; Litherland being the most active when it came to police intimidation .
Contrary to what the New Zealand media, in particular the New Zealand Herald, would have Kiwis believe police. Detective Sergeant Peter Litherland, a man with close personal connections to the New Zealand School Rugby fraternity and the schools coaching staff, in particular, has acted in an overbearing and threatening manner, using intimidation and everything else at his disposal as a police officer, to prevent the truth surfacing.
The question has to be asked…why? Why would police conceal and destroy evidence, abuse their power, and be so obviously determined to keep this case under wraps?
Whilst it remains to be seen just how the Coroner deals with the evidence, knowing Gordon Matenga and his history we here at LF are certainly not holding our breath that New Zealand’s police or the country’s justice system will suddenly decide to do the right thing.
As aforesaid the more likely outcome, sadly, is that Matenga will again attempt to bury the police corruption and an obvious cover-up.
That said it seems to us that the only course now open for the Dudley family to obtain a just outcome will be through a complaint to the United Nations, a complaint such as that made by Julian Assange or two fairly recent cases involving New Zealand family court incompetence.
From our perspective, as Australians, there are to problems with this case. The first should be obvious to all who have watched it unfold; that it smelt from the outset and that a New Zealand family has yet to receive justice.
The second won’t perhaps be that obvious to New Zealanders, that being that we are sick and tired of New Zealand’s justice system covering up offending in such a way that it leaves these same violent offenders free to enter Australia and all to often re-offend at our expense.
Most Australian States and Territories have over the past four years introduced what has come to be known in the media as “One Punch” laws. These laws have been framed to stop the sort of assault that took the life if young Stephen Dudley and to punish such assaults, in particular the resultant fatalities, with the full force of the law.
New Zealand doesn’t have these laws, nor seemingly does its justice system pay much attention to the rights of the victims of such violence. What’s more, over the past 12 months the evidence of an exodus of violence from New Zealand to Australia should have become obvious to New Zealand authorities, including it’s half-baked bent police and prosecution services.
Australia can no longer afford to ignore, or tolerate, these extraordinary legal and civil rights inadequacies and abuses; nor will we tolerate New Zealand’s violent criminal culture being exported to our shores and then inflicted on Australian citizens.
For all of these reasons the serious inadequacies and failures of New Zealand’s corrupt justice system need to be exposed.
We’ll be continuing to follow this case and reporting on the outcome of the coronal inquiry.
Next up on laudafinem.com: What has Benjamin Rachinger got over the New Zealand police & how might it be connected to the Dudley case?