Discuss about the Advise On Evidence Information For Greg Gregson.
- I am briefed to advise the client in relation to the murder case. I am asked to advise on evidence information on potential evidence that could put the client Mr., Greg Gregson, away in his coming trial. The client has been charged with the murder of his colleague, Ms. Meredith Cotton. Following an investigation, the accused has been charged with murder under section 302 of the criminal code 1899. 
- I am specifically asked to:
- Identify the problems that could arise from the evidence. What issues could each party raise the evidence? This could include consideration of relevancy.
- What items of the evidence would be inadmissible?
- Whether the particular witnesses are competent enough to give evidence?
- Whether there is evidence enough for the jury to convict Mr. Gregson?
- Any other evidentiary information that could help in the case?
I have been provided with a list of the crown intended witnesses and evidence.
Advice of evidence according to instructions given in relation to challenges that can be raised by both parties.
According to the instructions given; there is no real evidence. The real evidence should be tangible such as any weapon used for murder. The wallet, handbag and other items of the deceased (Ms. Meredith Cotton). Going by the instruction, have been found under the bridge but do not show any signs of being used in the murder of the deceased. According to the evidence by the crown, there is not a mention of any real evidence.  These pauses a challenge to the case. The crown will influence the jury into other forms of evidence i.e. circumstantial and documentary.  They will seriously depend on affidavits of the witnesses. These will influence the jury’s decision. They could probably use circumstantial evidence that will tie the accused to the scene of the murder. 
The same challenge could also work in our favor (the accused). I would advise that since there is no real evidence in term of the weapon of murder. The jury should treat the other form of evidence as an argument from ignorance. Real evidence could, therefore, be irrelevant for use in this case. The crown planning to use the Weissenstenner style of argument during the trial will definitely raise challenges.  The fact that the accused will remain silent during the trial can work in favor of the crown. The accused being competent but not compellable at his own trial might mean infringement on the accused side. The men of the jury might think this as a sign of guilt and therefore ruled against the accused. The crown would argue that an innocent man would avoid self-preservation and would want an opportunity to prove his innocence. A guilty man, on the other hand, would remain silent so as not to reveal his guilt nature. This reasoning might work in favor of the crown.
The decision could, however, work in our favor (the accused) if the evidence by the crown does not convince the jury. We could also argue that the accused was shocked into silence but this doesn’t hold sensitivity. My legal advice would encourage this type of argument until we are sure that the jury isn’t convinced by the evidence. Any signs of evidence convincing the jury, the attorney on behalf of the client should request for a reverse of the argument. Additionally, my legal advice would be. The evidence by the crown by my analysis is not so many. When the evidence is many this argument might have worked against us. The reason for adverse inference might not work in the favor of the accused. The use of the Weissensteiner type of argument is very relevant in this case.
It is also possible to raise the concern of cross-examination between the crown and the accused. From the evidence, there is no cross-examination between then accused and the crown. If all the witnesses have been cross-examined it will be difficult to understand why the accused hasn’t been cross-examined.  The failure by the crown to do this may mean that the crown plan to use the inference prompt. These might bring the challenge to the accused. This will make the jury adverse more on the evidence by the witness. The lack of the murder weapon and lack of the accused statement or cross-examination report will lead to the jury focusing on the witness’s confession. This could be challenging, keeping in mind that the information received from the witness might be biased and invalid.
From this point, I would advise that during the trial, the council should request evidence. The interrogation between the accused and the prosecutor. This will help in opening the eyes of the jury towards different angles. It also provides the accused to create a defense having listened to all the witness speak. This will probably consist the most important part of changing the decision of the jury. The fact that the body of the deceased Ms. Meredith Cotton has not been found is a challenge to the evidence in this case. The forensic evidence from the body would have easily solved the case. The case has to be solved even without the body. The jury will, therefore, have to focus on the circumstantial evidence. Seemingly the circumstance does not favor the accused.  The accused can prove all these circumstances wrong if he shows without a doubt all his movements after the disappearance of Ms. Meredith Cotton. The lack of the body, therefore, creates a challenge to the case.
What evidence could be inadmissible?
From the instruction provided, there is some evidence that could possibly not be admitted by the court during the trial, for legal reasons. By the use test for relevancy method and general admissibility of relevant evidence. I find the following evidence inadmissible by the court.
Meredith’s handbag, passport, and wallet
As per the instruction is given. These three items were turned into police custody early August. They were recovered from under the pier three months later after the disappearance of Meredith. The Sandgate police seemed not to have identified the ownership until the issuance of a missing person bulletin was given by the central police. The time duration of recovery of the items does not add logic to the case. If the pier was the scene of the murder of the deceased then the items should have been recovered earlier. The court should, therefore, in my opinion, dismiss this evidence on the basis that it has no logic. The crown is only using these items to mislead the jury and needlessly presenting cumulative evidence under rule 401.
A wisdom panel laboratory test for Celine, Mr. Greg’s dog
The test result of the dog who has since died might not be admissible. The dog was already dead by the time the postcards were sent out. The evidence, therefore, does not relate to logic. If by the time the cards were sent out already the dog was dead, then the crown is planning to use this evidence to needlessly present cumulative evidence. The evidence is also inadmissible since it breaches the privacy of the accused. The crown hasn’t shown any court order allowing them to access the DNA test of the pet dog Celine. This, therefore, should be dismissed as evidence obtained under unlawful means.  There should have been a court order allowing for the crown to access this private information. It also breaches the rule of professional client privilege. When Mr. Greg organized the DNA test, by the fact that, he did it privately was a client privilege. The crown, therefore, broke the privilege to acquire evidence. The above reasons render this evidence inadmissible under rule 501.
Witness, Jonah Takalua, student
The witness statement is inadmissible based on the following two reasons. The fact that Jonah is in frequent contact with the police and has agreed to provide this information in exchange for a favor. It could be that Jonah only testifies a lie so that he is not charged with truancy. This makes the witness inadmissible in the case. The words from Jonah can be treated as hearsay. Jonah admits hearing Mr. Greg telling Meredith that he would drive her to the airport the next day, while they discussed the changeover. The information by Jonah is trying to prove the crowns assertion that Mr. Greg was the last person to see the deceased Ms. Meredith. The matter asserted is, therefore, be used to prove the declarant assertion. This is basically the definition of hearsay.  The statement should, therefore, be dismissed on the grounds of being hearsay documented under rule 802 and 403.
Whether the particular witnesses are competent to give evidence?
Everyone is competent to be a witness to a case unless under the rules of article six. For our case will analyze if each is fit to testify for evidence during the trial.
Witness 1 Mrs. Edna cotton
Mrs. Cotton should testify according to the 601 rule. The mental infirm of a witness is normally not used to prevent them from testifying for evidence. The mental rule under 601 rule (c) is only used when the witness can separate reality from fantasy. The witness in question has only a few memory loss problems. She is also tested and found to be well enough to testify. As much as the witness is competent enough to testify but, we will have to question her credibility. She has shown cases of neurosis and amnesia. The witness is therefore competent but not credible enough.
Witness 2 Florence Nightingale
A nurse who testifies under the professional rule 702. She testifies as an expert witness. She is therefore allowed by law to give evidence in accordance with the case. She is one of the competent witnesses.
Witness 3 Margaret Murray, principal
Mrs. Margaret will offer her testimony under two rules. The rule 601 as a witness and 702 as a professional witness being the principal of the school. Some of her testimonies will be used as evidence but others might be treated as opinion and may therefore not be useful in adding to the evidence.  Testifying about the day the accused and the deceased got employed can be used as rule 702 as it’s based on professional fact and therefore can be used as evidence. The temporal promotion can be used as evidence under 701 as she testifies as a professional expert. The argument that Mr. Gregson was difficult to deal with. Additionally, that he was suffering from temper tantrum and that he felt undervalued by the school. The three are treated under rule 703, the expert opinion testimony and can, therefore, be used as evidence during the trial. The testimony about Mr. Greg organizing his own farewell and driving in circles can be objected under rule 704. Opinion on ultimate issue. It is the opinion of the witness.
Witness 3, Mr. Rodney Parsons, science teacher
Mr. Parson will witness under the 601 rule. Being a friend of the accused. However, he might not be a witness under the law of the dead man statues. The crown will not use his argument of going to Auckland and emailing the postcards back. This is because the dead man rule states that, using a dead person’s testimony just because they are not around to defend themselves at that time is unlawful. This rule will make the crown not use such evidence against the accused. The witness, therefore, can only give evidence under rule 601. Paterson is, therefore, a competent witness.
Witness, Ms. Wheatley, Teacher
Ms. Wheatley will testify under the rule 601. Being a teacher that knew the deceased. The evidence will however not be used during the trial as it beats the dead man statues rule. The statement by her insinuates a conversation that the only person that can refute or agree to those claims are the deceased. These directly infringe the Deadman statute under the common approach of law.  This renders such evidence and witnesses’ incompetent. This witness is therefore incompetent. The evidence might only work if the court rule that it will work in terms of the plaintiff and accused. This will apply if the court uses the civil rights way of handling this case.
Witness 4, Jonah Takalua, Student
Jonah is competent witnessed based on rule 601. He is a student claiming to have had a conversation between the accused and Ms. Meredith.  The evidence by Jonah might be incompetent based on rule 802. Jonah’s evidence is heard say since it qualifies under the section 802(C). His statement that the accused had agreed to drive the deceased to the airport that morning, proves the statement of the crown prosecutor that Mr. Greg was the last person to see the deceased.  This is hearsay proving witness incompetent. Secondly, the witness might be considered incompetent as he acted under the influence of the police. He is returning a favor of not being charged with truancy. This affects the rule 602 that stresses on the witness acting truthfully. 
Whether there is adequate information for the jury to convict Mr. Greg
If the evidence is accepted, there is a possibility the jury might convict Mr. Greg.B being that there is no real evidence, the jury will be forced to act through circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence places Mr. Greg with a motive.  The motive is so that he takes over as the head of drama coordination, a position previously held by the deceased. He shows very strong emotions when he is told that the position is temporary. He even demands to pay arise and other benefits like the construction of the theatre hall.  The announcement he makes on the P.A summarizes his frustrations and further proves his guilt. All the evidence also points to him being the last one to see the deceased. The evidence from Ms. Whitley and Jonah places him at the scene of the murder.  Whitley theory that he went to meet someone at the pier before the morning of her death, the items are found at the same place balances with the theory of the crown. Jonah having had the conversation between the two, then according to the airplane records, the deceased doesn’t sign in for the flight. This balances with the theory that he is the one who saw her last.  According to the law, circumstantial evidence demands motive and scene. This proves Mr. Greg guilty and therefore the jury could convict him. The theory of Mr. Greg’s pet dog DNA being found matching with the DNA recovered from the postcards proves the theory of the crown that Mr. Greg was the last one to see the deceased. 
Any other legal evidentiary advice
I do advise that if Mr. Greg would like not to be convicted when the case goes to trial. He should prove beyond a reasonable doubt using evidence like travel documents and witnesses that he was not at the place of the murder that morning when the deceased went missing. He should also prove that his motives were directed towards making the institution better and not taking over Meredith position.
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