Author Topic: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?  (Read 1283 times)

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Offline LuminousWanderer

What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« on: April 03, 2018, 10:24:21 PM »
Something that is baffling me about this case is the relevance of Julie Mugford.

Bear in mind here that I am discussing relevance in the context of an application to the CCRC, not in the context of a criminal jury trial.  Bamber stands convicted.  The trial is over.  That train has left the station.  This is about relevancy qua Bamber's legal prognosis as a criminal appellant.

In that regard, the only evidence helpful to Bamber is evidence that undermines the murder conviction.  It may be emotionally-satisfying and cathartic for him to go after a certain schools administrator in Manitoba, but it might not help him overturn his conviction.

Obviously I'm no expert on this case and at all times I am happy to be corrected on the facts and who said what in court, etc., but my own understanding about her evidence is that she said the following (here I am deliberately putting things in very general terms, to aid clarity):

(i). Bamber told her he wanted to kill his family.

(ii). Bamber told her he was going to kill his family.

(iii). Bamber told her he was planning to kill his family.

(iv). Bamber told her how he would kill his family.

(v). She assisted Bamber in an abortive/inchoate plot to kill his family.

(vi). Bamber told her he was about to kill his family.

(vii). Bamber rang her and told her something was happening at the Farm.

(viii). Bamber told her that he had killed his family, contracting-out the act to a known criminal.

(ix). The person Bamber named in fact had not carried out this act.

For the purposes of this thread, we will lean on the side of conservatism and accept the former Julie Mugford's evidence at face value.  That being the case, we will assume that she was, more or less, telling the truth at trial. 

On the basis of that working assumption, my view is that:

(a). none of the above facts involve or amount to a murder confession;

(b). none of the above facts prove that Bamber killed his family; and,

(c). while the above facts are of some relevance to a criminal trial as an indicator of Bamber's character and his attitude to his family, none of the facts mentioned could have assisted a hypothetical reasonable jury in determining whether Bamber had killed his family.

No doubt in discussions in this thread, the focus will be on point (viii) above.  Certainly I accept that point (viii) above does not assist Bamber's defence and would be of grave concern to the police and to a jury, but I am clear in my mind that it is not a confession.  First, it's hearsay, which means that even if we assume she was a truthful witness, we can't adduce her evidence and assess its reliability in the same way we could other types of evidence.  Second, the basis of the evidence is wrong or false, a fact that in itself demands an explanation.  Again, assuming that the former Miss Mugford was a truthful witness, it's as plausible that Bamber was just an idiotic and callous young man who disliked his adoptive parents and was privately glad and relieved they were dead and wanted to show off in front of his girlfriend.  Or maybe he was just joking about having hired a hitman?  The reality is that people say strange and upsetting things in these situations, and often show inappropriate emotions, especially if they are emotionally-stunted or haven't learned how to act in a normative manner.

I can speak slightly from personal experience, and what follows is just to illustrate the point.  My father passed away during a period I was spending in prison.  I was aware he was ill and was one morning called to see the prison chaplain, who then broke the news to me.  For me, the passing of my father was very difficult to bear because I was never close to him, indeed I had a very poor relationship with him.  That does tend to make it worse.  In my case, when the chaplain told me, my initial response was numbness and then I started to smile and laugh a bit, then I realised consciously that that was not appropriate, then I started to get genuinely upset, and a minute later I was crying - the first time I had done so in years.  I know that's not the same thing as the situation with Jeremy, but if Jeremy was chuckling or showing-off to Julie, that could have been a defence mechanism or explained by his emotionally-inert psyche.  Or it could be that he just was relieved that his parents were gone.  Or maybe he was wryly referring his girlfriend to his fulfilled anticipation of problems with Sheila?  Or maybe he really did do it and he is a mass murderer?  I can't say one way or the other, I just offer some possible explanations, based on general life experience.

But the main point is, I question the relevance of Mugford's evidence.  There is no confession here from Jeremy.  There is no proof of a confession, only hearsay about a factually-wrong claim that he had had his parents killed.  I would go so far as to say that, in all the circumstances, her evidence should not have been heard, but we are where we are.  It was heard, and that being the case, it's now a double-edged sword: on the one hand, despite having no probative value at trial, it was still evidence that may have persuasively helped the jury to convict Jeremy; on the other hand, it's now no longer of relevance because undermining it can't help undermine the murder conviction itself.  Even if it can be showed that Julie Mugford lied about some minor transactional fact and has, in a technical sense, perverted the course of justice, that doesn't disturb Jeremy's conviction (and, just speculation, but I doubt the Canadian authorities will be happy to extradite her after all this time).

In other words: if we took Julie Mugford's evidence out of the picture, that would not help Jeremy on the main cause, regardless of the reason; and, conversely, if Julie Mugford' evidence was the only point standing against Jeremy, his convictions would be quashed anyway.

For that reason, my view is that Julie Mugford should stay where she belongs - in the past - and Julie Smerchanski should be left alone. 
« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 10:53:50 PM by LuminousWanderer »

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2018, 01:03:07 PM »

SNIP
For that reason, my view is that Julie Mugford should stay where she belongs - in the past - and Julie Smerchanski should be left alone. 


According to NGB on Blue (a non-practising barrister) there's some mileage in undermining her testimony on the basis she entered into an agreement with NOTW to sell her story prior to the trial.  Evidence of this has apparently come to light since the 2002 appeal.  I think NGB is saying this could provide a "powerful" appeal point but would not be sufficient for a referral to CCRC.  Apart from this I agree with you. 

It seems JB's and JM's examination in chief and cross-examination haven't survived so we have no idea of how the jury might have treated her testimony.  According to former CCRC commissioner and solicitor, Ewan Smith, who at one time represented JB, the trial judge warned jurors about the reliability of JM's testimony.  He went on to say, words to the effect, the silencer/blood evidence underpins JB's conviction. 

I find a lot of the Jeremy supporters, particularly the females, become very emotional and irrational about JM's testimony.   

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2018, 01:12:43 PM »
Re my last para the following might give some idea.  Cringeworthy IMO:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JuiXtdq51Bg


Offline Caroline

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2018, 01:19:19 PM »
Julie Mugford's evidence was extremely important and was not 'hearsay' (as you have indicated elsewhere). Julie's account was first-hand evidence and presented to the court under oath.

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 01:22:26 PM »
Julie Mugford's evidence was extremely important and was not 'hearsay' (as you have indicated elsewhere). Julie's account was first-hand evidence and presented to the court under oath.

I take it this thread has just been moderated in order for it to appear on the board? It wasn't here a few minutes ago?

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Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2018, 01:26:56 PM »
Re my last para the following might give some idea.  Cringeworthy IMO:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JuiXtdq51Bg

I take it by cringeworthy you mean the way in which the author has interpreted her findings and presented them in the video?
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Offline Stephanie

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Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2018, 01:39:21 PM »
Something that is baffling me about this case is the relevance of Julie Mugford.

Bear in mind here that I am discussing relevance in the context of an application to the CCRC, not in the context of a criminal jury trial.  Bamber stands convicted.  The trial is over.  That train has left the station.  This is about relevancy qua Bamber's legal prognosis as a criminal appellant.

In that regard, the only evidence helpful to Bamber is evidence that undermines the murder conviction.  It may be emotionally-satisfying and cathartic for him to go after a certain schools administrator in Manitoba, but it might not help him overturn his conviction.

Obviously I'm no expert on this case and at all times I am happy to be corrected on the facts and who said what in court, etc., but my own understanding about her evidence is that she said the following (here I am deliberately putting things in very general terms, to aid clarity):

(i). Bamber told her he wanted to kill his family.

(ii). Bamber told her he was going to kill his family.

(iii). Bamber told her he was planning to kill his family.

(iv). Bamber told her how he would kill his family.

(v). She assisted Bamber in an abortive/inchoate plot to kill his family.

(vi). Bamber told her he was about to kill his family.

(vii). Bamber rang her and told her something was happening at the Farm.

(viii). Bamber told her that he had killed his family, contracting-out the act to a known criminal.

(ix). The person Bamber named in fact had not carried out this act.

For the purposes of this thread, we will lean on the side of conservatism and accept the former Julie Mugford's evidence at face value.  That being the case, we will assume that she was, more or less, telling the truth at trial. 

On the basis of that working assumption, my view is that:

(a). none of the above facts involve or amount to a murder confession;

(b). none of the above facts prove that Bamber killed his family; and,

(c). while the above facts are of some relevance to a criminal trial as an indicator of Bamber's character and his attitude to his family, none of the facts mentioned could have assisted a hypothetical reasonable jury in determining whether Bamber had killed his family.

No doubt in discussions in this thread, the focus will be on point (viii) above.  Certainly I accept that point (viii) above does not assist Bamber's defence and would be of grave concern to the police and to a jury, but I am clear in my mind that it is not a confession.  First, it's hearsay, which means that even if we assume she was a truthful witness, we can't adduce her evidence and assess its reliability in the same way we could other types of evidence.  Second, the basis of the evidence is wrong or false, a fact that in itself demands an explanation.  Again, assuming that the former Miss Mugford was a truthful witness, it's as plausible that Bamber was just an idiotic and callous young man who disliked his adoptive parents and was privately glad and relieved they were dead and wanted to show off in front of his girlfriend.  Or maybe he was just joking about having hired a hitman?  The reality is that people say strange and upsetting things in these situations, and often show inappropriate emotions, especially if they are emotionally-stunted or haven't learned how to act in a normative manner.

I can speak slightly from personal experience, and what follows is just to illustrate the point.  My father passed away during a period I was spending in prison.  I was aware he was ill and was one morning called to see the prison chaplain, who then broke the news to me.  For me, the passing of my father was very difficult to bear because I was never close to him, indeed I had a very poor relationship with him.  That does tend to make it worse.  In my case, when the chaplain told me, my initial response was numbness and then I started to smile and laugh a bit, then I realised consciously that that was not appropriate, then I started to get genuinely upset, and a minute later I was crying - the first time I had done so in years.  I know that's not the same thing as the situation with Jeremy, but if Jeremy was chuckling or showing-off to Julie, that could have been a defence mechanism or explained by his emotionally-inert psyche.  Or it could be that he just was relieved that his parents were gone.  Or maybe he was wryly referring his girlfriend to his fulfilled anticipation of problems with Sheila?  Or maybe he really did do it and he is a mass murderer?  I can't say one way or the other, I just offer some possible explanations, based on general life experience.

But the main point is, I question the relevance of Mugford's evidence.  There is no confession here from Jeremy.  There is no proof of a confession, only hearsay about a factually-wrong claim that he had had his parents killed.  I would go so far as to say that, in all the circumstances, her evidence should not have been heard, but we are where we are.  It was heard, and that being the case, it's now a double-edged sword: on the one hand, despite having no probative value at trial, it was still evidence that may have persuasively helped the jury to convict Jeremy; on the other hand, it's now no longer of relevance because undermining it can't help undermine the murder conviction itself.  Even if it can be showed that Julie Mugford lied about some minor transactional fact and has, in a technical sense, perverted the course of justice, that doesn't disturb Jeremy's conviction (and, just speculation, but I doubt the Canadian authorities will be happy to extradite her after all this time).

In other words: if we took Julie Mugford's evidence out of the picture, that would not help Jeremy on the main cause, regardless of the reason; and, conversely, if Julie Mugford' evidence was the only point standing against Jeremy, his convictions would be quashed anyway.

For that reason, my view is that Julie Mugford should stay where she belongs - in the past - and Julie Smerchanski should be left alone.

http://miscarriageofjustice.co/index.php?topic=8523.msg455331#msg455331
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 02:06:36 PM by Stephanie »
"When flying monkeys come calling, just click your ruby slippers together and remember that even narcs can be defeated once you know the truth"

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2018, 03:02:02 PM »
Julie Mugford's evidence was extremely important and was not 'hearsay' (as you have indicated elsewhere). Julie's account was first-hand evidence and presented to the court under oath.

I think it is considered hearsay?  Ie she was relaying what she claims JB told her.  It wasn't something she had direct evidence of unlike say the OCP break-in where she acted as a lookout. 

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2018, 03:09:24 PM »
I think it is considered hearsay?  Ie she was relaying what she claims JB told her.  It wasn't something she had direct evidence of unlike say the OCP break-in where she acted as a lookout.

But hearsay evidence in criminal trials is complex Holly. Take a look at the Omar Benguit case.
"When flying monkeys come calling, just click your ruby slippers together and remember that even narcs can be defeated once you know the truth"

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2018, 03:10:01 PM »
I take it by cringeworthy you mean the way in which the author has interpreted her findings and presented them in the video?

Yes.  And all the stuff about JM being lower class than JB and stabbing? a teddy bear!   




Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 03:16:05 PM »
Yes.  And all the stuff about JM being lower class than JB and stabbing? a teddy bear!

Yes. It shows immense ignorance and indeed bias. But on reflection, have you never done anything that would appear irrational and out of character to outsiders? I have

I didn't actually re watch the video - just clicked on the link and clicked off again after about 5 seconds

I should add that it also shows how Bambers victims have put him on a pedastal - he's better than her sort of thing. Which tells us more about them than anything imo
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 03:21:34 PM by Stephanie »
"When flying monkeys come calling, just click your ruby slippers together and remember that even narcs can be defeated once you know the truth"

Offline LuminousWanderer

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2018, 03:32:36 PM »
Thank you for the various responses.

Caroline may be right actually that Mugford's testimony was NOT hearsay.

But that doesn't change my point about the probative value of her evidence at trial and the relevance of her evidence now.  I do stand by what I have said.

I actually doubt Mrs Smerchanski could be convicted of perverting the course of justice - there are too many hurdles - but even if she were, I simply don't see how that would undermine the conviction.  I am looking at this objectively, I have no axe to grind.

Of course, we must also take into account that even appellate judges look at these cases with some element of bias and 'greyzone' thinking, and it may well be that if Mugford's evidence is undermined, then moral pressure will be brought to bear to quash Bamber's conviction.  I appreciate that what happens in the courts isn't always strictly in accordance with evidence. 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 03:35:31 PM by LuminousWanderer »

Offline Holly Goodhead

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2018, 03:35:17 PM »
But hearsay evidence in criminal trials is complex Holly. Take a look at the Omar Benguit case.

Yes it seems that way.

Had she provided testimony unknown to others which was then corroborated this would surely make her testimony more compelling?  Eg had she said JB told me he was able to leave the window he exited locked by using a piece of string which he threw in an outside bin and this was subsequently found containing his DNA and microscopic particles of brass and paint from the window this might make for more compelling evidence.  Or had the police wired her up to record JB discussing the murders which she said he did post event then this would nail him.  As it stands it seems her testimony is based on hearsay evidence which seems to originate from police and relatives' theories and press reports. 

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2018, 03:49:14 PM »
Yes it seems that way.

Had she provided testimony unknown to others which was then corroborated this would surely make her testimony more compelling?  Eg had she said JB told me he was able to leave the window he exited locked by using a piece of string which he threw in an outside bin and this was subsequently found containing his DNA and microscopic particles of brass and paint from the window this might make for more compelling evidence. 

I think she did well to remember all she did. I imagine her head was scrambled.
"When flying monkeys come calling, just click your ruby slippers together and remember that even narcs can be defeated once you know the truth"