Author Topic: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?  (Read 948 times)

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Offline LuminousWanderer

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2018, 05:31:17 PM »
I thought you said you had a good understanding of the different types of evidence?

I don't follow.  I've said it is possible it might not be hearsay evidence - it depends on how you want to construe it.  For the purposes of this issue, I'm perfectly happy to assume it's not hearsay.  So let's assume that.  It doesn't change my point one iota.  The issue is relevancy.  Julie Mugford's evidence is irrelevant.  Even the individual on the Blue Forum you referred to earlier admits that tacitly when he says you need other grounds for appeal.  Well if you need other grounds for appeal, then that means Julie Mugford isn't relevant, if you stop and think about it. 

Of course, in reality, it may be that undermining Julie Mugford's evidence gives Bamber's case moral force and the judges may just decide that they have to quash the conviction anyway, even though the evidentiary position doesn't justify that.  But again, my point stands.  At the least, a barrister advising Bamber would surely warn him of the dangers of using weak arguments to prop up an appeal.  You could be left in a situation where the conviction looks stronger, not weaker.

My view (admittedly as a layman) is that a good appeal should be focused on the strongest points.

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2018, 05:53:18 PM »
What makes you think this?

It's my opinion Holly based on how I perceive the 2 cases

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Offline Holly Goodhead

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2018, 05:55:01 PM »
I don't follow.  I've said it is possible it might not be hearsay evidence - it depends on how you want to construe it.  For the purposes of this issue, I'm perfectly happy to assume it's not hearsay.  So let's assume that.  It doesn't change my point one iota.  The issue is relevancy.  Julie Mugford's evidence is irrelevant.  Even the individual on the Blue Forum you referred to earlier admits that tacitly when he says you need other grounds for appeal.  Well if you need other grounds for appeal, then that means Julie Mugford isn't relevant, if you stop and think about it. 

Of course, in reality, it may be that undermining Julie Mugford's evidence gives Bamber's case moral force and the judges may just decide that they have to quash the conviction anyway, even though the evidentiary position doesn't justify that.  But again, my point stands.  At the least, a barrister advising Bamber would surely warn him of the dangers of using weak arguments to prop up an appeal.  You could be left in a situation where the conviction looks stronger, not weaker.

My view (admittedly as a layman) is that a good appeal should be focused on the strongest points.

Yes I agree.  My view as a laywoman is that the points raised at 2002 appeal were on a hiding to nothing.  I believe I have 9 rock solid points with 3 or 4 potentially good points.
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Offline Holly Goodhead

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #33 on: April 04, 2018, 05:57:51 PM »
It's my opinion Holly based on how I perceive the 2 cases

Fair enough.

It would be interesting to go back and look at press coverage of the case and subsequent appeals. 
Justice for Sheila and Jeremy. Victims of poorly arranged baby scoop era adoptions. Australia has apologised. Time for the UK to do the same?  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hVbokTpYeg http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2012-13/92

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #34 on: April 04, 2018, 06:07:48 PM »
Fair enough.

It would be interesting to go back and look at press coverage of the case and subsequent appeals.

That's a good starting point. Though if possible I'd start with the case papers, trial transcripts, witness statements etc. I'd look at the news coverage after.
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Offline LuminousWanderer

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #35 on: April 04, 2018, 06:19:51 PM »
No, it's not - I used to think the same until someone posted a definition on the blue forum - here is some info on it.

https://www.inbrief.co.uk/court-proceedings/hearsay-evidence-in-criminal-cases/

I understand what hearsay is in the context of English criminal proceedings: e.g. Mr. Smith testifies that Professor Plumb told him that Mrs Green had confessed to the murder of Colonel Mustard.

The reason I think (viii) is hearsay is down to the following points:

- the evidence consisted of relating a conversation Jeremy had with somebody else in which the third party claimed to have carried out the murders; and,
- it was a pseudo-confession of murder, as it is accepted there was no actual murder as described.  Therefore in strict terms, it doesn't rise above the level of somebody relaying to the jury a disproved hypothesis or failed theory.

Possibly this falls down on the fact that McDonald did give evidence at trial - it would depend on what he actually said - but it doesn't matter anyway, as I maintain that her evidence is irrelevant now.  For me, the point about Mugford's evidence is that it was used for the rather surreptitious purpose of moral force and persuasion, not to actually prove Jeremy had killed anybody.

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #36 on: April 04, 2018, 06:33:57 PM »
I understand what hearsay is in the context of English criminal proceedings: e.g. Mr. Smith testifies that Professor Plumb told him that Mrs Green had confessed to the murder of Colonel Mustard.

The reason I think (viii) is hearsay is down to the following points:

- the evidence consisted of relating a conversation Jeremy had with somebody else in which the third party claimed to have carried out the murders; and,
- it was a pseudo-confession of murder, as it is accepted there was no actual murder as described.  Therefore in strict terms, it doesn't rise above the level of somebody relaying to the jury a disproved hypothesis or failed theory.

Possibly this falls down on the fact that McDonald did give evidence at trial - it would depend on what he actually said - but it doesn't matter anyway, as I maintain that her evidence is irrelevant now.  For me, the point about Mugford's evidence is that it was used for the rather surreptitious purpose of moral force and persuasion, not to actually prove Jeremy had killed anybody.

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

Have you considered he may have told her more than what she disclosed to the police?
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 06:36:47 PM by Stephanie »
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Offline Angelo222

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #37 on: April 04, 2018, 06:46:42 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.

You seem to have grasped the case extremely well.  I agree with most of your observations including your assertion that what transpired did not amount to a confession.  However, that is where it ends.  I disagree totally with your assertion that Julie Mugford's evidence should not have been heard.  She was Jeremy Bamber's partner up to and including the time of the murders, she was privy to his activities, his thoughts and his actions.  She was therefore a material witness for the prosecution and a key one at that.

It has been suggested many times that Julie invented the entire story in order to get back at Jeremy for dumping her but that claim does not have any ring of truth about it.  Julie was caught out participating in a cheque fraud so had much to lose by lying.  Had she been prosecuted she could have lost her university place and ended up on the scrapheap. The police offered her the chance to make amends and she took it.  Anyone who thinks that she could invent a 30 page statement of lies is surely deluded, she would have been caught out instantly.  I think we can be pretty sure that Julie wasn't going to take any chances with her career and told the police everything she knew about Bamber. She was reported to have been an extremely confident witness during the trial and could not be challenged by defence counsel.

Taking Julie Mugford's evidence at its highest reveals a young man unhappy about his lot.  He resented having been adopted, he was bullied at school and often teased by his adoptive older sister.  He got a taste of freedom in New Zealand but was unable to support himself there, he had to run back to mummy for more funds. When he returned home to the farm things only got worse, he hated his family, he knew that his meagre inheritance could very well be diluted between his sister and her twin sons, his relationship with his father had deteriorated.  He told Julie Mugford that it was now or never, the ideal opportunity presented itself while Sheila and the twins were staying at the farmhouse.

I can't see any way that Bamber could possibly be innocent, I don't believe in coincidences.

« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 06:56:39 PM by Angelo222 »
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Offline APRIL

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #38 on: April 04, 2018, 06:52:30 PM »
(viii). "Bamber told her that he had killed his family, contracting-out the act to a known criminal"

Have you considered he may have told her more than what she disclosed to the police?

I'm reasonably convinced that he did, Steph. (If) it's true that he told her she'd be found guilty as an accomplice?  I think she'd have wanted to get her version in first and I imagine it may have been somewhat sanitized. She probably thought it was time to save her own bacon.

Offline Angelo222

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #39 on: April 04, 2018, 06:59:41 PM »
I don't follow.  I've said it is possible it might not be hearsay evidence - it depends on how you want to construe it.  For the purposes of this issue, I'm perfectly happy to assume it's not hearsay.  So let's assume that.  It doesn't change my point one iota.  The issue is relevancy.  Julie Mugford's evidence is irrelevant.  Even the individual on the Blue Forum you referred to earlier admits that tacitly when he says you need other grounds for appeal.  Well if you need other grounds for appeal, then that means Julie Mugford isn't relevant, if you stop and think about it. 

Of course, in reality, it may be that undermining Julie Mugford's evidence gives Bamber's case moral force and the judges may just decide that they have to quash the conviction anyway, even though the evidentiary position doesn't justify that.  But again, my point stands.  At the least, a barrister advising Bamber would surely warn him of the dangers of using weak arguments to prop up an appeal.  You could be left in a situation where the conviction looks stronger, not weaker.

My view (admittedly as a layman) is that a good appeal should be focused on the strongest points.

There are no stronger points, just Scotch mist.  Bamber did it or facilitated someone else to do it, either way he is guilty as hell!!

Julie's statement might contain some hearsay remarks but her trial testimony would have been restricted to non hearsay evidence.  It was partly on that evidence that Bamber was convicted. 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 07:17:22 PM by Angelo222 »
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Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #40 on: April 04, 2018, 07:18:26 PM »
I'm reasonably convinced that he did, Steph. (If) it's true that he told her she'd be found guilty as an accomplice?  I think she'd have wanted to get her version in first and I imagine it may have been somewhat sanitized. She probably thought it was time to save her own bacon.

I know we are speculating April but he is one evil b......../beast and I feel sorry for all those people who are playing catch up/in denial (incidentally I don't believe all his supporters are in denial).

If I had any doubts, I would express them. I have none! I've looked at this case from every angle possible as I know many of you have. All I see is a cold blooded murderer, quite clearly without conscience who has run out of options and who chances his luck with any poor sod who will give him the time of day.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 07:22:11 PM by Stephanie »
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Offline APRIL

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #41 on: April 04, 2018, 07:29:44 PM »
I know we are speculating April but he is one evil b......../beast and I feel sorry for all those people who are playing catch up/in denial (incidentally I don't believe all his supporters are in denial).

If I had any doubts, I would express them. I have none! I've looked at this case from every angle possible as I know many of you have. All I see is a cold blooded murderer, quite clearly without conscience who has run out of options and who chances his luck with any poor sod who will give him the time of day.

I'm certain that some of those who claim him innocent -if their views on Julie are anything to go by- are looking at him through emotional eyes. I can't help but feel if he'd been middle aged, poor and plain, several mightn't be clamouring for his release in the same way.

Offline Stephanie

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Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #42 on: April 04, 2018, 07:41:40 PM »
I'm certain that some of those who claim him innocent -if their views on Julie are anything to go by- are looking at him through emotional eyes. I can't help but feel if he'd been middle aged, poor and plain, several mightn't be clamouring for his release in the same way.

As I've said before, his supporters should put their money where their mouth is and petition Bamber to have a brain scan and allow someone like Prof Fallon to give his expert opinion.
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Offline Angelo222

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #43 on: April 04, 2018, 07:42:47 PM »
I'm certain that some of those who claim him innocent -if their views on Julie are anything to go by- are looking at him through emotional eyes. I can't help but feel if he'd been middle aged, poor and plain, several mightn't be clamouring for his release in the same way.

He shot two defenceless young boys in the head, can one think of a more callous monstrous thing to do?  Julie is most definitely not an irrelevance.  She came back to testify at his appeal hearing some years back and that takes guts.  She obviously has no doubts whatsoever as to his guilt.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 07:46:57 PM by Angelo222 »
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Offline APRIL

Re: What is the relevance of Julie Mugford?
« Reply #44 on: April 04, 2018, 07:54:36 PM »
He shot two defenceless young boys in the head, can one think of a more callous monstrous thing to do?  Julie is most definitely not an irrelevance.  She came back to testify at his appeal hearing some years back and that takes guts.  She obviously has no doubts whatsoever as to his guilt.

Actually, it's been questioned. Her use of the word "believe" -as in "I still believe he's guilty"- quoted as proof she wasn't certain. It's been claimed she'd have said she KNEW he was guilty if she'd been certain. Her evidence has been torn apart more than his.