19 Mar 2015

Lundy trial: witness accused of being dishonest

6:13 am on 19 March 2015

A lawyer has accused a man of being prepared to put Mark Lundy in jail for the rest of his life in return for a comfortable time in jail himself.

Mark Lundy week four 18/03/15

Mark Lundy in court this morning. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr Lundy, 56, denies murdering Christine and Amber Lundy, whose bodies were found in their Palmerston North home on 30 August 2000; the Crown claims Mr Lundy killed his 38-year-old wife for her insurance money and his seven-year-old daughter because she saw what he was doing to her mother.

Key points from Day 27:

A man known as Witness X, who has name suppression, told the court he was in jail in 2002 when he met a man called Mark.

That man told him he was there because his daughter had "seen what he was doing to his wife".

"He told me that he'd been planning this for a while and she had it coming to her."

Witness X, who has an extensive criminal history, told the court he was giving evidence because it was the right thing to do for Mrs Lundy and Amber.

But defence lawyer Ross Burns accused him of being prepared to put another man in prison for the rest of his life in order for him to have a comfortable time next time he went to prison.

Witness X had first contacted police about the conversation in 2013, after seeing a news item that the Privy Council had granted Mr Lundy a retrial.

He wrote a letter with the information with the intention of giving it to a judge in the hope of getting bail on a charge he was facing.

The letter said he had the "smoking gun of all smoking guns" and talks about a "cold-blooded murderer who has been released".

He gave the letter to his lawyer, who advised him it was not the right time for it if he wanted to be considered a credible witness.

Witness X asked her to destroy the letter but she said she could not, the court was told.

Mr Burns said the letter was an offer to trade information that had seen the light of day for the first time in 12 or 13 years, "and that's why you made it up".

Witness X replied: "There's nothing made up.""

Asked whether he considered himself to be an honest man, Witness X said not in the past but that he was telling the truth yesterday.

"I've made some mistakes, everyone does. I'm just here to talk about the conversation I had with Mark Lundy."

But Mr Burns accused him of being manipulative, saying he had claimed his conversation with Mr Lundy occurred while Mr Lundy was awaiting a decision on his sentence appeal; in fact, the only chance Witness X had to see him was before Mr Lundy had been convicted, the lawyer said.

"Are you just being manipulative again. Has the booze affected your memory," Mr Burns asked, to which Witness X replied: "No, not at all."

*Clarification - For the avoidance of doubt, please note that Radio New Zealand reporter Sharon Lundy is no relation to Mark Lundy.