Photo ID parade ‘manifestly unjust’
Convicted wife killer Rob Packham has based his SCA application to appeal his conviction on the police’s ‘manifestly unjust’ national photo identification system, which he charges is ‘startling in its application’, says a report on The Citizen site.
Taking aim at the evidence of state witnesses Paul Gray and Keanan Thomas – who testified they had seen Packham on the day he was found to have murdered his wife Gill – he argued in court papers this was one of the many instances in which evidence ‘palpably unreliable or in conflict with the authoritative prescripts of the law’ was found to have probative value in the case against him.
Gray and Thomas had identified Packham during a photo ID parade. Packham, in his papers, argued the process was ‘significantly flawed’ and characterised by a number of material irregularities.
Case law recognised such parades’ significant shortcomings and stated a live line-up was preferred, he pointed out.
‘No compelling reason was furnished by the investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer Sonnenberg, as to why a live line-up was not held. His evidence was that it had not been convenient to find people who matched my description.’
Packham also took issue that the parade was not held at the earliest possible opportunity and there was a significant delay of some seven weeks before it was held. Widespread publication of photos of him after his arrest and before the photo ID parade could also have undermined the reliability of the process, he argued.
The two witnesses had also travelled together to the Hout Bay police station for the parade and had been in each other’s company and discussed the matter, which he said constituted a ‘significant irregularity’.
According to the parade’s paperwork, it took Gray 22 minutes to identify Packham.
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