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News (Media Awareness Project) - New Zealand: Fingerprints Fail To Convict Man
Title:New Zealand: Fingerprints Fail To Convict Man
Published On:2011-08-20
Source:Manawatu Evening Standard (New Zealand)
Fetched On:2011-08-23 06:01:50

Fingerprints found in a cannabis growing operation were not enough to
convict a man accused of cultivating cannabis.

A jury found William Arthur Davidson, 28, not guilty on the charge in
the Palmerston North Court yesterday.

Aaron Campbell previously admitted to growing the crop, after a police
search which found 407 plants in a Linton house last year.

A shotgun was also discovered at the Hewitts Rd address during the
drugs operation between April and August 2010.

Judge Les Atkins said defence lawyer Jacinda Younger argued that
Davidson's fingerprints were left at the address after he helped
Campbell move some items to the address.

"In other words, that those finger prints were placed on the items
when he had nothing to do with the offence itself and that he did not
know that the offence was being committed."

His prints were found on silver paper lining the walls, and on a white

Crown prosecutor Andrea Read had said Davidson's fingerprints found on
the silver paper lining in a growing room proved that he had been to
the address after helping move the gear in.

The jury was told that the prints were placed on the paper when
Davidson dropped the roll and it unravelled. The paper on the wall had
no damage to indicate it had been dropped previously.

Davidson and Campbell had been caught on CCTV together at a Caltex
service station the morning police had visited the address.

Defence lawyer Jacinda Younger said being seen together was "in no way

Judge Atkins said the jury, consisting of nine women and three men,
had to be sure that Davidson was involved and that the Crown had to
prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

"The law is that a person can be guilty of an offence by being a party
to an offence. You are not a party if you accidentally or
inadvertently help someone commit a crime."
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