Wednesday, July 23, 2008
She thought she was a Mrs - but was a Miss...
When a Wellington, New Zealand, couple decided to divorce, they received the shock of their lives - their marriage had never been recorded by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Births, Deaths and Marriages Department in the city.
In April 2008 the "husband" applied for a copy of his marriage certificate to enable him to initiate divorce proceedings. Instead of a written record, he received a letter that stated that no record of the marriage existed. He forwarded the letter to his "wife", who was stunned by the revelation, despite having the original copy from the celebrant.
A weeek later she was contacted by Internal Affairs who stated it had never received a copy of particulars of the marriage from the celebrant.
She is now taking legal advice to see if she can get the marriage annulled.
But under New Zealand law at least,non-registeration did not affect the actual validity of the marriage - the document had been signed by the celebrant and witnesses.
In point of law she should be able to prove the validity of the marriage and proceed to divorce proceedings. But for a short period of time she was concerned that she had never been legally "married".
Friday, July 11, 2008
The 1984 Wellington Trades Hall bombing - victim Ernie Abbott 'in the wrong place at the wrong time'...
There have been two unsolved murders in New Zealand during the last fifty years or so that have both interested and intrigued me. The first was the 1962 parcel bombing of barrister, James Patrick Ward, in Dunedin which I have posted about previously, and that of poor old Ernie Abbott the cleaner who was 'in the wrong place at the wrong time' when the bomb went off in the Wellington Trades Hall on March 27 1984.
1984 was of course the end of Robert David Muldoon, better or infamously known, depending on your political point of view, as Rob Muldoon - New Zealand prime minister and would be despot, who unwisely called an early election after a bout on the booze. That was his greatest achievement; subsequently he and his government were trounced in a landside by David Lange and his new government. That was another story!
Rob Muldoon was an anti - trade unionist and as I claimed earlier, a would be despot. His methods are now history and were enshrined by the next National Party government in 1990, led by his Labour Minister, Jim Bolger. The Employment Contracts Act of 1991 owed much to the thought processes of Robert Muldoon.
On the evening of March 27 1984 I recall there was a meeting of the old Federation of Labour, led at that time by veteran trade union leader, Jim Knox. There were a number of controversial figures in the FOL at that time, people despised by Rob Muldoon. Storemen and Packers Union leader, Phil Mansor recalled as much in his ensuing interviews.
Read the following press story:
On March 27, 1984 a green, ragged suitcase loaded with about a kilogram of an unknown explosive blew up, taking the life of cleaner Ernie Abbott.
The suitcase had sat untouched for seven hours in the foyer before it exploded, detonated by a mercury switch when it was moved.
Storemen and Packers Union secretary Phil Mansor recalled the explosion, when talking to the Dominion Post in 2004.
"It sounded like a clap of thunder hit the building.
"The whole building seemed to jump," he said.
The late Pat Kelly, close friend and Trades Council president at the time, described Mr Abbott as a real Vivian Street character when talking to the Dominion newspaper the day after the bombing.
"He liked everybody.
"He loved a pint and would chat to the young ladies around Trades Hall."
Intense speculation ensued about the bomber's motive for the attack.
The most popular theory at the time was that the bomb was directed against a particular union, activist or activists, or the union movement in general, although scant evidence was ever found.
Speaking at the time, then Wellington Coroner Andrew McGregor said that the bombing appeared to have political overtones, and that was "utterly abhorrent" to all New Zealanders.
"Another fact that makes it so appalling is that Mr Abbott was an innocent victim," he said.
A $25,000 reward - then the largest ever put up in New Zealand - was offered for information that led to the capture of those responsible for the bombing. This was doubled to $50,000 in 1985.
The case remains unsolved.
Ernie Abbott rest in peace. What goes around comes around!
"UNSOLVED CRIMES IN NEW ZEALAND"
There have been two unsolved crimes in New Zealand in the last 50 years that have interested and intrigued me. The 'Wellington Trades Hall bombing' in the 1980's, and the 'Parcel Bomb murder' of Dunedin barrister James Patrick Ward in 1962 (below). Mr Ward's office was, rather ironicly, in the Security Building in the CBD area of Dunedin. Police were mystified about markings on a piece of wood used to make the box that contained the bomb. By memory, I recall newspaper reports suggesting they could have been part of a black stencil marking on that particular piece of wood. But what was it? It could provide the answer towards discovering his killer.
I lived in Dunedin briefly from 1964-65. There was definately an active criminal underworld in that city, which included New Zealand's most well known after -hours liquor trading, considering New Zealand still had six o'clock closing of hotel bars at that time. I still remember a number of infamous hotels and well known celebrities connected with boxing in Dunedin at the time. But how was Mr Ward connected with the Dunedin criminal fraternity to the point of losing his life? Was Mr Ward actually too successful in defending the city's lawbreakers?
The Ward Parcel-bomb Murder, 1962:
At 9 a.m. on 5 February 1962 James Patrick Ward a well-known Dunedin barrister, received a parcel in his office. A few minutes later the building was shaken by an explosion. Ward was rushed to the Dominican Tertiary Hospital, where he died six hours later. Although the police, in the course of their investigations, established the method by which death was inflicted, they were unable to discover any motive for the crime or to gather sufficient evidence to justify an arrest. From an examination of the debris in Ward's office, the police found that the parcel had been posted in Dunedin during the preceding weekend. It contained a roughly made wooden box in which were two torch batteries, a pull-through switch, an electric detonator, a quantity of explosive, electrical wiring, and pieces of tin. Apparently the opening of the parcel completed an electrical circuit which detonated the explosive.
An incident similar to the Ward case occurred in 1937 when a bomb was thrown at R. A. Singer, an Auckland lawyer. The Singer case has never been solved.
by Ronald Jones, Journalist and Script Writer, New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation, Wellington.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Television and Radio Sport presenter, Tony Veitch, has been suspended from Radio Sport because of his public revelations that he attacked and assaulted his former partner and put her in a wheelchair for months.
Veitch made the revelation and apology on television news yesterday. Police and ACC will be making their seperate investigations as well. Veitch also made a $100,000 payout to his former partner as well. Time is running out for Tony Veitch!