Grove Road: The trial

From Newshub comes a new investigative podcast, Grove Road.

This is the story of the murder of Arthur Easton and the arrest of Alan Hall, a man with no alibi or answers.

But it's also a story about our system of justice - the power and trust we give to police and prosecutors… and their ability to find the truth.

Episode five looks at Alan Hall’s murder trial, and what led the jury to make their difficult decision.

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Alan Hall had admitted to once having possession of the two pieces of crucial evidence in the murder of Arthur Easton: the bayonet and the hat, both found at the murder scene.

He also had no firm alibi for the time of the killing.

But there was no forensic evidence conclusively linking him to the crime scene, such as fingerprints, footprints, fibres or traces of blood.

The two eyewitnesses – Brendan and Kim Easton – had also told different descriptions of the killer when they had called 111.

Nevertheless, Alan was arrested for the murder of Arthur Easton on 2 April, 1986.

Peter Williams QC was Alan’s defence lawyer. His job was to convince the jury of 12 who were selected to decide Alan’s fate when his murder trial opened at the Auckland High Court on 15 September, 1986.

Alan’s defence pointed out the lack of forensic evidence at the murder scene, and that he had no motive to commit the crime. Alan also had no marks on him the day after the killing.

Justice Prichard said the jury’s decision would come down to whether it was reasonably possible that somebody took the hat and bayonet belonging to Alan to the murder scene, because if it were, he must be innocent.

The jury didn’t buy it, however, and Alan was found guilty of murder and was sentenced to life in prison.

But one crucial piece of information had been kept from the jury: a witness had described a man running from the scene as Maori.

Grove Road was created in partnership with Newshub Nation, which is made with help from NZ On Air.

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