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article imageReview: Miami Justice — Unfortunately for Krishna Maharaj Special

By Alexander Baron     Jan 6, 2013 in Crime
Miami - Keep repeating a lie and it will eventually become the truth, right? Unfortunately, the criminal justice system doesn't work like that. Unfortunately for Krishna Maharaj, though not for justice.
This BBC documentary was on iplayer apparently until yesterday, Sunday, but appears to have been removed prematurely. Fortunately or otherwise it has now been uploaded to YouTube. If you are not au fait with the increasingly boring story of Krishna Maharaj, you will find a résumé of it here. Maharaj was sentenced to death in Florida for a double murder, a crime of which he was convicted on compelling evidence, notwithstanding the dubious character of the chief prosecution witness, Neville Butler.
In spite of all the claims raised herein about new evidence, including alibis, and the innuendo that Derrick Moo Young and his son Duane were murdered by some nebulous drug cartel or hitman, there is really nothing new here. The claim of six new alibi witnesses sounds impressive, but Paul Foot asserted he had more than double that for James Hanratty at the time he murdered the government scientist Michael Gregsten. More than three decades after Hanratty's execution, those witnesses, sincere though they may have been, sound unconvincing in view of the new forensic evidence, in particular Hanratty's semen in the underwear of Valerie Storie, whom he raped, shot and left for dead after executing her lover.
Michael Stone - the man fitted up by Kent Police for the Chillenden Murders - was arrested a year after the evil deed, and was unable to provide a meaningful alibi, although he knew he was nowhere near Chillenden. If Maharaj had been arrested in similar circumstances, one might have had some sympathy for him. Alas, he was arrested within hours, primarily due to Neville Butler, who might have considered himself lucky not to have been indicted on the same charges.
A screengrab of Neville Butler testifying at the murder trial of Krishna Maharaj.
A screengrab of Neville Butler testifying at the murder trial of Krishna Maharaj.
If Maharaj had indeed been thirty miles away at the time of the murders he would have told the police so, and would probably have spent two or three days in custody at most before being released on bond and finally cleared of any involvement. It is simply no good to adduce six or even sixty alibi witnesses years down the line, not in these circumstances.
At the end of the programme, its true inspiration makes a cameo appearance, he is of course none other than Clive Stafford Smith. Although he doesn't actually cite Herrera v Collins (1993) as he usually does, the Baron Münchhausen of Death Row does say yet again that according to the American legal system, his client's innocence is not relevant to his conviction. To which anyone with the slightest legal nous will surely reply: "What innocence might that be?"
More about Clive Stafford Smith, krishna maharaj, neville butler, Murder
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