Guilty finding on charge over murder cover-up

Trinette Wilton is not ready to say whether justice has finally been done for her daughter Azalia Wilson, who was murdered in December 2019.

Patricia Samson
Patricia Samson
She will hold off on commenting about that until after Patricia Samson is sentenced on September 24.

Yesterday, Samson was found guilty of attempting to defeat the course of justice on November 17, 2019, for her part in trying to cover up her son’s involvement in the murder of Ms Wilson.

Samson (53) is the mother of Samuel Samson, who was found guilty of murdering Ms Wilson at a trial in March this year.

When the jury returned the verdict Ms Wilson’s family clapped in the gallery. They clapped again when the jury were dismissed and left the courtroom.

Outside the court in Invercargill, Ms Wilson’s family hugged and shook the hands of police officers involved in the case.

Mrs Wilton said it was a good result.

‘‘I can’t say I wasn’t nervous because I wasn’t sure about this one [court case].

‘‘It was another quick verdict. That’s so awesome.’’

Justice Gerald Nation, in his summing up of the case yesterday, told jurors it was not necessary to prove that Samson had put any items in the vehicle or thrown any into the river or that she had even asked her son what had happened that night.

“Proof of lawful blindness will be sufficient to prove knowledge,’’ he said.

If someone deliberately shut their eyes to the obvious or refrained from inquiring because they think they know what the answer may be, it could also be proof of wilful knowledge.

Justice Nation referred to Crown counsel Mike Brownlie’s opening, in which he stated the items were put in her car and she and her son Samuel had travelled to Fosbender Park where the items were disposed of.

Just by driving him there, the Crown said, she was assisting in the removal of items from the scene of the crime, Justice Nation summarised.

Crown solicitor Riki Donnelly told jurors in his closing that they had to decide what Samson knew when she drove her son to Fosbender Park.

‘‘Why did she think she was going there in the middle of the night with Kiara [Ms Wilson’s and Samuel Samson’s daughter], her son and items in the boot?

‘‘What did she think about leaving Azalia?

“What did she know at that time?’’

In his closing, defence counsel David Slater said jurors would not have to go further than the first part of law that needed to be proved, that Samson was knowlingly and actively involved in removing items from the motel and discarding them in Fosbender Park.

He reiterated that it was not unusual for Samson to pick up her son in the early hours of the morning, to collect her baby granddaughter and her son without knowing what Ms Wilson was doing, that she did not know Ms Wilson had been assaulted or murdered, or why she was driving her son to Fosbender Park in the early hours.

She had put Kiara in the car but had not put in, or taken out, anything else, he said.

‘‘There was no way you could possibly conclude that Patricia Samson was involved in any way of disposing of those items into the Oreti River.”

The fact Samson had been stopped by police later that day and still had items which could be thought of as evidence, showed she had no knowledge of what had occurred.

Samson was remanded on bail to appear for sentence on September 24.

Justice Nation said her remand on bail was no indication of her sentence.

Details of a third person who was charged in relation to Ms Wilson’s murder continue to be suppressed until Samson’s sentencing in September.


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