I’ve been listening to “Serial” on podcast and it certainly reminds me of Burns and Rafay or, really, any wrongful conviction case. What I am seeing is that nothing is ever as simple as it seems. Adnan and Jay and their friends were serious stoners; I’m not surprised that memories are fuzzy. Drugs do add another element to the case that Ms Koenig never deals with. Also, outsiders to Adnan’s case who took a look at it, e.g. the University of Virginia team, felt, like Sarah Koenig, that there was not enough in the case to convict. The same problem exists with Sebastian and Atif. People jump to closure without considering all the elements. The prosecution provides a motive: Adnan was jealous and Atif and Sebastian were greedy; all else must follow. But look at the details. It is more likely (yet by no means certain either) that Adnan would have used strangulation to kill Hae. It’s the easiest way to kill someone with physical force. Think then of two eighteen year old boys from West Vancouver. Would bludgeoning be the method of choice? Could Sebastian have done such a thing or did he give details of the killing to satisfy the RCMP gangsters?
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating. If Sebastian had killed the Rafay family in that way then he had to be a psychopath. I would ask any neutral psychologist/psychiatrist if Sebastian Burns had the ‘ability’ to annihilate three people in that way. I don’t think a Canadian soldier in Iraq could do such a thing, even though they are trained to kill. Kill three innocent people, a man, a woman, a child with blunt force and blood spatter? But then the fanatics can kill in this way because their leaders make them believe they are meting out justice according to God’s will. Look at the instruments of torture used by the Spanish Inquisition. Consider the drownings of the supposed witches of Salem. Look at the beheadings, stonings, burnings that still occur around the world. Look at all the facts in any murder and see if the supposed killer fits the crime.
The ‘confession’ tapes manufactured by the RCMP are a highly edited attempt to cast Burns and Rafay in the most negative light. The final product ignores five months of denials.
Another important point of comparison is that neither Adnan nor Atif testified on his own behalf. While juries are told to ignore this, it never goes down well. They think that the person has something to hide. But, almost always, it’s not the decision of the defendant but his or her attorney. They might feel that the case is so hollow, that the greatest risk is for their client to make some error that might give the jury cause to believe their guilt. The jurors were negatively influenced by the defendant exercising a right. They might also feel that the defendant is his own worst enemy.
When Rafay was questioned by the police in the early stages of the investigation, he admitted to feeling revulsion for his own sister. (See Veronica Freitas’ opening remarks in the trial, attached below.) Would someone who just participated in the murder of his own family and supposedly did everything in his power to cover up this participation admit to having such negative feelings toward his sister? Or was Rafay trying to be scrupulously honest because he knew he had nothing to do with the crime? People talk to the police without a lawyer because they think the truth will protect them. The right to have a lawyer during questioning is there for the very reason that the truth does NOT protect the individual. The police are simply trying to construct a narrative and when they stumble upon such honesty, they take advantage of it.