Another Auckland house-builder has gone belly-up and its principals owing $190,000 have vanished. Nothing extraordinary about that but what is, is that they ever got credit in the first place. Why? Because the two vanishees were called Tracey and Sean Kelly.
Two points here. A decade back, hosting drinks with the commercial property managers of our three principal Banks, I gave them a lecture on prudence and specifically why they should never lend to developers. They took that aboard, so continuing the education I then asked would they ever lend to someone called Kevin?
“Of course I would,” one of my guests stoutly replied. “Well I bloody-well wouldn’t,” another quickly piped up whereupon the first immediately retracted, saying he wouldn’t either but didn’t like to say so.
This aint Einstein territory.
But what of Tracey? Well, the same applies. A few years ago the British Bar Society commissioned an independent study of the effect of names on juries. The most startling result, was, contrary to every other name in thousands of cases, no Tracey had ever been acquitted by a jury. Prejudice? Yes of course but prejudice means prejudgement, that is making profile-based calls on knowledge and personal experience and when it came to Tracey there was a uniform thumbs down jury response, despite any evidence of innocence. The upshot of this research was the removal of the right of a jury trial from nearly 200 different relatively minor offences, which in a sense is also naïve. After all, that assumes that British magistrates, who oddly, need not have any legal qualification, are immune from everyday prejudices. When it comes to Kevins and Traceys I very much doubt that.