David Bain should get nothing

David Bain is pushing hard for compensation.

He should get nothing.

David Bain’s legal team has been in confidential discussions with the Minister of Justice over his bid for compensation.

A judicial settlement conference was held at the High Court at Auckland today in relation to the redress Mr Bain is seeking after spending 13 years behind bars for the murder of his family in 1995. Mr Bain was later acquitted at a retrial.

The meeting between Mr Bain’s legal team, including Michael Reed QC and former All Black Joe Karam, and lawyers representing Justice Minister Amy Adams, was held ‘in chambers’, meaning media could not report on proceedings.

Media were also barred from sitting in on the conference, held before Justice John Faire.   

Mr Bain’s representatives remained tight-lipped after the meeting, declining to comment on what happened or reveal anything that was discussed.

Long-time Bain supporter Mr Karam said: “Judicial settlement conferences, by their nature, are completely confidential, so apart from saying I was there, I can’t say anything else.”

Mr Reed QC, confirmed the meeting was “completely private”, and he was “not permitted to say anything”.

The compensation bid has hit a number of obstacles since Mr Bain first asked for redress from the Government in 2010.

If he gets anything more than $1 it will be a travesty .

All that has been proved is that if you put on a performance for a jury years after the event and mount a very public campaign to undermine justice you can actually convince 12 fools.

Amy Adams needs to stay strong on this…if she caves it will cost her politically…in a major way.


– NZ Herald


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  • John1234

    I will be absolutely disgusted if he gets one cent.
    In order to get compensation one needs to show that on the balance of probabilities that one is innocent. On the contrary, IMHO, the evidence strongly suggests the exact opposite.

    • Jonat

      And yet many other people think he’s innocent, so what to do? I personally think he didn’t do it, simply because I think he lacked the motive. He’s at least proven that he isn’t guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

      • Gaynor

        It doesn’t really matter what Bain groupies think ..if there is not 100% proof that he is innocent then he gets zilch.

        • Hoju

          Isn’t that what Labour wanted in rape cases – if you can’t prove you are innocent then you are guilty? Anyway David Bain’s father did it. I am 100% sure.

          • Justsayn

            I’m not saying you’re wrong Hoju, but you sound like an avid follower of the thing so can you explain the innocent camp’s theory on two things for me…

            Why is it said that his Dad wanted to spare David?

            If his Dad wanted to spare David, why not do something easy to remove any doubt about David’s role in it – even something simple like handwrite and sign the suicide note instead of the cloak and dagger stuff with the computer?

          • Huia

            Why would he spare the family loser and kill the daughters he was so proud of, one being an exceptional student and her younger brother shining in his own way.

          • Huia

            A daughter dosent go to an abuser father for protection, she goes to her father for protection from the abuser.

      • John1234

        Does it not make you wonder why Robin had no sign of struggle (younger brother Stephen fought back) and no blood on him yet David had bruises and broken glasses and washed his clothes?
        Do you wonder how Robin somehow shot himself (at a very unlikely angle) without leaving his fingerprints on the rifle?
        Do you wonder why Robin would have gone to lengths to hide evidence yet for some reason would frame himself with the message on the computer?
        Do you wonder … etc etc etc

        There really is no chance that Robin did it.

      • Monito

        Look at David Bain he does not even look like a killer – he did not have motive but in my opinion his father sure did he had lived like a filthy hermit away from the family, I understand that he interfered with the girls and had become estranged from his wife. I accept that he would have done away with them all because his mind was gone. What worries me is the inheritance that the relatives helped themselves to that rightly belongs to David Bain.

        • D.Dave

          There is no evidence at all that Robin Bain ‘interfered with his daughter(s). This was hearsay evidence introduced by the defence to discredit an old man who, being DEAD, could not refute the claim. Likewise , the girls, being DEAD could not confirm it. How convenient for the defence. NO COMPO……

    • Justsayn

      If I had to decide which of David or his father did it on the basis of what I now know I’d guess it was David. I have never quite understood why his father might kill the rest of them but not David, and while doing so make an apparent effort to frame David for the murders.

      Having said that, I have nothing against paying him a token amount to put it to bed.

  • “12 fools” best description of that jury I have seen.

    • wooted

      Twelve fools not clever enough to get out of jury duty.

  • Annoyed

    My understanding is that compensation requires proof of innocence, rather than absence of proof of guilt. Surely it’s a cut and dry case for no compensation?

    • Justsayn

      You are right, but it only needs to be “proven” on the balance of probabilities… that he is more likely than not to be innocent… 51/49 and he’s in (pretending that anyone could calculate it a mathematical way like that).

    • digby

      Surely compensation requires proof or Crown wrongdoings. Even if he is actually innocent he should not get anything.

  • johnbronkhorst

    I have
    always been of sufficient doubt that he killed his whole family, evidence of
    the foot prints, glasses etc..BUT less so that he killed his father after he came home, I don’t think this scenario was looked into ……NO compo from me too.

    Not guilty does not equal innocence.

  • Why am I beginning to get the feeling that the decision on whether or not Bain gets taxpayer money is going to be made on the sniff of the voting wind rather than the merits of the case?

  • GoingRight

    I agree with much of your thoughts Cam but on this I believe he should get compensation and allow him to get on with his life. Can any of us be 100% sure of his guilt and he has already spent his entire youth paying for something he may not have done.

    • Gaynor

      We have to be 100% sure of his innocence before he can get any money.A big NO from me.

    • FreeMack

      I am sure

      • John1234

        And I am even more sure that Robin Bain could not possibly have done it.
        Even the defense acknowledge it was either David or Robin.

  • 1951

    If I had spent all those years inside, just having fresh air would be compensation enough. Is it David or Karam pushing this?

  • Not Clinically Insane

    Arthur Allan Thomas he is not…

  • STAG

    The man IS A MASS MURDERER, he should be in a cell not on the street!

    • Jonat

      Or… the man WAS WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED FOR 13 YEARS, he should get compensation, not get shamed again!

      • Huia

        5 dead and one walks away…..gee, I wonder who did it.
        The man blamed for the murders had no gun residue on his hands, no reason to kill his family, his body was shifted, he had some terrible accusations thrown at him with no proof or foundation to them, his reputation was destroyed without any just cause, rumor and innuendo were presented as fact, to commit suicide he would have had to be a contortionist, no blood on Robin, (some on David though), his footprint would have been too small to have left the bloody tracks and so on and so forth.
        However this plays out, I do not think for one minute David Bain should get compensation, getting out of prison should be enough for him as the obvious doubts about his story are just too much to ignore.
        To hear your sister gurgling and not help her? to “find” your family murdered then get changed and put the washing on and wait a length of time before dialing 111? to have your brothers blood on your underpants? unexplainable scratches and fight marks on your body?

        • botti

          Plus he apparently had described a similar scheme with the paper round, but it wasn’t admitted in evidence. 60 minutes covered it after he got out.

          The fact the dad had a full bladder was a bit of a red flag for me. Who gets up and does anything without going to the bathroom?

    • Monito

      And do you know that for a FACT were you there perhaps or is this merely your opinion?

  • digby

    He should only receive compensation if the Crown (or its agents) did something illegal or seriously wrong and misleading. He should not receive a cent otherwise.

  • kaykaybee

    He’s not proved his innocence – which is the standard required for compensation. As far as I can see he and his interested parties will get nothing.

    Surely Amy Adams will commit career suicide should she decide otherwise.

    • It’s not his innocence, but on the balance of probabilities. That’s a more interesting question. ‘Beyond a reasonable doubt’ is a harsh test (for a reason), but is he ‘innocent’ ‘on the balance of probabilities’? If a judge signs that off, God help us all.

  • Jonat

    If he has been found not guilty beyond reasonable doubt, then he must be presumed innocent. That’s how a good justice system functions. And if he’s not guilty, then he should receive compensation for being wrongfully imprisoned. I’d rather err on the side of innocence than guilt. Is it a worse outcome that a killer should be wrongfully compensated, or for an innocent man to not only get 13 years behind bars, but get publicly humiliated, and then NOT get a cent? To me the latter is far more tragic.

    • Second time around

      A jury must acquit if they are not convinced beyond reasonable doubt of guilt. “Reasonable” is the key word, and each jury can take whatever meaning it chooses. If the jury does its job properly, a significant proportion of people who are acquitted will have actually committed the offence for which they were charged- there is an intentional bias in our judicial system towards acquittal. Noone has yet tested whether Bain is “not guilty beyond reasonable doubt” as you suggest.

      • Huia

        This jury didn’t do their job properly though did they? dozing during the trial, baking a birthday cake for the accused, knitting and passing notes back and forth to each other. Not really a good jury with an open mind I would have to say. They had obviously bought into the media hype that was being put out from the Bain camp.

        • Punter

          I went to the trial for a few days. I can tell you some of the jury looked like they were a few sandwiches short in the picnic basket.

          I met one a few years later didn’t tell him I knew he was part of the jury but he was nuts with very little ‘common sense’

          • D.Dave

            I know one too. They were convinced of his ‘innocence’ as he had a marvelous aura………. Completely nuts. Guilty as charged, without a doubt.

  • HR

    Pretty sure he was not found “not guilty”, the convictions were set aside and there was a recommendation for another trial. Quite different from “Not guilty”, but thats what has been portrayed by the media and Bain supporters. There was no further trial as they deemed there was no point, as the case was so well know (thanks to Karam and co.) that neither side could get a fair unbiased outcome, and the fact that he had served 13 or so years. And the three previous trials where he was found guilty…
    Consider this in the evidence; a fairly elderly man (Robin Bain) plans to kill his entire family in the morning, yet sleeps soundly overnight. He rises, goes to the letterbox and collects the newspaper. Comes inside, shoots all of his family, apparently has a fight with Stephen Bain (yet has NO marks upon him, unlike David), finishes off the family, turns on the computer and writes a note. Then picks up the rifle, holding it a very odd angle which was almost impossible to replicate and shoots himself. This must have taken a wee while to achieve, and we are led to believe by the defence that this nearly 70 year old man did this all without emptying his bladder beforehand??? The autopsy showed that what his bladder contained was a normal overnight collection.

    Guilty, no compensation.

    • Justsayn

      There were only two trials not three (there were however some appeals from the first of them), and at the second trial he was found “not guilty”.

      Agree however that if you read the Privy Council decision that quashed the first trial’s guilty verdict they were far from saying he was not-guilty, merely that there were sufficient mistakes at trial to warrant doing it again. ( a copy is at http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0705/S00225.htm )

      • HR

        You are correct, my apologies. I fired it off in a hurry…point being there is huge doubt over his innocence.

        For anyone interested, check out http:/www.counterspin.co.nz

    • And, add to that, his crimes against fashion. That cardigan ….. Yeeech!

  • Geoff

    If anyone deserves compensation it is Peter Ellis, but he doesn’t have an ex All Black lobbying for him.

  • Andru

    I don’t know all the facts of this case, but if Justice Binnie thinks he is most likely innocent, then that is good enough for me.

    Binnie is a very smart, highly qualified man and he looked thoroughly at all the evidence. If I had to trust someone’s judgement in this matter, then it would be an independent guy like Binnie.

    • Second time around

      Actually a judge with little or no direct experience in criminal trials whose primary interest was in arbitration. Even a juror would have more sense than to ask for free copies of the Karam books so as to get some insight into the case as Binnie did. Collins was quite correct to have Binnie’s work reviewed, and Binnie should not have been so offended that she did.

    • Wheninrome

      A lot of judges are educated highly qualified people, they also sometimes have contrary views to each other, so who then is right.

    • Dex

      And yet one of our most eminent legal minds. Sir Thomas Thorpe studied the case as part of his work on miscarriages of justice in N.Z and found without doubt that David Bain was the killer.

  • Wheninrome

    Joe Karam is a bystander, he is not a qualified legal representative. Is he looking for more information to write another book on?

    • mommadog

      He is looking to get some of his money back and then another book after.

  • peterwn

    Reading between the lines, the judicial conference went nowhere apart from agreeing on the principal issue – whether the steps so far taken by the Justice Minister are amenable to judicial review. IMO they are not, just like the Royal Prerogative of Mercy is not open to judicial review, although criminal barristers are trying to get a judicial foot in the door on this one.
    I agree with Whale – no more than $1M, and that comes very close to being ‘political’ – to help ward off claims of arrogance.

    • John1234

      I do hope you meant to say $1 instead of $1M. But even that is unacceptable to me as it implies that he was proven innocent.

  • steve and monique

    Not Guilty= compensation. He was never found to be that, so No to compensation.

  • Catriona

    Oh, dear, now the ‘who dunnit debate’ will escalate. I’ve just read an article in the North & South on Arthur Thomas and guess what? The Police still think he did it.
    Now we know that’s a load of rubbish as in these cases, a lot of evidence gets conveniently left out.
    I’m not a legal expert, have not had the facts to assimilate, so, therefore, I have no opinion on the matter.

    • bart jackson

      Why is it a load of rubbish? The shell casings were planted yes. That means Arthur Allen Thomas shouldn’t have been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt on the evidence available …. doesn’t mean he didn’t do it. There are only a couple of genuinely wrongly convicted criminals, floating around at present being David Dougherty and Teina Pora, both proved innocent by DNA. Too many people get caught up in media hype and spin doctoring by crazies like Joe Karam. When you look dispassionately and logically at the facts of the cases it becomes quite clear. There is no doubt that David Bain did it, most probable that Scott Watson did it, and highly likely that Arthur Allen Thomas did it.

      • Catriona

        Go buy the latest North & South and read the article and then you might just pick up some very pertinent points in it.

        • Dex

          Read it. It’s an opinion piece devoid of fact by someone who ironically claims the Police are biased against Thomas while at the same time the author makes some spurious unfounded claims that it was Demler all along.

      • Catriona

        And, no, I am not caught up in the spin doctoring as you put it by Joe Karam. Read his books have you?

        • mommadog

          You mean his spin doctoring books?

  • botti

    Collins showed a lot of courage in sticking up to Karam & the media on this.

  • botti

    The person who should get compensation is Scott Watson. It’s unbelievable that guy is still in prison given the evidence clearly points to someone other than him.


    • bart jackson

      How do you explain the discovery of Olivias hair on Scott Watson’s boat then?

      • WestieBob

        The bit that did it for me was my understanding that the clothes Scott Watson was wearing New Years Eve have never been found. I am willing to be corrected on this

        • bart jackson

          Cant confirm that one. I do know Scott Watsons boat had been scrubbed clean with ammonia based chemicals so the hair caught in the hatch was the only forensic evidence left. Police suspected Watsons sister helped him clean the boat after the fact & that she was the Blonde woman seen on board by one witness after the murder was thought to have happened hence the confused timeline. Boat was missing a sail and anchor chain, probably used to wrap & weight the bodies.

      • botti

        If that is what was found when they initially examined the blanket I would accept it, but they didn’t.

        The problem to me is that the overall investigation appears to have focused on Watson despite the key witnesses identifying someone who looked very different and an entirely different looking boat! Sightings of that boat then appear to have been ignored as the investigation focussed purely on Watson. After 7 weeks they then obtained hairs from Hope’s bedroom, re-examined the blanket and found hairs. To me there’s significant doubt about that in terms of why the hairs were not found initially.

        David Garrett has some interesting comments about the head of the investigation too. http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2014/05/rae_on_watson_-_will_kill_again.html#comment-1319570

  • david

    I was sure DB did it until I read the Privy Council findings and that indeed raised doubts. He was then re-tried and found not guilty. If you are found not guilty, that should be the end of the matter, Collins was correctly following the process for compensation, but that process itself is unjust – it says guilty unless proven innocent. DB was not proven innocent. Whatever you think about this particular case, I do not think we should have a ‘compensation’ regime that can brand as guilty someone who the courts have found innocent.

    • bart jackson

      The Courts didnt find him innocent, they found him not guilty beyond reasonable doubt … big difference.
      All the privy council said was that some additional evidence should be heard, which is basically about the integrity of the process. When you read their decision in detail it is clear that they think he is still guilty. The compensation process is not unjust, it says he must prove his innocence to get compensation which is pretty straight forward to me. Our justice system is unjust when lawyers and clowns like karam can make all sorts of nonsense claims by way of defence, (and none of karams claims actually stand up to scrutiny) while the Police (rightly so) can only put forward factual evidence to a Jury. Karam carried out an orchestrated public campaign that was light on facts to colour public opinion & taint a gullible jury. The only injustice here is that Bain is out of prison.
      There are so many individual pieces of evidence that point to David. Nothing points to the cornerstone of the defence which is that Robin did it. If Robin did it, he committed suicide by holding the rifle at an almost impossible angle & then after killing himself he somehow managed to wipe all his fingerprints off the rifle… neat trick if he pulled it off just to point the finger at David. I just don’t get how many stupid people believe it was anyone other than David, it defies logic.

      • david

        I agree with you it certainly looked a cut and dried case. But I don’t think the Privy Council were stupid. Re-read paras 103 onward of their judgement. Basically they say (politely) that the juries (and thus the NZ public who were reading in the papers) were misled by the prosecution. More importantly their judgement accepts the possibility that Robin did it.

  • Punter

    From the information I have read on the case I believe he is guilty.

    I believe you should adopt the ‘Would you invite him over for a sleepover approach’. Would you?

    • mommadog

      No I wouldn’t and yes I believe he is guilty. I know there are arguments on both sides and I have listened to the other argument that he could not have done it and it is left wanting. Unless something really unexpected occurs I will go to my grave believing he did.

  • Damon Mudgway

    ‘Long-time Bain supporter Mr Karam said: “Judicial settlement conferences, by their nature, are completely confidential, so apart from saying I was there, I can’t say anything else.”’

    hmmmm…I’m going to go out on a limb and say there has been an offer of compensation. If Karam had been unsuccessful he would have been throwing his toys around, not remaining tight lipped.

  • Brian Cuthbert

    Anyone who looks at a photo of David Bain and sees the face of a mass murderer is sick in the head.

    • Goldfish

      In my humble opinion anybody who kills their family is “sick in the head”.

      And the definition of “naive” is someone who looks at a picture of someone and says “awww look at him, he would never kill anyone…”.

      I prefer to base my opinion on fact, not a photo of that person wearing a nice jersey.

  • damm good thrashing

    If he gets some money do you think he might buy a new jumper?

    • Punter

      Well he can certainly give up the paper run….

  • Goldfish

    Something that everyone seems to be missing is that sure he was found not guilty at the second trial, but there was a lot of evidence that could not be re-presented as it had been destroyed after the first trial.

    As a member of the voting public (and having served on juries), in my ever so humble opinion that does not make him eligible for compensation. I don’t care how many limp wristed liberal judges proffer their opinion that on the balance of odds he didn’t do it, there is too much evidence that says he did. This means he cannot conclusively prove his innocence.

    His only compensation should be the Woman’s Day stories he gets.