Govt ministers get insight into David Bain's comp bid

David Bain
Judith Collins

Justice minister Judith Collins has updated her cabinet colleagues on David Bain’s application for compensation.

Cabinet ministers met in Wellington today for the first time this year.

Ms Collins says a decision on the next step has yet to be made.

“As Mr Bain’s application falls outside the cabinet guidelines, Mr Bain has no entitlement to compensation. Any decision regarding compensation is entirely at cabinet’s discretion.”

Last month Ms Collins released the report by ex-Canadian judge Ian Binnie, which concluded "it is more likely than not" that Mr Bain is "factually innocent”.

Justice Binnie also said Mr Bain should receive compensation for the wrongful 1995 conviction for the murders of his Dunedin family.

But that report was criticised by Ms Collins and Robert Fisher QC, who was hired to carry out a peer review into Justice Binnie’s report.

Mr Fisher said Justice Binnie went beyond his mandate.

“He did not have authority to express any conclusion on the question whether there were extraordinary circumstances such that compensation would be in the interests of justice," he wrote in his peer review. 

"Nor was he invited to make any recommendation as to whether compensation should be paid. Those errors have been compounded by the publicity given to conclusions on matters which ought to have been for cabinet alone to decide.” 

Ms Collins says when cabinet does make a decision on the compensation claim there will another announcement regarding the process and timeframe for consideration.

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9 Comments & Questions

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In other countries he could just sue for wrongful incarceration. Why in New Zealand does he have to beg for the mercy of Cabinet?

So, the New Zealand government decided to spend $400,000 (more by now with Fisher QC involved) to decide what to do. Nobody thought of just ex gratia giving Mr Bain the $400k in the first instance, without any admission of fault?

Justices Binnie and Fisher may make more off this saga than Mr Bain, and that is just plain sad.


Give him nothing.


Give him a dollar and tell him to be nice to his Mum.


This should be kicked as far into the long grass as is humanly possible.

Mr Bain deserves no compensation. The retrial was a farce. The jury had been softened up by a relentless media campaign and couldn't wait to acquit and get to the bar for a drink with Joe.

It was New Zealand's OJ moment.


David, me thinks you are about to find out there is no compensation. Yes, nothing! The gravy train is over for you too, Joe.


The govt should just pay up and stop dodging their responsibility.


No need for further reviews. Just say no. The truth stares you in the face once you look at the case. The chain of improbabilities stretches credulity all the way to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

We should be demanding our money back from him.


The problem is that he was eventually found not guilty. No matter how much this seems unlikely to some of us, it's not exactly a good precedent for a government to be effectively second-guessing its justice system.


Yes, the legal system failed again. How much longer are we going to put up with this anachronistic and costly circus? People going without and tricksters living the high life?

A trial lasting three months is a cock-up. What is done about it? Shrug of the shoulders! What other organisation or profession could get away with this nonsense?

The matter is no longer within the justice system. Compensation is political and the decision is made by politicians. They should make it, not throw more money at dunces and witch doctors.

If the minister wants to understand what happened. Get a few scientists to explain it and explain the odds it was David Bain.

A campaign of poisonous rumour and denial of reality is a circumstance that requires an exceptional response.

Collins is a pillar among pillocks.


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