Should David Bain have been awarded compensation?
No compensation will be paid to David Bain, Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced.
The decision is on the basis that the report by Ian Callinan, QC, a retired judge of the High Court of Australia, found that Mr Bain has not established his innocence on the balance of probabilities.
“However,” Ms Adams says in a statement, “the Crown recognises that the compensation application process has lasted nearly six and a half years and that this has been an incredibly difficult and complicated case for all involved. Reaching this point has taken longer than anyone would have wanted it to.
“In addition, since receiving Mr Callinan’s final report it has become evident that Mr Bain and his advisors didn’t accept Mr Callinan’s findings. They made it absolutely clear that they intended to legally challenge that report, leading to considerable further cost and delay in this matter.
“While the Crown is confident in the strength of its position in any such review, it’s clearly desirable to bring finality to this case and avoid the cost and uncertainty of further proceedings.
“In my view, no one benefits from this matter continuing to drag on. In light of that, the Crown has agreed to make an ex gratia payment of $925,000 in recognition of the time involved and expenses incurred by Mr Bain during the compensation process, and the desirability of avoiding further litigation.”
According to Ms Adams, Mr Bain has accepted the payment as full and final settlement of all matters.
Mr Bain spent 13 years in jail after being convicted in 1995 of the murder of five family members in Dunedin.
He was bailed in 2007 after his convictions were quashed by the Privy Council, which found his first trial was a miscarriage of justice.
Mr Bain’s bid for compensation began in 2010.
Retired Canadian judge Justice Ian Binnie produced an independent report on his case that concluded Mr Bain was innocent “on the balance of probabilities” and recommended that he be given financial redress for his decade-plus of imprisonment after being found guilty of the 1994 murder of his parents and three siblings.
Mr Bain was acquitted at retrial in 2009.
However, Justice Binnie’s findings were questioned by then-Justice Minister Judith Collin, who ordered a review of the report by then High Court Judge Robert Fisher.
Justice Fisher decided it would be “unsafe” to act upon the Binnie report.
Mr Bain filed for a judicial review of Ms Collins’ decision three years ago.
In March last year, new Justice Minister Amy Adams appointed Mr Callinan to conduct a new inquiry into Mr Bain’s compensation suit.
Earlier this year details of Mr Callinan’s confidential report – including that Mr Bain had not been found to meet the beyond reasonable doubt threshold on Mr Bain’s compensation were leaked.
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