David Bain compensation: The story so far

Justice Minister Amy Adams' announcement that Cabinet will resume consideration of David Bain's compensation claim is the latest development in his nearly five-year long quest for recompense for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

But the Bain saga began 21 years ago, on the morning of June 20, 1994, in Dunedin when David Bain called 111 in a distressed state and told the operator: "They're all dead, they're all dead."

Four days later, Mr Bain, then aged 22, was charged with the murder of all five members of his family - his parents Robin and Maragret Bain, sisters Arawa and Laniet, and brother Stephen at the family home.

After a jury trial, Mr Bain was convicted in 1995 of the murders. He was acquitted at a retrial in 2009 after spending 13 years in prison.

In 2007, The Privy Council quashed Mr Bain's convictions and ordered the retrial, finding a substantial miscarriage of justice had occurred in the case. The ruling came after Mr Bain's legal team laid out arguments as to why his convictions should be quashed. These included claims that David Bain's father, Robin, had been depressed, which might have driven him to carry out the killings.

Following his acquittal at retrial, David Bain lodged an application for compensation in March 2010.

The following year, former Justice Minister Simon Power asked retired Canadian Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie to examine the application. After a year-long investigation Mr Binnie concluded that Dunedin's police had made "egregious errors" and that there were "numerous instances" of investigative ineptitude that led directly to the wrongful conviction of Mr Bain.

However, then-Justice Minister Judith Collins ordered a peer review by a former High Court judge, Robert Fisher. He concluded that Mr Binnie "went beyond his mandate" and "it would be unsafe to act upon the Binnie report."

Mr Bain filed a claim in the High Court in January 2013, seeking a review of Ms Collins' actions. The claim alleged Ms Collins breached natural justice and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, "acted in bad faith, abused her power, and acted in a biased, unreasonable and predetermined manner".

In February that year, at Mr Bain's request, the Cabinet put consideration of his application for compensation on hold, pending the judicial review proceedings he had filed.

Ms Collins resigned in August last year in the midst of the furore over the Dirty Politics saga and late last year Mr Bain's legal team had confidential discussions with the new Minister of Justice, Amy Adams, about compensation.

Ms Adams today confirmed that judicial review proceedings undertaken by Mr Bain have been discontinued by him.

"With the matter resolved, Cabinet can now resume its consideration of Mr Bain's claim for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment," says Ms Adams.

She says there will be a further announcement regarding the consideration of the application "in due course".

The issue of whether David Bain should be compensated is back before Cabinet. Source: 1 NEWS


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