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David Bain denied compensation

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/08/2016

David Bain © Getty Images David Bain

David Bain's bid for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment has been rejected, but he will still get nearly $1 million to recognise the time it's taken to deal with his claim and to avoid any further legal action over it.

Justice Minister Amy Adams on Tuesday announced that the former Australian judge tasked with considering Mr Bain's case, Ian Callinan QC, had concluded that Mr Bain hadn't established his innocence on the balance of probabilities - the threshold that must be met to receive compensation.

However, Ms Adams acknowledged that the process for assessing the compensation claim - which was lodged in 2010 - has been difficult and it's taken longer than anyone would have wanted it to.

She also said that Mr Bain's legal team made it clear they intended to challenge Mr Callinan's findings in court, which would have led to further costs and delays.

"In my view, no one benefits from this matter continuing to drag on and continued litigation would see more and more money spent in an effort to reach finality," Ms Adams said.

As such, the government has agreed to make an ex-gratia payment of $925,000 to Mr Bain in recognition of the time involved and expenses incurred by him during the compensation process.

"Mr Bain has accepted this payment in full and final settlement of all matters," Ms Adams said.

"This resolution is a pragmatic one that recognises the unique circumstances of this case and a desire on all sides to bring this matter to a close."

Despite that, Mr Bain told reporters Ms Adams, Mr Callinan and former justice minister Judith Collins and others have all got it wrong.

"The fact of the matter is I am innocent and there's nothing else that I have to say."

Mr Bain spent 13 years in prison for the 1994 murders of five of his family members before his original convictions were quashed by the Privy Council in 2007.

He was acquitted of all five counts of murder at his retrial in 2009.

Mr Callinan was appointed last March to provide the government with fresh advice about whether Mr Bain should be compensated for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

Mr Callinan's report, which was finalised in January this year, followed two earlier controversial reviews of the compensation claim - which cost the taxpayer about $600,000.

One report that found that Mr Bain was probably innocent and should be compensated was subsequently deemed "fundamentally flawed" by a peer review.


* June 1994 - Five members of the Bain family found shot dead at their Dunedin home. David Bain charged with murder four days later

* 1995 - Bain convicted on five counts of murder following a trial in the High Court at Dunedin and jailed for at least 16 years

* 2007 - Privy Council concludes a substantial miscarriage of justice occurred. Convictions quashed and retrial ordered

* 2009 - Bain acquitted on all five counts of murder following a three-month trial

* 2012 - Canadian judge Ian Binnie concludes Bain innocent on the balance of probabilities, recommends compensation. A peer review says errors made it unsafe

* 2015 - Cabinet agrees to new inquiry on Bain's compensation claim. Former Australian High Court judge Ian Callinan QC appointed to look into the claim

* August 2016 - Government declines Bain compensation because he is not "innocent beyond reasonable doubt". A $925,000 payment is made because it has dragged on so long - and the government doesn't want further legal action.


Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced that David Bain's bid for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment has been rejected.


Retired Australian judge Ian Callinan QC was tasked with assessing Bain's claim. In his report he concluded that Bain had not proved, on the balance of probabilities, that he was innocent. That threshold must be met before compensation is considered.

WHAT IS THE PAYMENT BAIN IS GETTING? Cabinet has agreed to make an ex-gratia payment of $925,000 to Bain to recognise the time it's taken to consider the compensation claim, the expenses incurred and to avoid further legal action. Adams has emphasised that this payment isn't compensation.

HAS THE PAYMENT BEEN ACCEPTED? Yes - Bain has accepted the payment and agreed to forgo any legal action against the Crown and related parties over his prosecution, convictions, imprisonment, and application for compensation.


Bain has told reporters he is innocent and that Adams, Callinan and former Justice Minister Judith Collins have all got it wrong.


Bain lodged his claim for compensation back in March 2010. The first report on the case, by Canadian judge Ian Binnie, was finished in 2012 and it recommended compensation. However, a subsequent peer review of that report deemed it was unsafe. Bain and his legal team launched legal action against Collins. The judicial review proceedings were eventually dropped in early 2015 when Adams agreed to set aside the previous two reports and get a fresh report. Callinan finished his report in January and his findings have been released on Tuesday - almost six-and-a-half years after the claim was lodged.

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