Bain 'too poor' to pay for court

04:22, Apr 11 2013
David Bain

Lawyers for David Bain say the Crown is trying to force them out of court by moving proceedings to Wellington, which they cannot afford.

Bain's case against Justice Minister Judith Collin's handling of his bid for compensation was back in the High Court at Auckland today.

Bain is seeking a judicial review into the way  Collins treated  a favourable report from former Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie about his case.

His claim against the minister includes allegations that Collins breached Bain's rights to natural justice and his rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, acted in bad faith, abused her power, and acted in a biased, unreasonable and predetermined manner.

Lawyers for both Bain and the Crown are arguing over where proceedings should be held. The Crown wants to move the case to Wellington while Bain's camp wants it to stay in Auckland.

Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed QC, said Bain did not have much money and was solely relying on friends - such as his long time supporter Joe Karam - to pay for the judicial review.

He said, however, that Bain's team were struggling to find the money to proceed with the review. "We are close if not already at a situation where we are being forced out of this case. We asked the Crown to leave matters in Auckland for that reason," Reed said.

Those costs would only increase - due to travel and accommodation expenses - if the case was held in Wellington, Reed said.

He asked if the Crown were only wanting to move the case to be vindictive.

Crown lawyer Kristy McDonald QC said Bain's financial circumstances were not the responsibility of the Crown and were irrelevant to the court's decision.

She said the documents filed in relation to Bain's financial circumstances were light on detail and it was "disingenuous" to expect the court to find Bain impecunious from that information.

"Despite the high profile nature of this case Mr Bain is not special," McDonald said. She said it was Bain's choice to bring the review and he should not receive special treatment.

The lawyers are also arguing about whether the fact that Binnie's interview with Bain is relevant to the location of the hearing.

Bain spent 13 years in prison for the 1994 murders of his parents, two sisters and a brother. He was later acquitted at a retrial.

Bain has applied for compensation for wrongful imprisonment, a decision at the discretion of Cabinet.

Binnie's report, released last year, found that on the balance of probabilities Bain was innocent of the murders and was wrongfully imprisoned.

Collins had the report peer reviewed by former New Zealand High Court judge Robert Fisher, who found inaccuracies in it. The claim has been frozen while the judicial review is under way.

Justice Patrick Keane has reserved his decision on today's hearing