Arthur Allan Thomas in Christchurch to support Bain

19:31, Mar 05 2009
ARTHUR ALLAN THOMAS: In Christchurch to support David Bain during his retrial.

New Zealand's most famous innocent man has added his name to those supporting David Bain at his retrial.

Arthur Allan Thomas, 71, landed in Christchurch yesterday, preparing to support Bain when his retrial begins on Friday.

Thomas will offer him the wisdom he gathered while successfully fighting his wrongful conviction for the 1970 double murder of Waikato farming couple Harvey and Jeanette Crewe, for which he spent nine years in jail.

Thomas said he contacted Bain and his chief supporter, Joe Karam, after the Privy Council quashed Bain's conviction for the 1995 murder of his family.

The pair met and spent time on Karam's Auckland property.

"He's a brilliant guy. He's got a good sense of humour a really likeable guy," Thomas said of Bain.


Thomas said he had "concerns" about the jury selection process.

"I'm worried about it," he said.

There have been calls for rarely used pre-trial examinations of jurors to sort out those who have prior knowledge of the case.

Thomas was not worried what effect his presence would have on the trial.

"Maybe it'll give the jurors something to think about; make them think very carefully."

The outcome of a stay of proceedings application should be known today, but Thomas said the trial should not proceed. He called it a waste of "millions of dollars of taxpayers' money".

He also expressed concern about the scrapping of the Privy Council, saying judges in New Zealand were too tight-knit, and independent arbiters were needed.

Thomas spent nine years in jail in the 1970s but was freed and issued a royal pardon after a Royal Commission of Inquiry found that police had planted evidence used to convict him.

The Crewes were killed with a rifle and Thomas became a suspect after police tested rifles of the Crewes' farming neighbours.

Five months after the murders, a search of the Crewe family garden found a bullet case that appeared to have come from Thomas's rifle.

He was found guilty in one trial in 1971 and convicted again when a retrial was ordered on appeal.

The 1980 Royal Commission of Inquiry into the case found that two detectives had planted the cartridge and Thomas had been wrongly convicted.

He was freed and received compensation for the years he spent in jail.

The Press