Bain defence closes: 'He is not a murderer'

Last updated 15:38 03/06/2009
CLOSING ARGUMENTS: Michael Reed during his closing address for the defence.
DAVID BAIN: Accused of murdering five members of his family.

Defence begins closing in Bain retrial

FULL ATTENTION: David Bain listens to closing arguments for the defence.

Relevant offers

"He is not a murderer."

David Bain's lead defence counsel Michael Reed, QC, has finished his closing address.

Reed said the Bain saga was "the most extraordinary case in New Zealand history, the one that is most vexed".

He closed with the words: "Put David out of his misery, return him to freedom with a not guilty verdict on all charges."

David Bain, 37, is charged with murdering the five members of his family at their Every St, Dunedin, home on June 20, 1994.

Bain, who maintains his innocence, says his father Robin killed the family and then himself while he was out on his morning paper run.

"The tragedy for David is, he still loves his father...but on that dreadful night, Robin did flip. Robin did kill the family," Reed said.


Reed spent the defence's closing afternoon picking out controversial points and showing where the Crown's case had fallen down.

The Crown case against David Bain was riddled with inconsistencies, he said.

"There's doubt everywhere you look."

The note left on the computer, "Sorry, you are the only one who deserved to stay", included a comma after Sorry and was intended for the rest of the message, Reed said.

It was more likely a meticulous computer buff like Robin Bain would have written like that than a young man like David.

A palm print of David Bain's found on the family washing machine was made when he was sorting the colours from the whites, Reed said.

The defence says Bain washed the clothes without knowing they were Robin's murder outfit.

The "gurgling" David Bain heard come from his murdered sister could have possibly been the sound of water gurgling in the washing machine, Reid said.

A washing machine mechanic had used almost exactly the same phrase as Bain to describe what he heard, he said.

The Crown says only the murderer could have heard the gurgling noise as she was still alive at the time.

Reid said the gurgling evidence was "shaky and dangerous".

The glasses lens that puts David Bain in his murdered brother Stephen's room was planted by a police officer, he said.

The rest of the glasses, minus the lens, was found next to David Bain in his room after the murders of his family.

Reed said there was doubt over the credibility of Milton Weir, the former police officer accused of planting the lens.

Ad Feedback

Weir admitted during the trial he had painted "Hang David Bain" on his house at a party celebrating one of Bain's unsuccessful appeals.

Weir's psychological report when he "perfed" (took early retirement for stress reasons from the police force) spoke of general mistrust in the police force and a feeling of being "scape-goated", Reed said.


Bain's defence maintained Robin killed the family because he feared his incestuous relationship with his daughter Laniet was about to be exposed.

Evidence had been given that Bain's father Robin had been having sex with Laniet in both Papua New Guinea and Dunedin and Laniet had been telling people in Dunedin about it.

Reed asked the jury to imagine what would have happened if Laniet had told her mother of the incest the night before the murders.

"There was a great risk for Robin," Reed said.

Robin Bain was a "reclusive sort of guy" who was suffering depression, Reed said.

He was "shabby and unkempt and had a strong body odour".

The local principals' association had set up a course for Robin because "they were so concerned about him".

His marriage was disintegrating and he lived in a van.

The few spots of blood on David Bain's clothes did not add up to multiple murders and a fight to the death with his younger brother, Reed said.

A heavily bloodied glove was found in Stephen's room.

No blood was found on David's hands but Robin had "what looked like blood" on his hands, Reed said.

The substance was never tested, though, and police destroyed samples before the Privy Council heard the case in 1996.

The court had heard a small cut found on the back of Robin Bain's hand was sustained in the 12 hours before his death, Reed said.

The "clear inference" the jury could draw was that it was sustained in murdering the family, possibly in a fight with Stephen Bain.

While Robin Bain was old "If the occasion demands and the adrenalin is running..."


Bloody footprints found in the Bain house belonged to Robin Bain and exonerated David, Reed said.

It was accepted the murderer made the prints but they were too small to belong to David Bain.

Robin was found dead without the bloody socks but that was because he went and got changed after the murders, Reed said.

Why Robin got changed was not known but he was irrational and suicidal at the time.

Suicidal people did strange things before they killed themselves, he said.

Reed said it had been proved during the trial that it was possible for someone to shoot themselves with the rifle used in the murders.

The theory that David Bain shot Robin as he kneeled to pray in the lounge was incorrect as the blood pattern on Robin's clothes precluded kneeling and the rifle had misfired once before the fatal shot.

Reed said it was inconceivable that Robin wouldn't have heard David replacing the bullet.


There was no evidence David Bain was a "homicidal maniac", Reed said.

He was "a kind man" who psychologists had judged to be "sane".

He had cried in the movie Schindler's List but this was normal, Reed said.

"How many people cried in Schindler's List?" he asked the jury.

"To have a cunning plan and do what the Crown says, requires something extraordinarily cold-blooded."

To kill his family, then have a nap, then kill his father and make it look like he did it, "requires a psychopath", Reed said.

It was more likely the culprit was Robin, an old man under great pressure who snapped, than young, cheery, "up-beat" David.

Reed later said Bain's distress after the murders of his family was genuine.

It had been suggested Bain was feigning distress when he rang emergency services and after they arrived.

Ambulance officers had testified Bain appeared to fake a fit when they got to the house.

"David simply fainted," Reed said.

It was a nonsense to suggest that someone should act in a particular way in such an unusual and stressful situation.

Evidence had been given that Bain looked to be in a "catatonic state" and was suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome, he said.

Reed earlier said the prosecution had performed "a huge u-turn".

The Crown's concentration on Stephen Bain's room was because their case was "in tatters".

"Look at all the confusion," he said.

He began the day by saying it was almost 15 years to the day since the murders.

He reminded the jury that Bain had spent 13 years in jail since his first conviction.

"His life has not been his own, now, for nearly 15 years."

- The Press

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content