Free Bain struggles to find employment

BY TIM HUME
Last updated 05:00 18/04/2010

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Ten months after his acquittal on charges of murdering his family, David Bain has no money and is struggling to find work.

Bain recently applied for a job at a surfboard-bag manufacturing company in West Auckland, near his Kumeu home, but missed out.

Joe Karam, the former All Black who campaigned for Bain's innocence, said Bain did not want to speak about his employment situation.

After his convictions were quashed by the Privy Council in 2007, Bain had worked part-time for a mobile coffee business run by Karam's son. He was also undertaking training in computer-assisted design.

Last month he applied for compensation from the government for the 13 years he spent in prison since his parents and three siblings were killed. His lawyer, Michael Reed QC, said at the time that Bain was likely to apply for legal aid to finance his compensation bid, as he was "penniless".

Following his acquittal last year, Bain undertook a three-month European holiday paid for by his supporters. He earned some money through the sale of a series of stories to a women's magazine, estimated to be worth tens of thousands.

Auckland defence lawyer Peter Williams QC said Bain would be suffering from the stigma experienced by ex-prisoners re-entering the workplace. "There's obviously a very strong prejudice against people who can say their recent CV was inside prison," he said.

But Williams said there were many examples of people who had served prison sentences and gone on to success – Canterbury University sociology professor Greg Newbold among them.

"It's not insufferable," he said. "I think you've just got to show a backbone and grittiness and stay in there and eventually you'll get there. Many people in society are sympathetic and are willing to assist."

But Bain has suffered the effects of being on the wrong side of public sympathy since his release, with one online petition aimed at denying him compensation attracting more than 1000 signatures. Other online campaigns simply protest his acquittal.

Williams said, however, he had met Bain, who had struck him as "a person who impresses". "He's modest, very polite. If he keeps trying and does whatever's right, eventually the doors will open. He's never committed an offence. Let's face it, he's innocent."

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