Laws and Karam lock horns over Bain killings

HEAD-TO-HEAD ON AIR: Joe Karam and Michael Laws in the Radio Live studios in Auckland yesterday. Mr Karam is demonstrating how he believes Robin Bain killed himself.
HEAD-TO-HEAD ON AIR: Joe Karam and Michael Laws in the Radio Live studios in Auckland yesterday. Mr Karam is demonstrating how he believes Robin Bain killed himself.

David Bain campaigner Joe Karam and broadcaster Michael Laws have gone head-to-head in a live radio debate over who killed the Bain family – Robin or David.

David Bain was convicted in 1995 of murdering his parents, Robin and Margaret, and siblings Laniet, Arawa and Stephen in their Dunedin home. At a retrial in the High Court at Christchurch last year he was found not guilty of the killings.

David Bain's defence team argued that Robin Bain had shot the other four family members before turning the gun on himself, with the motive being his incestuous relationship with daughter Laniet.

In TV1's The Investigator Special: The Case Against Robin Bain, which was shown last month, documentary maker Bryan Bruce called into question some of the evidence given by defence witnesses.

While Mr Laws was discussing the documentary on his talk-back show on Radio Live the next morning, Mr Karam phoned in and invited him to a debate on the topic. Mr Karam joined Mr Laws in a two-hour debate yesterday morning.

Mr Laws said the topic was still particularly relevant because David Bain was seeking compensation from the Government for his imprisonment.

"The reality is we both agree there are only two potential killers, David or Robin," Mr Laws said. "Yet there is no evidence, at all, which points to Robin Bain being the killer of the Bain family.

"There are at least 20 ... empirical, forensic pieces of evidences which clearly earmark David as the killer."

Mr Karam said there was little need for him to be on the radio show as he had stated a decade ago in a book on the topic that "no jury in the world will ever convict David Bain again on the true evidence as it is now known".

"I've been proven correct."

He had made the decision to have an on-air debate with Mr Laws because he was "sick to the teeth" of commentary on the case.

"It's as though certain sections of New Zealand society ... are sort of clinging to some fiction of the 90s."

He described media who had followed the court case as "myth perpetrators".

Mr Laws cited pieces of evidence he said proved Robin wasn't the killer. The contorted position he would have to have assumed to shoot himself and the fact he did not leave any fingerprints whatsoever on the gun were unfeasible, he said.

The defence team's decision not to have David Bain testify during his trial was also questionable, Mr Laws said.

"One of the things which still sticks in the consciousness of most New Zealanders is David not defending himself.

"Because the last time and the first time he went on the stand for the first trial he effectively incriminated himself under cross-examination.

"When you look at all the evidence, incomplete as it might be, it only points in one direction, Robin Bain did not murder the Bain family."

In reply Mr Karam said all of Mr Laws' reasons for why David Bain was guilty had been "completely debunked" at last year's trial.

After 15 years of police investigation, a three-month trial and a five-hour closing address, the Crown had been unable to offer a reasonable explanation as to why David killed Robin, Mr Karam said.

"Did Robin Bain commit suicide? He most certainly did."

The Dominion Post