Joe Karam could not stop the tears today after he listened to the man he championed for 16 years speak at the International Justice Conference in Perth.
Bain spoke for about 40 minutes at the Innocence Project-organised conference today and was followed by Karam who needed time to regain his composure.
The former All Black, known for his nuggetty personality, told the 150 delegates after a 20 second silence he needed a moment to gain his composure.
"When David told you I promised him every year I would have him out for Christmas...I'm surprised I'm crying...to see him standing up there ..a proud and emotional moment for me.''
"When they didn't want to hear the message I had that he was innocent they decided to attack the messenger and I was the messenger.''
Karam told the delegates about his upbringing and schooling including the fact his mother was the dux of her high school.
He met Bain when he was 43 and was now 60, he said. He had been through five commissioners of police and about six ministers of justice.
The science in the Bain case was even worse than anything heard of in the conference so far, he said.
Bain, he said, had two spots of blood on the sole of his sock and a little smear of blood on the back of his T-shirt.
"It was the Police case this blood got there during David fighting and overpowering his brother. I looked at it and thought if I had white socks on and I've got a guy with (wounds) sending blood to every corner of this room and I'm fighting that person, I'm going to get two spots of blood on the sole of one sock and not one single drop on the top of either of them.. it was a joke.''
"David was acquitted but certain sections of the media have with prejudice, bias, vitriol attacked those acquittals and still to this day accuse him of being guilty when he has been through the full process of the law and being acquitted.
''I just published this last book but the media don't refer to the content of the book. All they say is, of-course Joe would say that. He is a friend of David Bain and I am.''
At a press conference after the speech, Karam stopped Bain from answering a question about how he reconciled his affection for his father and the accusation his father was the killer.
Bain said of course he was angry with the system. His job throughout his time in jail was maintaining control and surviving while Karam's job was to work on the outside.
He said no rift existed between his father and himself before the killings.
He said he had gained a lot from the stories of others wrongly accused at the conference.
In his earlier speech, Bain told the audience one of the most painful things in his family's murder was knowing his sister had sought his help before she was killed.
In his first public speech since his trial in 1995, when he defended charges of murdering his parents and three siblings in Dunedin, the 39-year-old, who admitted to being very nervous, said he wanted to tell the audience a "little story''.
He spoke warmly of his parents and his siblings saying he was so busy with his fantastic life at the time (1994) he was unaware of the malevolent undercurrent in his home life.
"This could have been the one thing that could have changed the outcome,'' he said.
He was referring to finding out in later years his sister Laniet, 18, had come to find him at university shortly before she was killed to seek his help.
Bain was acquitted by a Christchurch jury in 2009 after a 58-day retrial ordered by the Privy Council in 2007.
Bain, dressed in a conservative dark suit, told the conference in a sometimes tearful voice, that any peace in his life was taken away when he returned from his paper run on June 20, 1994, and found his family - one by one - dead.
He spoke of an idyllic childhood in Papua New Guinea and spoke warmly of his father whom he described as a natural leader. He was a man who could handle any situation and he would be forever grateful to him for making him the man he was today, Bain said.
After returning from PNG he became very good friends with his mother, who was his confidante, especially about problems he was having at school.
His first trial was a nightmare and still haunted him, he said.
He had thought he would be exonerated and had believed the justice system was there to make things right but it betrayed him.
The system could not restore what had been stolen, he said.
In prison he was just another statistic and was overwhelmed by depression.
Only those who had been to prison knew what life in jail was like. He had gone to the hardest wing in Paparua Prison and his first day was one of the scariest moments of his life.
He had to make some alliances and a little informal group of lifers had got together and some of them remained friends. Bain said he never adjusted to life in jail, continually battling depression.
He became more depressed as legal avenues failed but after a visit from Rubin Hurricane Carter in 2001 he found an element of peace.
Every life had stress but life was easy compared to cooking for hardened criminals and then working in the jail's medical wing where he was offered "cash or the bash'', he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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