David Bain not guilty

David Bain has been found not guilty on all five counts of murder and is free to go home.

The jury in New Zealand's most sensational trial has found David Bain not guilty of murdering his family 15 years ago after five hours and 50 minutes of deliberations.

Outside court an emotional David Bain thanked his supporters, particularly Joe Karam.

"Without Joe and his solid strength ... I wouldn't have made it through this far," Bain said.

"Joe's been there through everything for me".

The seven women and five men returned to the High Court in Christchurch about 4.45pm and delivered the not guilty verdict on all five murder charges.

Cheering from the gallery greeted the verdict.

Karam said the truth had, "finally fallen where it has always been". He went on to blame "various authorities" for allowing the case to drag on so many years.

The trial would go down as the “criminal trial of New Zealand’s history”, Karam said.

VICTORY: David Bain and Joe Karam outside court after today's not guilty verdicts
VICTORY: David Bain and Joe Karam outside court after today's not guilty verdicts

“What has really mattered is the truth - as I said 13 years ago [and it] has finally fallen where it has always been.

“Unfortunately due to the attitude by various authorities that has caused this thing to last to 2009 and put this poor man here, what he’s been through…”

Karam said Bain had been an “innocent man beaten down by a while lot of myths and legends.”

“There’s nothing more than smoke with no fire.”

Michael Reed QC thanked David. “He is totally overcome. Freedom is not there yet, it has not dawned on him.”

He said the trial never should have gone ahead. “Millions have been spent… it is quite a tragedy really.”

He said without doubt David should apply for compensation, but “that’s something in the future.”

Inside the court, the jury forewoman read out the not guilty verdicts for each of Bain's family members. Each verdict was greeted with cheers and applause.

Bain met the verdicts calmly, smiling broadly at his supporters. He then went straight into a room, where he was described as being very emotional.

Karam mouthed a thank you, as did Michael Reed QC Bain's lawyer.

As the judge left the room, further clapping broke out and more cheering and laughter could be heard.

Bain, 37, who had been charged with shooting his parents Robin, 58, Margaret, 50, and his three siblings Arawa, 19, Laniet, 18 and Stephen, 14, on 20 June, 1994, heard the verdict from the dock after a 13 week retrial.

His convictions for the murders after a four week trial in Dunedin in 1995 were overturned by the Privy Council in May, 2007, and a new trial was ordered. He was about 13 years into a 16-year non-parole sentence when the convictions were quashed. He has been on bail since May, 2007 after being in custody since June 24, 1994.

The trial has captured the public imagination like no other trial in New Zealand's history. Television coverage of the verdict today matched the media flurry attracted by President Clinton's visit in 1999.

About 50 media personnel were at the High Court to cover the verdict which was a mass of cameras, high profile journalists and support staff.

The trial has presented a classic whodunnit and implied much more serious questions about the police and the New Zealand justice system.