Justice Minister Judith Collins will announce a decision on David Bain's bid for compensation by the end of the year.
Ms Collins said yesterday she had received advice from retired Canadian Supreme Court judge Justice Ian Binnie on the claim.
Mr Bain wants damages for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. He spent 13 years behind bars and it has been reported he could receive up to $2 million if compensation is awarded.
Ms Collins will meet Justice Binnie in the next fortnight and the Cabinet is expected to make a decision within a couple of months. The judge's report will remain under wraps until then.
Mr Bain was convicted in 1995 of murdering five members of his family in Dunedin but the Privy Council quashed this in 2007. It ruled a substantial miscarriage of justice had taken place and ordered a retrial.
Two years later, after a three-month trial, he was acquitted on all five counts of murder. His lawyers lodged a claim for compensation and former justice minister Simon Power appointed Justice Binnie to assess the claim in November last year.
Only those who have had their convictions quashed on appeal without order of retrial, or who have received a free pardon, can apply for compensation. They must establish their innocence on the balance of probabilities.
Because Mr Bain was acquitted after a retrial, he falls outside these Cabinet guidelines. But the rules also allow discretion in "extraordinary circumstances", which the claimant must demonstrate. In the course of his inquiry, Justice Binnie interviewed Mr Bain and police who worked on the original murder investigation.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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