Bain report 'based on assumptions, wrong facts'

TRACY WATKINS AND ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 12:02 11/12/2012
judith collins
Fairfax NZ
JUDITH COLLINS: Justice Minister.
David Bain
KIRK HARGREAVES/The Press
David Bain

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Justice Minister Judith Collins has slated a report on David Bain's claim for compensation saying it contained "assumptions based on incorrect facts" and a misunderstanding of New Zealand law.

The Government has been criticised for its handling of Canadian Judge Ian Binnie's report, which is believed to recommend compensation.

But Collins said today she did not take the decision lightly to have it peer reviewed.

Bain is seeking compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment over the 1994 killings of his parents, brother and two sisters.

In a statement today, Collins she referred Judge Binnie's report to the Solicitor General because of concerns after reading it.

"My concerns are broadly that the report appeared to contain assumptions based on incorrect facts, and showed a misunderstanding of New Zealand law. It lacked a robustness of reasoning used to justify its conclusions.

"This was not a decision I made lightly, but one that was absolutely necessary. Put simply, it would not be acceptable to make a recommendation to Cabinet based on a report that would not withstand the considerable scrutiny it would attract.

"I am very disappointed this peer review is needed - I think we would all agree that a timely conclusion to this matter would be best for everyone. But justice must be done - a robust and proper process is the only way to ensure a certain and final conclusion to Mr Bain's claim.

"When the Secretary for Justice and I met with Justice Binnie in September, I made it clear to Justice Binnie there were concerns with the report he provided, and it would be peer reviewed.

"I also advised Justice Binnie the report must remain confidential and it would be premature to release it until after Cabinet had made a decision on Mr Bain's claim.

"Since then, I have received from Justice Binnie, unsolicited, two further versions of his report.

The first report cost taxpayers around $400,000 - and Collins said she wouldn't be paying for the others.

"I will receive Mr Fisher's peer review in the next day or so, which will be forwarded to Justice Binnie for his comment. When I hear back from Justice Binnie, I will take a recommendation to Cabinet on the next steps."

The review would not have an impact on Bain's claim, other than to delay it, Collins said.

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She insisted she was not "shopping around" for the opinion the Government wanted.

"It is not something I put a dollar value on when it comes to justice," she said.  I think justice is far more important than the dollar value. We don't ask our court to make quick decisions just because it is cheaper."

Collins said she hoped to release both Binnie's report and the review by Robert Fisher QC.

- Stuff

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