Bain report: Lawyers sat in on interviews

Last updated 12:57 13/12/2012
judith collins
Fairfax NZ
JUDITH COLLINS: Justice Minister.
Retired Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie.
REPORT AUTHOR: Retired Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie.

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Crown lawyers and David Bain's legal team sat in on interviews conducted by Justice Ian Binnie for his compensation report.

Justice minister Judith Collins is due to release the report and a peer review this afternoon.

Binnie has confirmed Michael Reed and Joe Karam were present when he spoke to witnesses. Crown lawyers John Pike and Annabel Markham also attended.

Binnie - who has welcomed the release of his report - said: "All my interviews were attended by both parties -- John Pike and Annabel Markham for the Crown and Michael Reed, Joe Karam and his son Matthew representing Bain when Bain was interviewed. Everyone except john Pike were also in Dunedin for the police interviews."

Pressure had been building to make public Binnie's report.

Collins said the peer review, by New Zealand lawyer Robert Fisher QC, must be released at the same time.

Binnie and Collins have publicly traded blows over what was in Binnie's report on the compensation bid.

He had concluded Bain was innocent on the balance of probabilities of the murder of his parents, two sisters and brother in Dunedin in 1994.

Collins says Binnie made "significant errors", misinterpreted evidence and went "well beyond" his terms of reference.

She had asked for his report to be peer-reviewed by Fisher, which she is due to receive today.

Binnie - who was paid $400,000 for his work - has said Collins is playing politics and it is unfair that Bain has not been allowed to see the report.

Bain is seeking compensation for the almost 13 years he spent in jail after being convicted in May 1995.

He was acquitted at a retrial in 2009 and could get about $2 million, but the Government is not obliged to pay compensation.

Labour's justice spokesman Charles Chauvel has called on Collins to also release the letter of instruction to Fisher and any advice from the Government's lawyers on Binnie's report.

"Judith Collins needs to be completely transparent today, even more so given she has avoided the scrutiny of Parliament’s question time and urgent debate by releasing the report after the House has adjourned for the year," he said.

While it is "good news" the report is to be released today, Chauvel said Collins had mismanaged the episode.

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