Bain compo decision could take months

Last updated 10:55 29/01/2013

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Justice Minister Judith Collins will take recommendations to Cabinet on the David Bain compensation claim – but a final decision is months away.

Late last year she rejected a report on the claim by retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie and ordered a peer review by Robert Fisher QC, which backed her concerns.

Ministers must now decide whether to ask Fisher to continue on the case, or commission a new lawyer or an independent panel to produce a new report.

Collins confirmed all of these options would prolong settling Bain's claim for wrongful conviction and imprisonment. She said this morning a final decision would be "some time yet" and could take months.

The report and peer review has so far cost $500,000.

Bain was convicted in 1995 of murdering five members of his family in Dunedin and spent 13 years in jail. He was acquitted by a jury at a retrial in 2009, and subsequently submitted an application for compensation.

Estimates suggest he could get a $2 million payout – but because his case falls outside Cabinet guidelines he is not automatically entitled to compensation.

"Even though there has been a lot of money spent on this, and there will no doubt be more money spent on a report of some form, it is not a matter of money," Collins said.

"It is a matter of justice and it needs to be seen to be done."

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