Bain 'deliberately' left out of review proceedings
KATE CHAPMAN AND ANDREA VANCE
David Bain was forced to take legal action after being left out of proceedings, long-time supporter Joe Karam says.
Bain's legal team yesterday applied for a judicial review, saying Justice Minister Judith Collins had abused her power, breached his rights to natural justice, acted in bad faith and acted in a "biased and unreasonable manner".
In December, Collins rejected as "unsafe" a report by retired Canadian judge Justice Ian Binnie, that concluded Bain was entitled to a payout as compensation for 13 years he spent in prison after being found guilty of the murder of the five members of his family in Dunedin in 1994.
Bain was acquitted at a retrial in 2009 and in the report Binnie said Bain had been wrongfully convicted.
Collins had the Binnie report peer-reviewed by Robert Fisher, QC, whose findings supported Collins' position.
The Government must now decide whether to commission a new report.
Collins said she had taken steps to ensure the process was "fair and proper throughout", and warned a judicial review would only add to delays on the application, which was made in 2009.
Karam told Radio New Zealand Bain had been deliberately excluded from the process.
He added the process was consultative and fair until the Binnie report arrived.
"It's lucky there are no gallows in New Zealand otherwise David wouldn't be around to claim for compensation," Karam said.
It was only by accident that Bain's legal team found out Fisher was peer-reviewing the Binnie report at the request of the Government.
He said Collins was entitled to get a peer review but she should not have excluded Bain's team.
"When people do things in secret it inevitably raise the question that they might be up to no good," Karam said.
Secret government actions should be reserved for spy agencies such as the SIS, he said.
"This is the Minister of Justice, not the Minister of War we're talking about," Karam said.
Estimates have suggested Bain could be in line for a $2 million payout if his application is successful.
Collins has reiterated that ministers were not obliged to consider the claim for compensation because it fell outside Cabinet guidelines.
"Put simply, it would be unacceptable for Cabinet to base its decision for compensation on an unsafe and flawed report," she added.
"That would not have resulted in justice for anyone, let alone Mr Bain."