Juror urges against compensation for Bain

MARTIN VAN BEYNEN
Last updated 05:00 24/02/2012
david bain
KIRK HARGREAVES/The Press
NO COMPENSATION: A juror from the second trial of David Bain, above, asked the former Minister of Justice not to pay Bain compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

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A juror from the second trial of David Bain wrote to the minister of justice, urging him not to pay compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment, The Press has learned.

Bain, 39, was acquitted in 2009 by a Christchurch jury of charges he murdered his parents Margaret, 50, and Robin, 58, and three siblings Arawa, 19, Laniet, 18, and Stephen, 14, by shooting them with a .22 rifle in June 1994 in Dunedin.

Information provided to The Press shows the juror wrote to then justice minister Simon Power in April 2010 raising, among other things, misgivings about the conduct of the jury during the trial.

The Press cannot report much of the the letter because the law prevents the publication of material revealing the deliberations of a jury or the jurors' names.

The Bain juror also expressed concerns about the jury not having access to evidence that was suppressed until the verdict was reached and then released after the trial.

In the letter, the juror reveals three other jurors, of their own volition, visited Every St, where the murders took place, during the trial.

Jurors must reach their verdict only on evidence heard or seen in court.

They must not make their own investigations during the trial.

In closing the juror says: "Given the extraordinary length of this trial, the overwhelming media and public interest in the case, the complicated technical evidence, upsetting photos and exhibits, and the conflicting evidence of the experts, this trial certainly took an emotional toll on all of us."

The jurors were offered counselling during and after the trial.

The Ministry of Justice has appointed retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge Ian Binnie to provide the Government with a recommendation on whether Bain has shown on the balance of probabilities that he is innocent.

The ministry's acting chief legal counsel, Melanie Webb, said the assessment of whether someone should be paid compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment was a separate matter from the decision of a jury in a criminal case.

"This is why the letter in question has not been given to Justice Binnie at this stage. It is now Justice Binnie's role to advise on the basis of the available evidence whether David Bain is, at a minimum, innocent on the balance of probabilities and whether extraordinary circumstances exist justifying compensation."

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