Bain 'deliberately' left out of review proceedings

Long-time supporter Joe Karam, left, with David Bain
Long-time supporter Joe Karam, left, with David Bain

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 Iain 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. 

He was acquitted at a retrial in 2009 and in the report Binnie said Bain had been wrongfully convicted.

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".

She warned the legal action would only add to delays on the application, which was made in 2009.

Bain had been deliberately excluded from the process, Karam told Radio New Zealand.

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."

It was only by accident that Bain's legal team found out Robert Fisher, QC, was peer reviewing the Binnie report at the request of the Government.

Collins was entitled to get a peer review but she should not have excluded Bain's team, Karam said.

"When people do things in secret it inevitably raise the question that they might be up to no good."

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."

Estimates have suggested Bain could be in line for a $2 million payout if his application is successful.

Collins reiterated that ministers were not obliged to consider the claim for compensation because it falls 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."