Police just 'speculating' - Bain's lawyer
NICOLE PRYOR AND ASHLEIGH STEWART
Police were simply speculating in rejecting "game-changing" evidence in the David Bain case, says his lawyer Michael Reed QC.
In June, TV3 programme 3rd Degree claimed marks seen in pictures of the thumb of Bain's father Robin were caused by gunpowder residue from the magazine of the rifle used to kill Bain's parents and three siblings in Dunedin in June 1994.
Advocates for David Bain had said the marks suggested Robin Bain loaded the rifle, and they therefore supported David's innocence.
But scientific analysis by fingerprint and firearms experts did not support TV3's claims, police said yesterday.
After the show screened, experts examined the original autopsy fingerprint forms, and compared them with the marks seen in the photos of Robin Bain's thumb and forefinger.
They concluded it was strongly indicative the marks in the photos were "minor superficial damage to the skin surface", police said.
An ESR firearms expert also tested the weapon used in the killings. The scientist concluded there was considerable doubt the shape, dimensions and colour of the marks on Robin Bain's thumb were consistent with marks made as a result of loading a cartridge into a magazine.
But Reed, David Bain's lawyer, said the report was just a case of police being scared to say they got it wrong.
"I think it's extremely sad that the police after all these years are just afraid to admit they've got it wrong."
"If you ask them the right questions from their research it supports us - they have used the wrong fingerprint, they have failed to contact their own pathologist who confirms that he inspected Robin Bain's dead fingers and thumb and found no marks on it at all."
Police were speculating instead of facing reality, he said. "This is supposed to be a murder investigation where things are certain. All they're doing is guessing."
He said the Crown pathologist who had originally inspected Robin Bain's hand found no scratches, and in the police report released yesterday, that was not referred to.
Reed said the evidence put forward by TV3 was "entirely correct", witnessed by forensic scientists, and the forensic scientist who has done the police reports.
Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess said he was satisfied the scientific analysis showed 3rd Degree's claims were "anything but game-changing".
"These tests have been carried out using accredited experts in controlled conditions with access to the original exhibits and in the presence of Mr [David] Bain's advocates," Burgess said.
"The most likely explanation for the marks on the photographs would seem to be pre-existing damage or injury to the skin on Robin Bain's thumb."
David Bain's main supporter, Joe Karam, also rejected the police findings, saying the report was flawed.
"The substance of the report does not support the claims made by Mr Burgess," he said. "The words used, ‘would seem to be', is not someone really standing by anything, is it?"
Karam said "major glaring flaws" still had to be addressed. He said Dunedin pathologist Alex Dempster, who examined Robin Bain, did not record any cuts or marks on the fingers in his original report.
Police should have once again consulted Dempster.
"If they were those very minor defects as such, and Dempster did not see them, how did they show up as two black lines in the photographs taken by police?" he said.
"This report has failed to answer that question."
Karam said he "100 per cent" stood by the theory publicised by 3rd Degree.
"I'd like to see the police be mature enough to be able to admit when they make a mistake," he said. "They set out to create wiggle room and that's what they've done."
Karam said there would be an "in-depth response" to the police report.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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