The Dim-Post

December 13, 2012

The worst crime imaginable

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:17 am

Via Audrey Young at the Herald:

Justice Ian Binnie revealed last night that he identified the failure of the Crown to preserve evidence in the David Bain murder investigation as one of the “extraordinary circumstances” that the Cabinet should take into account in considering Mr Bain’s claim for compensation.

Neither Ms Collins nor Justice Binnie alluded to the actual evidence to which they were referring but a strong part of the Bain case has been the police investigation and destruction of evidence.

The controlled burning of the house and crime scene at Every St in Dunedin soon after Mr Bain’s parents, two sisters and brother had been killed with a .22 rifle destroyed much evidence including the footprints made by bloodied socks.

I suspect we’ll hear more of this sort of thing. Recommending a payment to Bain would be unpalatable to Collins, Minister of Mob Justice, but not – I suspect – a deal-breaker for the Cabinet. Binnie’s real crime is to criticise New Zealand’s police and judiciary – so Collins waited until  the House rose for the year, and now she’ll dump the report during the silly season accompanied by a peer review highlighting any perceptible error.

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29 Comments »

  1. I remember thinking at the time burning the house was a strange decision. Collins’ antics here are reprehensible but in line with this government’s standard response when confronted with unpalatable facts: reach for the revolver and shoot the messenger.

    Comment by TerryB — December 13, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  2. The Herald’s editorial notes today that we are not accustomed to the judiciary hitting back at a politician, as Canadian justice Ian Binnie has over Judith Collin’s outrageous denigration of him and his report (which she is – even more outrageously – insisting on keeping secret for now). I would think Judith Collins is furious at him for that as well.

    Now, Justice Binnie is of courser a Canadian, and I don’t know if the Canadian judiciary routinely engages in stoushes with the federal/provincial governments or if Justice Binnie just feels that since NZ is a separate juristiction he can leap in boots and all. But I wonder if democracy is better served with a somewhat less muzzled judiciary than we current have, especially given the extraordinary nature of Collin’s attack on an eminent member of Canada’s judiciary simple because she didn’t like his conclusions.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 13, 2012 @ 8:35 am

  3. wasn’t the house destroyed at the behest of the family?

    I doubt any crime scene is kept as evidence for 18 years.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  4. Seems Crusher has determined to release the report and review around lunchtime today… :)

    Comment by Peter Martin — December 13, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  5. wasn’t the house destroyed at the behest of the family?

    considering the family were dead, it would be interesting to know how they went about making this request known

    I doubt any crime scene is kept as evidence for 18 years.

    not for 18 years, sure, but maybe for 18 days in a case as complex as this one

    Comment by kahikatea — December 13, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  6. Recommending a payment to Bain would be unpalatable to Collins, Minister of Mob Justice, but not – I suspect – a deal-breaker for the Cabinet.

    No doubt. But it should have been a deal-breaker for Cabinet from day one, yet another example of the general ineffectiveness of this govt. The money they’ve wasted on Binnie’s report is bad enough, but to compensate Bain would not only add insult and injury as far as the taxpayers’ are concerned, it would be an extremely offensive insult to his dead family.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — December 13, 2012 @ 10:26 am

  7. Yup she will release it when the day after the press gallery party when most of them are hungover and can be bothered reporting much….

    Comment by max — December 13, 2012 @ 10:29 am

  8. ‘considering the family were dead, it would be interesting to know how they went about making this request known’

    From memory it was the wider family who requested the destruction of the house. I understand the land was sold and the loot divided up amongst said wider family…

    Comment by Peter Martin — December 13, 2012 @ 10:34 am

  9. considering the family were dead, it would be interesting to know how they went about making this request known

    It was done by the remaining Bain family members after David was arrested. it was hardly some conspiracy or error on the part of the justice system.

    Other evidence was also “not kept” ie the David’s finger prints in fresh blood on the gun which, when re-examined some years later by Karam and co had of course become less fresh and they tried to maintain on that basis that it was not human blood and that it was not fresh at the time. Binnie appears to have gone along with such reasoning.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 10:40 am

  10. Binnie appears to have gone along with such reasoning.

    The article states Binnie considered evidential destruction was “one of the extraordinary circumstances” so I suspect it’s more complex than him merely going “along with such reasoning.”

    Comment by Gregor W — December 13, 2012 @ 11:13 am

  11. Binnie considered evidential destruction was “one of the extraordinary circumstances”

    as far as I can tell most critical evidence was documented, it’s hard to tell if the treatment of evidence in this case has been anything unusual.

    but I’ll wait and judge what Binnie has written by what he has written and not his reputation.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 11:33 am

  12. Actually, the reports are being released today.

    Comment by Ross — December 13, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  13. @2 Binnie’s response in RNZ seemed very measured to me. He was at pains to point out that what Collins did with his report was very much her affair. What he did not like was its contents being criticized publicly without actually making it public, he also thought it was inappropriate for Collins to be consulting with Crown Law (the prosecution) and not with Bain’s contingent. Possibly this is not something a NZ judge would ever do, I’m not sure, but ‘boots and all’ did not seem the best description of his response to me.

    Comment by Roger Parkinson (@RogerParkinson) — December 13, 2012 @ 12:16 pm

  14. Collins needs to be very carefull here. I have heard that David Bain has taken on a paper round in her neighbourhood.

    Comment by King Kong — December 13, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

  15. Hmmm, KK. Highly inappropriate, I think … but I also laughed out loud!

    Comment by David from Chch — December 13, 2012 @ 12:56 pm

  16. he also thought it was inappropriate for Collins to be consulting with Crown Law

    The solicitor general is where a govt gets its legal advice and she has got an independent voice involved.

    I thought his response was surprisingly bitchy, mere “tax” lawyer indeed. And his contention that the QC is a pawn and that crown law has waged a blinkered anti-Bain campaign for 17 years is hardly neutral.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 1:03 pm

  17. Neil M,

    Binnie (and Roger) did not say Collins ought not to have talked to Crown Law AT ALL … he simply said that given Crown Law’s role in the compensation claim, it would have been “fair” to also consult the Bain side as well. Surely it’s stretching credulity to believe Crown Law went from a “no, Bain shouldn’t get compensation” position to a “we’ll neutrally and dispassionately advise on the merits of a report that recommends Bain gets compensation”?

    As for the “tax lawyer” comment, I’m not sure it was a bitchy jibe. The concept of procedural fairness is pretty important one when it comes to resolving tax disputes with the IRD, so you’d think someone who has worked in that field would get how the concept might apply more generally.

    Comment by Flashing Light — December 13, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

  18. Danyl – for once, I totally agree with NeilM. The prosecution may have had flaws, and these may constitute ‘extraordinary circumstances’ as to why Cabinet should *consider* compensation for David Bain *if* he is shown to be innocent on the balance of probabilities, but I remain utterly confident that the latter is impossible. Because all the evidence points to David having done the killings.

    I was perturbed at the burning of the Bain home, but it was the wishes of the wider Bain whanau, and police would not want to mount a guard for years at enormous cost to protect the evidence, and there are other ways to preserve such evidence anyway (material samples, photos, etc).

    Re: J. Binnie’s conduct; again, I am amazed to find myself on Judith Collin’s side, but she has mostly acted properly, and Binnie has become increasingly shrill and appears to be channeling Joe Karam.

    No payout. Retrial of David Bain, based on procedural problems with , you know, jurors going to party with the accused after acquittal – hardly a sign of an impartial mind for some jurors!

    Comment by bob — December 13, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  19. I’m bored of the whole thing.

    The only interesting bit left is that the people who are dead sure that David did it and mustn’t get any compo, can’t seem to find the time to express their outrage at the cops and others who quite obviously fucked it all up royally, if it’s so clear that David is guilty.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — December 13, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  20. I’m not sure if Collins will convince people with her account of flaws but I’m surprised that by ignoring all the evidence against David Bain and believing everything he said Binnie could only find him innocent on the balance of probabilities.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  21. Well the reports are in and ‘channeling karam’ appears on the button. Campaigning judge looks to score an international point.

    Comment by insider — December 13, 2012 @ 4:19 pm

  22. From Binnie’s response;

    David Bain’s version of what he did on the morning of June 20 was inherently likely because it conformed to a long standing paper route routine to which there were independent witnesses. The Crown’s alternative theory that he left the house unattended for over an hour with Robin due to walk in anytime was not. The fact he didn’t change his bloody clothes was inherently unlikely “subsequent behaviour” if he was guilty.

    There’s a fair amount odd here but what stands out for me is his claim as “fact” that he didn’t change his clothes.

    Surely this can only be a deduction. There was blood on some of his clothes therefore none of the clothes were changed.

    The alternative deduction Is that he didn’t change all his clothes – just the items with obvious blood. What was found were just small smudges.

    And the reasoning that David Bain’s version of events was more likely because he stuck to his usual paper round routine completely misses the point.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

  23. It’s a different point Neil. I’ve always found it odd that David would kill evryone bar his father, leave the house to do his usual paper round, and then return trusting that his father wouldn’t have heard the gunshots and come into the house a few minutes earlier than usual. I don’t have an opinion either way on who did it, but that does seem like a surreal scenario.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — December 13, 2012 @ 5:18 pm

  24. FFS, Bain was acquitted after a trial, I doubt that any of the experts on this forum heard all the evidence; you weren’t there, you don’t know, move on.

    Binnie wrote a report, the answer wasn’t liked, so that cowardly Collins attacked it.

    Comment by Andrew R — December 13, 2012 @ 6:14 pm

  25. Why might Collins be cowardly? There doesn’t seem to be any political advantage to be gained in what she is doing unless you believe that left wingers are inherently Bain supporters and those who think he is guilty are right wingers. I find that implausible and, I suspect, left wingers particularly might find it objectionable! Nor is Collins an automatic defender of bureaucrats like the cops or Crown Law, as the Dept of Corrections discovered when she first became a Minister. Binnie seems to have delivered a report that just couldnt be waved through whatever his conclusions might be because the way he reached these conclusions, as Fisher argued, was unsound. As he states, all criminal investigations include cock ups. It doesn’t follow that all are fatally flawed or amount to wilful misconduct .

    Comment by Roger — December 13, 2012 @ 6:37 pm

  26. Collins abused her position of power by slagging off a report writer while keeping the report secret and trying to gag the report writer. Cowardly bullying behaviour is nothing new from her. (Bullying=cowardly in my book.)

    Comment by Andrew R — December 13, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  27. @ pascal’s bookie – sorry, forgot to mention that – yes, the cops stuffed up on several counts. They seem to do that a lot on major trials (Bain, Scott Watson, Ewen MacDonald, Urewera 17, etc), but that doesn’t mean David Bain was innocent, or even ‘not guilty’ beyond reasonable doubt.

    And as a leftie, Roger is correct in saying I find it objectionable when folks like Andrew R assume we should all ‘fall into line’ and assume David is innocent. I read the Privy council’s findings, and could see where Karam was coming from, and how it could be argued they knocked out a lot of the crown evidence. But that still left a lot of evidence pointing straight at David. Which is what ODT journo Martin van Beynen said, and he did sit through the whole trial.

    And picking up what NeilM said in #22 – whoever killed the family DID change out of David’s clothing which they were wearing, and tried washing it in the machine downstairs. But David still had some bloodstains on what he was wearing when found by cops. Question is – why would Robin wear David’s clothes to kill everyone, if not to incriminate David? Given that, why then change out of David’s clothes and try wash the blood away after killing the rest?

    Oh, and it seems J Fisher is implying J Binnie thought he was getting a well paid holiday in the South Pacific. Then panicked when he realised his report was a duffer on a highly controversial case, and he had been hornswaggled by Joe Karam’s superb spin.

    Comment by bob — December 13, 2012 @ 11:03 pm

  28. (Guys, if we’re going to be pretentious tossers then the J follows the name: Binnie J.)

    The Crown has in fact waged an anti-Bain campaign for the past two decades. It’s why all the cases are R v Bain or Bain v R.

    Comment by Keir — December 13, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  29. @PB

    I’ve always found it odd that David would kill evryone bar his father, leave the house to do his usual paper round, and then return trusting that his father wouldn’t have heard the gunshots and come into the house a few minutes earlier than usual.

    The father had a set routine every morning and the gun had a silencer. Robin got up at a set time to go to work, came inside and knelt to pray just beside the curtains every morning.

    So, according to the prosecution, Bain shot the family, did the paper round to establish an alibi, getting back just before the father normally gets into the house.

    That could possibly be untrue but for Binnie to claim it is untrue the basis that David kept to his usual schedule is just bizarre.

    And according to the prosecution it all unravelled because the killer got into an unexpected fight with Steven, thereby throwing the plan into some chaos. Lost gloves, blood on clothes etc.

    Comment by NeilM — December 13, 2012 @ 11:37 pm


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