The Dim-Post

June 27, 2013

Overnight

Filed under: crime,Politics — danylmc @ 8:39 am

I don’t follow Australian politics too closely, and I didn’t have a dog in the Rudd-Gillard fight (Rudd won). I think the object lesson here is that rolling a sitting Prime Minister is an absolute last resort, a nuclear option that you exercise when their political career is over, not something you do opportunistically when their polling dips after they try and implement core party policy, which is what happened when Gillard rolled Rudd. It left her with a wounded but very-much-alive mortal enemy – who possessed the cunning, vicious egotism you generally find in Prime Ministers – inside her own party, and it doomed her government from the beginning.

In New Zealand terms it’s depressingly easy to imagine a similar outcome if David Cunliffe managed to somehow become Labour leader and then Prime Minister. He’d introduce, say, Capital Gains Tax there’d be a huge backlash from organised capital, and he’d get rolled with the first low poll. Maybe the Rudd-Gillard disaster would be a disincentive, but I doubt it.

Also, 3rd Degree had that Bain story! Via David Fisher at the Herald:

David Giles peered closely at the photograph on the screen of his computer.

On the thumb of Robin Bain, dead 19 years, were parallel marks of a kind he recognised instantly.

As a boy in the Waikato he would shoot rabbits and possums with a .22 rifle, the same calibre of rifle used to murder the Bain family.

After firing a magazine full of bullets, he would disengage the clip which fed more rounds into the rifle. Taking a bullet, he would push it into the top of the magazine using his thumb and then use the digit to fix the bullet in place. Doing so dragged the thumb across the top of the magazine – parallel metal sides which carried a light coating of burned gunpowder residue from the back-blast of the shots just fired. As the thumb came away, it carried twin lines from the gunpowder and grime on the top of the magazine.

Mr Giles told TV3’s 3rdDegree show he knew instantly what he was seeing on his computer. Robin Bain carried the same marks on his thumb any shooter would have after reloading the magazine on a recently fired rifle.

I’ve always thought that David Bain was guilty – mostly because the defense counter-factual in which Robin Bain killed his family, took off all his blood-stained clothes, put them in the wash, put on some different clothes then committed suicide – didn’t really make any sense. But now, after a privy court declaration of a mistrial, a re-trial with a not guilty verdict, the Binnie finding in favor of Bain and now forensic evidence suggesting Robin Bain fired a rifle, I have no idea what happened, and my inclination is that the taxpayer owes David Bain an enormous sum of money.

Update: Debate about the Bain case always reminds me of the Errol Morris short film about Umbrella Man.

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37 Comments »

  1. “the cunning, viscous egotism you generally find in Prime Ministers”

    Is that like the result of a GM experiment that crossed a prime ministers DNA with some manuka honey to create a sticky sociopath?

    Comment by TransportationDevice A7-98.1 — June 27, 2013 @ 8:43 am

  2. Rudd is a snake loathed by a large number of Labour MPs, that’s why he was rolled.

    He still is, even with his much vaunted but as yet untested ability to stop a complete rout he only got in by 7 votes.

    he maintains high support with males and spent his time undermining Gillard and the Labour party inorder to create just this situation where he is left as the only alternative.

    Labour without Gillard will deserve all they get.

    Comment by NeilM — June 27, 2013 @ 8:53 am

  3. make that 12 votes

    Comment by NeilM — June 27, 2013 @ 8:55 am

  4. Re the Bain saga. Are we supposed to presume that Robin Bain loaded the rifle. Then wearing gloves, disposed of the family, shot himself and then removed the gloves and somehow managed to make them disappear.
    Really??

    Comment by Ron — June 27, 2013 @ 9:02 am

  5. After the murders, the murderer wiped down the blood-soaked rifle to remove the fingerprints.

    Robin could not have done that, because he was dead.

    The only fingerprints on the gun were David’s, where he had been holding the gun when he wiped it. He’d already lost the gloves he’d been wearing earlier in the huge fight he had with his brother Stephen when Stephen fought for his life, ultimately losing.

    Comment by dave53 — June 27, 2013 @ 9:18 am

  6. Robin Bain could have got the marks on his thumb while UNLOADING the gun:

    — In a signed statement, Patronus International director and firearms expert Keith Suddess, who studied the images, said the marks on Robin Bain’s thumb “are consistent with a person loading and/or unloading the type of magazine shown in the photograph”.

    Comment by Laura — June 27, 2013 @ 10:16 am

  7. Here we go now … a comment thread mixing down-and-dirty political trench warfare with red meat for Bainologists to savage. Anyone care to quantify the amount of time and energy likely to be wasted today?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — June 27, 2013 @ 10:18 am

  8. There’s a story to be teased out about when and where the reloading could have occurred.

    For it to have been done by Robin it would have had to have been just prior him killing himself as he had changed his clothes, typed on computer etc – to set up framing David – which would have destroyed these marks. But why did have have to reload. He presumably didn’t reload the 10 round magazine – it only had 3 in it. The 5 round might have been reloaded but it had 2 rounds in it – so it had initially at least 4 – 2 the one that killed him and the one still in the breech. And one on the floor by the gun (a misfire?) makes 5 – a full magazine.

    one would have to track back through the shootings and misfires to see when the magazines were changed and when that might have needed reloading.

    Comment by NeilM — June 27, 2013 @ 10:42 am

  9. Labor MPs dislike of Rudd is less than their dislike of looming unemployment, and Kevin Rudd has been made leader in the hop he will mitigate the size of Labor’s likely defeat in the upcoming federal election. Mike Moore was elevated to the job of PM over Geoffrey Palmer for exactly the same reason in 1990 here. Once Rudd has done his job and led Labor merely to an ordinary defeat rather than a catastrophic one, expect Bill Shorten to knife Rudd and take the job sometime in 2014/15.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 27, 2013 @ 10:56 am

  10. Fuckssakes, Danyl. Did you have to include the bit about Bain in the same post? Now we get nutters crawling all over the place, convinced they have the ability to dissect forensic evidence. (Me, I don’t give a shit. IDK who killed the Bain family, but one suspect is dead and the other spent a decade and a half in prison.)

    As for politics: there’s a lot more that happened yesterday than Rudd/Gillard, although they certainly capped off an interesting day in Texas (followed, of course, by the Supreme Court striking down parts of DOMA). My gut feeling goes with Sanctuary – Rudd will poll better than Gillard, but it will just change the losing margin, providing a better platform for whoever takes the job next.

    Comment by Vanilla Eis — June 27, 2013 @ 11:10 am

  11. So, where were Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard on 20th June 1994? And do either of them have a dirty mark on their right hand, such as could be made by handling a rifle? And when will David Bain announce his candidacy for ALP leadership?

    Comment by richdrich — June 27, 2013 @ 11:11 am

  12. Once Rudd has done his job and led Labor merely to an ordinary defeat rather than a catastrophic one

    There are parallels to Don Brash here – he didn’t win the ’05 election, but many of the National back bench would never have entered parliament without the recovery in polling and vote he led. The back bench would have remaineed feircely loyal. Had Brash not resigned, a challenger like Key (or someone else?) would have struggled to make the numbers to depose Brash.

    I suspect Rudd will be in much the same position. Many of Labor’s incumbent MP’s will only remain in Parliament by the grace of voters reclaimed by Rudd.

    Comment by Phil — June 27, 2013 @ 11:21 am

  13. Several things have surprised me about commentary on the Bain case:
    1. People always say “why would a rational person do XYZ” when talking about evidence they don’t like (just like comment 4). How can you expect either party to be rational when murdering your family? People do dumb things during crimes of passion.
    2. People also take an all or nothing approach; David or Robin. What if Robin killed the family reloaded the gun and planned to get David, David came back from his paper round, freaked out and shot his dad, did some stupid things with clothes and then called the cops?
    3. It’s clear from the police reports etc they settled on the simplest option, David (the survivor) did it, and refused to look down other avenues. If they were wrong that’s a huge miscarriage of took place, if they were right they damaged their case. It was just shoddy police work either way.

    Comment by Greville — June 27, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  14. I get it, this is a pomo lets-fuck-with-the-readership thing. You give us a Rudd/Gillard thing to chew over, but ensure it will be buried in a mudslide of “Why would X Bain do Y?” comments.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — June 27, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

  15. And re Rudd/Gillard, it seems a depressingly familiar story of parliamentary Labo(u)r Party stupidity. Labor MPs replaced Rudd with Gillard because him being popular with voters didn’t, in their humble opinions, rate much against the fact he was unpopular with Labor MPs. Rudd, in turn, then proceeds to whiteant his own party because its prospects in the polls don’t, in his humble opinion, rate much against his desire for revenge. Was it Sanctuary writing the other day about it being a clear sign of decadence when a party’s MPs put their own infighting ahead of the party’s interests?

    Comment by Psycho Milt — June 27, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  16. Turbolol at the comment combination. You should start doing it more often. Maybe talk about fluoridation and the latest Herald-digi poll with 30 respondents?

    Comment by nw — June 27, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

  17. I do feel profoundly sorry for Gillard, who has from the beginning been battling not only a viciously misogynistic Australian political culture, but also the unstinting opposition of the Murdoch press. For his part, Rudd is unpopular with the parliamentary Labo(u)r Party, and for good reason. The only up-side to this whole mess is that an inevitable defeat will almost certainly end Rudd’s political career as well as Gillard’s, allowing the ALP to make a fresh start under a new leader.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — June 27, 2013 @ 1:05 pm

  18. @Sanc: You’re right, we need look no further than Moore for a precedent. The scary thing is, most studies have shown that there was indeed a ‘Moore effect’ – if Labour had gone into the election with Palmer leading them, they’d have won even less seats. Of course that wasn’t enough to keep Moore on as leader in the long-term, so…

    It seems to me that in the long run Labour needs a leader who is neither Gillard nor Rudd.

    Comment by Hugh — June 27, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

  19. I do feel profoundly sorry for Gillard, who has from the beginning been battling not only a viciously misogynistic Australian political culture, but also the unstinting opposition of the Murdoch press.

    Not to mention the wrath of the mining industry, which is an enormously powerful industry lobby group. I’ve lived in Australia for the last 2.5 years or so (thankfully returning soon). I barely follow Australian politics and I’m not especially interested, but something I’ve definitely noticed is that Julia Gillard gets much of the same sort of meaningless flak and insults that Helen Clark received in her final years as PM. Being female almost certainly does have something to do with it.

    There are a lot of Aussies out there who can’t seem to place exactly why they dislike her, so they rationalise or joke about superficial things such as her tripping over her heels or having an embarrassing accent, or worse. There might be plenty of rational reasons to dislike Julia Gillard or dislike Labour, but the power of the lobbying groups to turn large waves of people against her with pure marketing techniques also seems very apparent.

    Comment by izogi — June 27, 2013 @ 1:21 pm

  20. > the Binnie finding in favor of Bain

    You placed weight on the Binnie report? More fool you. It’s a terrible report, full of speculation and dubious reasoning. Oh and Binnie accepted everything David told him at face value. It’s not like David has any reason to lie….other than a $2 million payout!

    It’s worth noting that David doesn’t appear sure that he is innocent. In 2009, Melanie Reid asked David about how he coped being in prison for a crime he did not commit. David said: “I kept coming back to my core belief – I wasn’t there”. A core belief is a strongly held belief that may or may not be true. David’s own words betray him. Why is his innocence merely a “core belief”?

    Comment by Ross — June 27, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

  21. > It’s clear from the police reports etc they settled on the simplest option, David (the survivor) did it, and refused to look down other avenues

    You’re wrong, Greville. Police initially thought it was murder-suicide. That would have been the simplest option because there would have been no trial, and no re-trial, and no Binnie report, etc. It would also have been the cheapest option.

    Comment by Ross — June 27, 2013 @ 2:37 pm

  22. “A core belief is a strongly held belief that may or may not be true. David’s own words betray him.”

    Do you think David knows that, though?

    Comment by izogi — June 27, 2013 @ 2:42 pm

  23. I spy talk of a big immediate swing back to Labor being detected by the instant pollsters over in Oz; Wouldn’t it make for delicious viewing to see Rudd pull an unlikely electoral victory out of the hat, only the be dumped again by his caucus once he’d done his job? Abbot’s meltdown at losing would alone be worth the price of admission.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 27, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

  24. Rudd/Gillard: Rudd was rolled in 2010 because his public approval ratings had plunged, he was ineffectual as PM, accomplishing little of moment because he was overseas almost more than he was in Australia – remember “747 Kevin”? – and a poor decision maker when he was at home. Moreover, his caucus detested him, and that hasn’t changed.

    Much of the opposition to Gillard was driven by that boofhead misogyny which seems to be normalised in Australian society, to the extent that even female commentators fail to see it when it’s staring them in the face. It’s also been gleefully whipped along by the media, from what I’ve seen. Somebody in this household believes that her red hair was a factor, in combination with the misogyny; wildly irrational if it’s true.

    Labor MPs have got the leader they deserve, and if the Australian voters are silly enough to re-elect Labor, they’ll get the government they deserve. And if they do, they’ll remember why Rudd was rolled in the first place. No sympathy from this side of the Tasman.

    With regard to the thumb and finger marks pointing to Robin Bain being the putative killer, I’m a bit puzzled about some aspects of this. As I recall, it was claimed that the killer wore gloves – found in Stephen’s room, I think – to do the shootings. Would not said gloves have erased such marks, if, as stated by various experts, the marks are easily rubbed off, and usually disappear within minutes? Maybe he did, as was claimed during the retrial, do the shootings, change all his clothes, wash his hands and then shoot himself. But didn’t that scenario, as postulated in the retrial, require him to do some intricate gymnastics in order to accomplish the shot? Surely, all the handling of the rifle that would’ve been needed would have rubbed off any marks on his thumb/forefinger – and that’s assuming that he reloaded the magazine. As NeilM pointed out above, that may not have been necessary. And if the act of shooting himself wasn’t enough to obliterate the marks, perhaps they’re more durable than has been claimed and date from earlier use of the rifle – or the cause is unrelated to the rifle.

    Bain’s lawyer is calling this evidence a slam-dunk. But it doesn’t really look like that to me. It’s all very weird………Perhaps somebody with better knowledge of the case can elucidate.

    Comment by Peggy Klimenko — June 27, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

  25. I’ve tried to come up with a story which meshes with the location of shots fired, live rounds found, the distribution of remaining bullets in the front room plus where, why and which magazine was loaded with 4 bullets (assuming the two magazines were originally fully loaded – 15+4=19).

    but not a lot makes sense.

    Comment by NeilM — June 27, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

  26. @ Sanc

    http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/snap-sms-morgan-poll-june-26-2013-201306261145

    This special snap SMS Morgan Poll on Federal voting intention was conducted this evening via SMS interviewing after the result of the ALP leadership ballot was announced, 8pm June 26, 2013 with an Australia-wide cross-section of 2,530 Australian electors aged 18+, of all electors surveyed a low 0.5% did not name a party.

    Comment by Phil — June 27, 2013 @ 5:55 pm

  27. The other big news from overnight:

    And Police say new evidence in Bain case is not new and has other explanations:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10893367

    Comment by MeToo — June 27, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

  28. At last, the real question – “So, where were Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard on 20th June 1994?”

    Comment by Sacha — June 27, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

  29. Wouldn’t it make for delicious viewing to see Rudd pull an unlikely electoral victory out of the hat

    Sanc – I think Rudd might just manage it, given that regardless of how loathsome he is to his colleagues, to the electorate he doesn’t come across as much of a frothing, imbecilic wing-nut as Abbott.

    Comment by Gregor W — June 28, 2013 @ 12:54 pm

  30. > With regard to the thumb and finger marks pointing to Robin Bain being the putative killer, I’m a bit puzzled about some aspects of this. As I recall, it was claimed that the killer wore gloves – found in Stephen’s room, I think – to do the shootings. Would not said gloves have erased such marks, if, as stated by various experts, the marks are easily rubbed off, and usually disappear within minutes? Maybe he did, as was claimed during the retrial, do the shootings, change all his clothes, wash his hands and then shoot himself. But didn’t that scenario, as postulated in the retrial, require him to do some intricate gymnastics in order to accomplish the shot? Surely, all the handling of the rifle that would’ve been needed would have rubbed off any marks on his thumb/forefinger – and that’s assuming that he reloaded the magazine. As NeilM pointed out above, that may not have been necessary. And if the act of shooting himself wasn’t enough to obliterate the marks, perhaps they’re more durable than has been claimed and date from earlier use of the rifle – or the cause is unrelated to the rifle.

    Occam’s razor would suggest reloading the rifle (and getting gunpower on this thumb) was the last thing he did. Not very intricate at all.

    Anyway, my theory that ties up all the weird loose ends is that the father shot his family; David came home and shot his old man. Maybe his dad even punched him a couple of times; this explains his bruises. What always tickles me is that people act like these guys that kill their entire family are rational thinkers. How is washing your clothes and changing “strange behavior” when you’ve just shot your whole family?! Isn’t that strange?

    Comment by Rangi — June 28, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

  31. > It’s worth noting that David doesn’t appear sure that he is innocent. In 2009, Melanie Reid asked David about how he coped being in prison for a crime he did not commit. David said: “I kept coming back to my core belief – I wasn’t there”. A core belief is a strongly held belief that may or may not be true. David’s own words betray him. Why is his innocence merely a “core belief”?

    According to the man himself, DB doesn’t remember the 30 minutes between when he got home and called for an ambulance.

    Comment by Rangi — June 28, 2013 @ 4:08 pm

  32. Clearly Danyl is feeling a little low and needs a 4 figure comments thread.

    Comment by Swan — June 28, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

  33. complete threadjack but I find this from The Guardian too funny:

    President Rafael Correa halted an effort to help Snowden leave Russia amid concern Assange was usurping the role of the Ecuadoran government, according to leaked diplomatic correspondence published on Friday.

    how many levels of irony in that

    Comment by NeilM — June 29, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

  34. Hmm, so this is the new ‘game changer’ evidence people a all talking about?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10893239

    I looked at that image comparison and thought of this song.

    Comment by steve — June 29, 2013 @ 9:52 pm

  35. Never forget Robin Bain’s full bladder.

    Comment by Spitfire — July 1, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

  36. Never forget Robin Bain’s full bladder.

    That’s right. I mean, how are we expected to believe that a man of his age, upon waking with a full bladder, would go straight into the lounge to pray? Clearly, it proves that he murdered his family.

    Comment by Flashing Light — July 2, 2013 @ 8:37 am


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