A guest post by Chuck Bird:
I think I should first declare an interest. I have been involved with a group called Justice For Robin Bain (JRRB). Some of the members of the group are women who were friends of the Bain sisters when they were murdered. I say that to explain why I am a little obsessed about this case as I have been over a few cases where I am sure there has been a great injustice done. The Peter Ellis case in another. I will refer to that later.
I thought a bit about the title but I hope to make a case that it is appropriate. In any case Binnie has not only attacked a former Minister of Justice’s integrity but her dress sense as well. The man is irrational.
I first refer to a Herald article (Ref 1) on the 27 Feb this year which is a day after the Sunday (Ref 2) show showed and interview with Binnie.
Focus of my Opinion
The focus of my post is about Binnie’s unfounded and illogical claim that Collins shopped around for the report she wanted. I have never been in Cabinet but I would guess that all the Cabinet Ministers would not have read the whole report. Some I bet some maybe would not have read any but were relying on Collins’ recommendation. Contrary to the view of some I am sure ministers are very busy.
This post is not about David Bain’s guilt or innocence. It is about if Binnie followed instructions and whether Collins acted properly. It is also about whether Fisher (Ref 3) and Judge Callinan (Ref 5) did their reports honestly or gave Collins the reports she wanted with a nod and a wink. It will be about the interview and Sunday’s bias rather than re-litigating the case yet again.
Collins’ view was that Binnie had not followed his instructions properly so she recommend his report be reviewed by Robert Fisher QC and Cabinet agreed. It would have been far easier for her to have recommended accepting Binnies’ report (Ref 6). It would have upset some people like me but there would have been no legal challenge. Bain and Karam would have shared the proceeds and we would not have heard any more about Bain like we have on the Sunday show and are likely to hear more when Binnie comes to lecture the Criminal Bar Association about the deficiencies of the New Zealand justice system.
The Sunday Interview
Sunday gives the impression that Binnie was well respected in Canada and was qualified for the task given to him by the former Minister of Justice, Simon Power. Binnie had never sat as a judge before his appointment to the Supreme Court. He also never was a criminal lawyer. Contrary to the build-up Sunday’s, Janet McIntyre gave him, he was not universally respected in Canada. Many viewed him as an activist judge.
I have never heard of a judge or former judge in New Zealand or Australia attack the integrity of a Justice Minister or another judge as Binnie had and Janet McIntyre did not challenge him on that.
At 4:55 on the interview in reference to Bain he says, “I can hear his answers and make up his own mind.”’ I would be very concerned if a New Zealand judge made such an arrogant and ill-informed statement. Judge’s with experience as lawyers and judges in criminal cases know that psychopaths and sociopaths are extremely manipulative and very convincing liars.
Binnie prior to the interview of Bain claims he had an open mind. That means he knew he could be interviewing psychopath but think he could tell if he was lying.
Below is a question from Binnie to Bain on p91 of his interviews (Ref 7). I have edited it but I reference the full interview.
And they say that he says that you had confided in him a round 1990 that you were sexually interested in a female jogger and that you could commit the sexual offence against her, use your paper round to get away with it and as we know that evidence was eventually excluded by the Court of Appeal but what
I have skipped a little but what follows is very interesting from p91 and p92 of the report.
Q. Did this discussion that he related to the police ever take place?
Q. What reason would he have for coming up with an untruthful anecdote?
A. Because our friendship had ended. Ah, at the, pretty much the end of, or faded out and then ended towards the end of the, our seventh form year and we essentially, you know, I – just, it all ended on bad terms.
Q. So it was more than drifting apart? It was actually –
A No, no, it ended on bad terms.
Q. And what was the – why was that?
A. I had witnessed him – because we had goats on our property and I had witnessed him performing a deviant act in that situation. I ‘ m not, I wasn’t completely fooled but it was certainly, you know, looked stupid and obviously embarrassing for him. Ah, and as we know you have to do to take, get the blame away from yourself is point it at somebody else, “It was him , it was him.” So what happened is and you can see, can see in this, in the yearbook for my last year at high school –
It goes on a bit further but it is unclear if Binnie thought he could tell if David was telling the truth by looking him in the eye. Now it turns out that this person is not the only person who David told of his rape fantasy and using his paper run as an alibi. He told a second former friend that Binnie did not query him about. (Ref 8)
If Binnie had any doubts about David’s story which was an attempted character assignation of someone who could affect Binnie’s decision he should have interviewed the person who was being defamed about Bain’s allegations as well as his story regarding David rape fantasy.
Bain’s yarn is about as credible as Binnie’s claim that Callinan is corrupt was willing to take the assignment on the condition he would give the new Minister of Justice, Amy Adams the report she wanted.
Binnie talks like the PC exonerated Bain. They did no such thing. While they quashed his conviction the strongly recommended he remain in custody. I can further quote, “The Board has concluded that, in the very unusual circumstances of this case, a substantial miscarriage of justice has actually occurred. Therefore the proviso to section 385(1) cannot be applied, and the appeal must under the subsection be allowed. At any retrial it will be decided whether the appellant is guilty or not, and nothing in this judgment should influence the verdict in any way.” (R7ef 9)
Because there has been a substantial miscarriage of justice albeit by police or prosecution does not mean that someone is innocent. The Lundy case proves that.
The burning of the murder house
Binnie is very good on half-truths. The house was burned but with the consent of Bain either personally or through his lawyer. I do not know of any complaints made at the time of the first trial about destroying evidence or that his lawyer asked for exhibits to be retained. I am sure that there has been at least one murder house burned to the ground in NZ and I believe this has happened overseas. The police could not have security 24/7 and if the house was torched by vigilantes it could put neighbours as risk.
Binnie’s flawed logic
I do not want to counter all Binnie’s reasons why he thinks Bain is innocent but this one astounds me. In the interview he said if David wanted to kill his family why would he do the paper round and come back and kill his father. Why did he not just go out to the caravan and kill his father? That instantly struck me as a ludicrous statement. If he did that it would be obvious that he murdered his family. He was first convicted because it was alleged that he killed his family and used his paper as an alibi to frame his father. Why did Janet McIntyre see this and question Binnie about something so obvious?
$925k for what?
The only credible point Binnie made was if Cabinet thought Bain was guilty why was he paid $925k? He should not have been. Callinan’s assignment was to start from scratch as if Binnie’s or Fisher’s report were never done. I have read it as have many on this blog. David Farrar blogged about Martin Van Beynenit (Ref 10) view on Callinnan’s report. Callinan is experienced in criminal law as a lawyer and a judge. Binnie did not show any flaws in Callinan’s reasoning he just inferred that Callinan accepted the job on the condition that he would give Adams the report she wanted.
I would assume that Adams rejects this outrageous claim. That is why she recommended no compensation. She says that the $925k was for legal expenses. If you go to the link I referenced to the Van Beyenit’s article there is an audio of one Bain’s supporters. She claims that the $925k was hush money. I agree with her on this. One of the conditions was that Bain or his agent take no further legal action. On reading Callinan’s report it seemed clear to me that his view that David Bain was more likely to guilty of murdering his family than not was not finely balanced but very much more likely. In this regard I agree with Binnie about this hush money (Ref 11). It is a disgrace.
Criminal Bar Association
At the end of the Sunday interview they stated that Binnie will be speaking at the CBA at their conference in August. The invite would have occurred before the interview. I have written to the CBA suggesting they reconsider this invitation in light of the interview. Binnie has accused the former Minister of Justice of being in the pocket of the police and also shopping around for a report she wanted. He accused the same of the current Minister of Justice and by inference is saying Callinan was bought. His action were highly emotion with his very personal attacks on Collins.
Binnie has attacked our whole justice system. New Zealand like every country in the world has some level of corruption. Due to its low population we see cases of professions particularly lawyers getting favourable treatment in court. Some of these cases have all details supressed. We also have the Peter Ellis case being put in the too hard basket. However, having said that Transparency International rates New Zealand along with Denmark as the least corrupt country in the world. Canada where Binnie hails from rates a ten.
I hope after viewing the interview the CBA withdraws their invitation. Alternatively, they could invite Martin Van Beynenit or possibly Michael Laws to speak. That would make for a very interesting conference.
I thank David Farrar for giving me the opportunity to publish this guest post. I have emailed Ian Binnie so he has a right of response.
1. NZ Herald article about the Binnie interview on the Sunday show.
2. The Sunday show interview of Justice Binnie.
3. Summary of key findings Hon Dr Robert Fisher QC
4. Dr Robert Fisher’s Review of Binnie’s Report
5. Justice Callinan’s report. It is worth reading what Callinan calls Incontestable Objective Facts. There are 53 starting on page 114.
6. Justice Binnie’s Report
7. Binnie’s interview’s including David Bain
8. Bain’s rape alibi-plan evidence kept secret from jury
9. Privy Council Decision on Bain
10. Martin Van Beynenit’s article in Stuff supporting Callinan’s report.
11. Minister Adams reasons for the hush money.