A new Bain report?

Audrey Young at NZ Herald reports:

The Government will “most probably” commission another report on ’s application for compensation, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday.

That is the sensible thing to do. There is no way one could make a decision on compensation on the basis of the Binnie report. it isn’t that the conclusion is necessarily wrong – it is that the reasoning and weighting of evidence was done in a way that several law professors have said was outside the norm.

It is possible a more standard review of the evidence will reach the same conclusion on whether Bain is innocent on the balance of probabilities (and that is all that was asked for).

Mr Key said Ms Collins would return to the Cabinet with other options that included asking Dr Fisher or someone else to do more work.

Asked if there would be a second report, he said “most probably”.

Mr Key said that while the cost of the process was important, it was necessary to reach a robust conclusion by which New Zealanders could understand why any decision had been reached.

If an individual is appointed and they reach a different conclusion to Binnie, then the accusation will be the Govt just cherry-picked the answer they wanted. This is why I like the suggestion that a panel of three be asked to do the second report. If they all agree on the key issue of innocence on the balance of probabilities then I think there will be fairly widespread acceptance of any decision by Cabinet that follows that report. The hardcore believers on both sides will never accept a report that doesn’t say what they want – but I think the majority of NZers want to see an end to it, and a multi-person panel will give them confidence of a fair resolution.

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