Dom Post on Binnie report

The Dominion Post editorial:

If David Bain is innocent of the murder of his parents, two sisters and brother he deserves to be compensated for the 13 years he spent in prison. If he is guilty he does not deserve a cent.

Exactly. It isn’t so much about the money, but about the outcome. I don’t care about $2 million when the Government spends $80 billion a year. If David did not kill his family, then he has suffered more than any person should suffer – and deserves compensation and more. But if he did kill his father, mother, brother and two younger sisters and tried to frame his father for the killing – it would be repugnant to reward him for this.

The concerns raised by Auckland QC Robert Fisher about retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie’s report on the case are such that it cannot be used as the basis to compensate Mr Bain. …

However, Dr Fisher’s review of his report – commissioned by Justice Minister Judith Collins – suggests Justice Binnie misunderstood his brief and misunderstood the principles under which wrongful imprisonment claims are assessed. It is difficult to conceive of a more damning critique.

There is no dispute that Binnie got his brief wrong. He has admitted this. Fisher’s critique is damning. I am not a lawyer and am not competent to judge whether Fisher’s criticisms are valid, or as Binnie claims are nitpicking. I am not interested in the claims of anyone associated with the Bain camp (or Crown Law), or of those who are politically motivated by their views of Judith Collins.

I’d love to hear from non-interested legal experts as to their views of the Binnie and Fisher reports.

The Herald editorial sort of goes the other way and says:

Justice Binnie may also have erred in going beyond his mandate. But that is of no great importance.

Really? Obeying the terms of reference is not important? That is in fact crucial.

His reasoning has enough substance to warrant more than Ms Collins’ dismissive attitude.

I think it is clear a second report is needed. It need not be a report from start. It can use the evidence collated by Binnie, but follow the NZ law of evidence in reaching conclusions.

I think using Dr Fisher for this second report would lead some to attack it as they assume he is pre-disposed against Bain (I don’t think he is, but perceptions are important). but I am sure someone can be found – perhaps an Australian Judge?

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