The Bain poll

The Herald reports:

Most Kiwis support paying compensation to David Bain, even though Justice Minister Judith Collins says many New Zealanders will be upset at any taxpayer payment for the man once convicted of murdering his family.

A Herald-DigiPoll summer survey found 74 per cent of those polled believe Mr Bain should be compensated if the judge who reviewed the case recommended that. (The survey was started on December 7, before Justice Ian Binnie’s recommendation of compensation became public.)

The results are reasonably meaningless. My view is that Bain should get compensation if an independent report concludes he is innocent on the balance of probabilities, and that report has followed the NZ law of evidence.

The Binnie report has been shown to be significantly flawed. It is quite possible another report could reach the same conclusion. But we need to be sure, before any compensation is agreed to, that you are not handing over millions of dollars to someone if they probably did kill their family.

Ms Collins dismissed the poll for asking an invalid question, as Justice Binnie was asked not to make a recommendation on compensation.

One of the many mistakes Binnie made – not understanding your terms of reference is a most basic error.

Labour justice spokesman Charles Chauvel said the “ad hoc” process had become “rotten”. He said Justice Binnie’s report was “perfectly adequate” and did not deserve “bile” from an “Auckland tax lawyer” like Ms Collins.

Chauvel thinks the Binnie report is “perfectly adequate”. I’ll be generous and presume he is speaking as a politician, and not a lawyer.

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