A new Bain review

Amy Adams released:

The Government has agreed to set aside all previous advice relating to David Bain’s compensation claim and conduct a fresh inquiry, Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced.

In November 2011, former Canadian Supreme Court judge Justice Ian Binnie was appointed to provide advice on the claim. He completed his report in August 2012.

After being made aware of concerns raised about Justice Binnie’s report and receiving advice from the Solicitor-General, the then Justice Minister Judith Collins decided to seek a peer review by former High Court judge Dr Robert Fisher. Dr Fisher found that Justice Binnie’s report contained a number of errors and was, therefore, unsafe to rely on.

“Given these events, it’s my view that Cabinet doesn’t have the information in front of it on which it could reasonably reach a decision,” says Ms Adams.

“For that reason, the advice of both Justice Binnie and Dr Fisher will be set aside and I will appoint a new inquirer to conduct a fresh inquiry into Mr Bain’s claim.”

This was the only sensible outcome. Regardless of your personal views on the Bain case, most people will support a decision being based a proper inquiry.

I have my personal views on who did it, but I am happy for compensation to be paid or not paid, based on what an inquiry finds to be the balance of probabilities.

It is a damn shame that Binnie’s report was so flawed (see here for details from three law professors). Not necessarily the conclusion, but the reasoning. If the Binnie report had been up to scratch, then this would have been settled two years ago.

The next key step will be the identity of the person or persons asked to do the second report. I pity the person, but hope they do such a good job that it convince all but the most ardent believers on both sides (many of whom comment here!).

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