Callinan appointed for Bain case

Amy Adams has announced:

A senior retired Australian judge has been appointed to head up the inquiry into David Bain’s compensation claim, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced today.

Hon Ian Callinan AC QC, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, has been appointed to conduct a fresh inquiry into Mr Bain’s claim for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

“Mr Callinan is a distinguished and highly respected member of the Australian legal fraternity. He brings a diverse mix of experience and expertise, following an exemplary career of nearly forty years practice as a lawyer and nine years on the bench of the High Court of Australia,” says Ms Adams.

The Australian High Court is the equivalent of our Supreme Court. He has been a QC for 37 years, and is a former President of the Australian Bar Association. Unusually for a lawyer, he has prosecuted a sitting High Court Justice (Lionel Murphy) for perverting the course of justice. He also took part in the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption in Queensland.

He looks a good choice.

Mr Callinan’s role is to provide advice on questions relevant to Cabinet’s determination. Initially, Mr Callinan has been asked to advise whether he is satisfied that Mr Bain has proven that he is innocent of murder on the balance of probabilities and, if so, whether he is also satisfied Mr Bain has proven he is innocent beyond reasonable doubt. Mr Callinan is being asked the latter question at this stage because Cabinet has previously treated innocence beyond reasonable doubt as an example of “extraordinary circumstances”.

It’s fascinating that he has been asked to advise both on whether Bain is innocent on balance of probabilities and innocent beyond reasonable doubt. This will actually help get closure for this long running case.

Broadly there are four possibilities with regard to David Bain and the murder of his family. They are:

  1. David Bain is guilty beyond reasonable doubt – ruled by the second jury that he is not, so no longer a possibility
  2. David Bain is guilty on the balance of probabilities – if found to be so by Callinan, then no compensation
  3. David Bain is innocent on the balance of probabilities – if found to be so by Callinan, then eligible for compensation if there are “extraordinary circumstances”
  4. David Bain is innocent beyond reasonable doubt – if found to be so by Callinan, then almost beyound doubt he will get compensation

So (1) can not happen. If it is (2) or (4) then it is an easy decision for Cabinet. If it is (3) (innocent on balance but not beyond reasonable doubt) then it will be a finely balanced decision.

Camp David will want (4) and Camp Robin (2).

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