David Bain’s years-long fight for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment reportedly faces a fresh setback.
The government has just received a new report by retired Australian judge Ian Callinan, QC, four years after it shelved another judge’s inquiry backing compensation for Bain.
The government is yet to consider the confidential report, but its key finding – that Bain does not meet the “innocent beyond reasonable doubt” threshold – has already been leaked to the New Zealand Herald.
This does not mean he will not get compensation. To summarise there are four possible conclusions that can be reached:
- Guilty beyond reasonable doubt – not available as a jury has found this not to be the case
- Guilty on balance of probabilities – will not get compensation
- Innocent on balance of probabilities – may get compensation
- Innocent beyond reasonable doubt – will get compensation
It is no big surprise that he has not been found innocent beyond reasonable doubt. There is plenty of doubt.
The big question is whether the report has found him guilty or innocent on the balance of probabilities.
My view is that if he is found innocent on balance of probabilities, he should get compensation.
Thinking further about this though, the judge would only have looked at innocent beyond reasonable doubt if he had already established innocent on the balance of probabilities. So it appears we do know the outcome – that the judge has determined that when you take all the evidence together, it is more likely Bain is innocent than guilty.
Again if this is the case, I think Bain should get compensation. It is time for the saga to end.