Bitchin' Channels

A blog about television and radio with Paul Casserly

Paul Casserly: We need to talk about David

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David Tamihere and David Bain.
David Tamihere and David Bain.

It's like that joke about buses. You wait ages for a story on an infamous multiple murder to come along and then two turn up at once.

That was the case this week when David (Bain) and David (Tamihere) fronted up on Sunday and 60 Minutes to plead their cases.

In pure numbers it was Tamihere who won out by a nose, bringing in 413,000 viewers to David Bain's 350,000. That means the thick end of a million of us tuned in to gaze with our judgemental eyes upon these infamous men, hoping at the very least to gather more details to back up our firmly held preconceptions, our suspicions.

These will trotted out at dinner parties and barbeques - weather permitting - for weeks.

Memorable titbits from the Tamihere story will be sure to include the cop who had a "gut feeling", the bogus watch and the bogus testimony of fellow inmates.

It sure looks like the cops cooked the books, but was it because they "knew" that he did it? Or did they get it completely wrong? Discussions will be held about the car, the girl he killed, the woman he tied up, the vibe of the man himself.

His vibe seemed angry, although having Janet McIntyre prodding you with loaded questions would probably have the Dalai Lama shuffling in his seat.

She was playing Devil's advocate compared to Melanie Reid's softly-softly treatment of David Bain. Some saw the latter as PR rather than a hatchet job, and there's no doubt that those who maintain that Bain is guilty would have preferred a little more axe, a little more grind.

There were questions they would like to have heard and assertions that went by unchallenged. Why was he, as the computer message attested, the only one "who deserved to be stay?"

But this wasn't a retrial and there were no doubt some conditions, some understandings, some no-go areas, but there were also "tells" - if you were looking them.

Just as Tamihere's glib dismissal of previous grisly crimes raised hackles, so to did Bain's "I wasn't there".

He also suggested that people could either think he's innocent or think that he's done his time anyway, either way it's time to leave him alone.

We learnt that Bain was well liked at work. Some ladies said he was popular with some other, un-named, ladies. He was good with horses, he liked horses. These all helped us listen when he said, again, that he didn't do it, that he couldn't have, because he "wasn't there".

In my circle of friends there are those who agree with Bain and there are those who don't. After watching the programme neither camp has changed their view.

Backbenches host Wallace Chapman is an old mate of Bain and he sent me this when I asked for his reaction to the programme:

""The fact that David loved his family and had a great relationship with them might be new to the general public but not to his friends. He is one of the warmest, more genuine friends I've known and whether that quality comes from his family or elsewhere, I'd bet from what he's said, it is from his whanau."

As for Tamihere's story, the situation is far more fluid. The scoop was originally published in Metro, and the televised version (both the work of journalist Carolyn Meng Ye) shows its roots.

It was more like reading a Metro article, it was asking tough questions, it was re-litigating the case, while watching Bain was more like settling down with a Woman's Day, a cuppa and a Tim-Tam.

I reckon David Bain will be pleased with his outing. As for Tamihere, he may not be so chuffed. Thanks to the story he's now facing charges relating to breaching his parole conditions.

This is because the Sunday crew flew him over the site of the murders in the Coromandel, which is forbidden without the permission of his parole officer.

But his story is now well and truly out there, and if The X-Files has taught us anything, so, somewhere, hopefully, is the truth.

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