One of the jurors who convicted David Bain of the murders of his family says the points of evidence reviewed by the Privy Council were not what he relied upon.
The juror, who has requested anonymity, says he believes the jury made the right decision on the evidence before them.
The juror spoke to the Herald on Sunday because he wanted the public to understand the view of one of the 12 involved in the 1995 trial. He was not approached by the Herald on Sunday - he came forward after inquiries from an unrelated third party. The Herald on Sunday spoke to the man after making it clear he was entitled to withdraw from speaking, or stop the interview, at any stage.
Instead, he said he was happy to speak and wanted the public to know his views in light of recent events.
He spoke of the incredible pressure the original hearing put on the jurors, saying it had a far-reaching impact on them and their families.
"If I had any great doubts [about the conviction] it would have followed me much more. It would have distorted my thinking. If the slightest murmur [of doubt] had come up, I would have thought 'did we do the right thing?'.
"We did the right thing."
The juror said that even after reading the Privy Council outcome, he remained comfortable with the decision he reached - and said his personal view had not altered.
The juror said the jury had trouble with much of the expert evidence. Both sides presented a string of experts on points of evidence - all "highfalutin people putting their point forward". In the end, the experts cancelled each other out.
He said the trial was one that plainly focused on David Bain, who was charged, rather than Robin Bain.
He said Bain presented himself well and strongly in court. He was "always very sure of himself" and he did not present as "someone who was burdened by this tremendous crime".
The jury did not deliberate long: "At the end of the day, everybody had seen enough, heard enough. When it came to the end, the final verdict, the whole thing had to be laid out and compared. At the end, it was focused on David. Everything pointed to him."
Evidence about the time the computer was turned on, and eyewitnesses who saw Bain delivering papers that June morning, was "very confusing".
"What I thought was most amazing was the brother's room. A hell of a mess, the blood in the room, everywhere. The fight in there must have been a battle. Whoever did that in there, the whole house must have been woken up.
"David was young and his father was an older man. How he could fight with his son, I don't know. I couldn't imagine the father could have the stamina to fight his son like that.
"There was some skin and [David] had some marks too. It was an incredible picture. I couldn't understand how anyone could come out of there without more evidence. [David] had a few marks here and there."
The juror said the state of the bedroom "had great impact on me". "How the blood got so high up on the walls, I don't know. I don't think an older man could have handled it without showing many, many more marks.
"When Robin was found, he did not look in any way like someone who had a mighty fight with his son," the juror recalled.
He said consideration was given to the order in which the family were killed, and weight was given to the prosecution's assertion that Bain killed four members of the family, did his paper round then lay in wait for his father, whose morning routine led him straight to the lounge where he would pray.
"I knew his handiwork would not have been discovered - [that Robin] would go straight in that room."
He said in the years after, as the campaign to free Bain grew, he determinedly paid scant attention. "We had done our job. You could linger on, chewing on it all the time. If doubts or questions came up, we had the evidence put in front of us and out of this we made our judgment. When I think back, they were tough weeks. The jury made out of 12 people was put together [of] very different characters. Some could take it easy, and some were suffering. I was always thinking I could take it but my dear wife told me 'you were different, you slept differently'."
In the aftermath, jurors were given counselling. They also kept in touch, meeting socially for support. Some among them were suffering significantly, and some of their marriages were affected.
"I just pushed it out of my mind. It was so horrendous nobody wanted to live with it. The last day [after the verdict] we were led away into a different room and it was a card-house - everyone fell together.
"I never thought about it again. I didn't want to. You push it away in the back of your mind. What should you think about it?
"You never knew them personally and he was a fellow who killed his family. You don't want to ponder it. It was a nasty experience."
He said he was amazed at the degree of support that surrounded Bain, and the strength of the campaign for his freedom. Other high-profile cases - he specifically named convicted murderer Scott Watson - had not attracted similar support or sympathy.
"People saying 'we're still here, we're still supporting him'. I don't know why. You think 'why are they so strongly behind him?"'
He said the books - by Joe Karam and James McNeish - seemed to balance each other out, although he read neither. The questions often raised did not shift his faith in the conviction.
The stress of the trial and the impact of continuing to live in Dunedin's small community weighed on the jury. It led many to consider the need for a system overhaul, in which a panel of judges would hear evidence, rather than 12 members of the public.
The juror said a retrial would be difficult but might be necessary for Bain himself.
"But where do you get objective witnesses from now? Everybody has read the detail. Thirteen years is a long time. He himself would definitely like to have a clear name again."
The juror said he would not want to sit on the jury hearing the case.
"I wouldn't do it."
The juror, despite his belief, applauded Joe Karam's passion in fighting for Bain, describing it as incredible and amazing. To Karam, he would say: "Good on you."
To Bain, he said: "We, as a jury, have done our job the best we could do. I wish you all the best."
How the world has changed
New Zealand is a very different place than it was when David Bain was jailed in May 1995. Should Bain emerge from prison, he may struggle to cope in a strange land, so here is his guide to 12 years of changes:
Privy Council: No longer the highest court of appeal. New Zealand severed ties to London in January 2004, to show we are a grown-up country.
Prime Minister: Jim Bolger, the 1995 PM, is now chairman of Kiwibank (it's a new bank, about the only one that isn't owned by Australians).
2007 Prime Minister: Helen Clark; untouchable leader, despite her love of art and rugby causing her discomfort. Only leader Labour has had since 1995. National has had five.
Paul Holmes: Was a broadcaster in 1996. Now a dancer, after flirting with being a stunt pilot and pop singer.
Reality TV: Cheap form of TV, in which "celebrity" no-hopers go to tropical destinations, eat bugs, get life-threatening diseases, do the tango, get voted off.
Richard and Judy: Former TV newsreading glam couple now replaced by computer-generated clones (we suspect).
All Blacks: Once a rugby team, now a highly paid group of entertainers with their own pay TV channel. Still haven't won the World Cup.
Your house: Would now have been worth hundreds of thousands.
TradeMe: Online garage sale, with the greatest benefit being no one can turn up at 5am.
Princess Diana: Dead.
Pope John Paul II: Dead.
World Trade Center: Gone.
Tony Blair: British PM. Almost gone.
Auckland traffic: Going nowhere fast.
- Kevin Norquay of NZPA