Bain flies out of Christchurch

By Jarrod Booker

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David Bain flew from Christchurch bound for Auckland today - his first time on a plane in about 15 years.

Bain told assembled media at Christchurch Airport that the last 24 hours had been "a lot of fun" after being freed from prison yesterday, despite all the attention.

"I didn't sleep. I didn't bother. I was too high," he said.

"It's a complete reversal of everything that I have had for the last...13 years, where every day was controlled, every day was monitored, and now I'm walking along in the public and dealing with all of you. It's a strange experience."

He walked into the airport today with an entourage of supporters led by chief campaigner Joe Karam, and followed by a mob of journalists.

His presence drew the attention of all in the airport, and one member of the public shouted: "Well done. Fantastic. Well done Joe Karam."

Bain boarded a flight with Mr Karam bound for Auckland, where he will stay in a hotel tonight, before going to live with Mr Karam at his Te Kauwhata property in Waikato.

"I'm looking forward to meeting Joe's family, and meeting all the people I haven't seen up there as well, because I've got a whole bunch more friends up there that I have to catch up with," Bain said.

"And then Joe's going to take me away to go fishing somewhere, so that sounds quite exciting. I'm looking forward to it, I really am."

Bain said he could not even describe the feeling of being in the public eye after so long behind bars. "I'm a bit lost for words at the moment."

Earlier today he was presented with a red and black Canterbury jumper, knitted by a member of the public.

Overwhelmed by the attention, he accepted the jersey in good humour, saying he was actually an Otago supporter but has probably lived in Canterbury long enough to switch.

About 20 friends were at a party at Christchurch's upmarket Clearwater Resort with Bain last night.

Mr Karam said: "There were little children here, and old people who actually prayed that they would still be around when the day finally came, and they were, so it was a very beautiful evening."

He added: "David was bouncing kids up and down on his knee. We had pizzas and potato chips. You know, he was in very, very nice, happy surroundings."

Bain is under strict bail conditions which prevent him from travelling to the South Island, Hamilton, or Wellington, where extended family members live.

Mr Karam described the past week as having been "very rewarding and satisfying" but told Radio New Zealand it had also been "high pressure" for him, and both he and Bain needed some time out.

He said they were planning to spend a few days on a boat fishing and would then hopefully have the time and opportunity to talk about Bain's future.

Catherine Spencer, who works with prisoners and helps them cope with life in the community upon their release, says yesterday's court decision is a big step forward, but the speed of events could make it difficult for Bain to adjust to life on the outside.

She said: "He's a remarkable man. He has a maturity about him that has meant that he's been able to endure all of this. He's extremely pleased and over the moon and happy to be with his friends."

Bain was released from prison yesterday after the the London-based Privy Council last week quashed Bain's convictions for the murders of five members of his family in 1994, saying he had been the victim of a "substantial miscarriage of justice".

Justice John Fogarty ruled in the High Court at Christchurch that Bain be freed on bail while Solicitor-General David Collins QC decided whether a retrial was warranted or feasible.

- with NZPA, NEWSTALK ZB

- NZ Herald

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