David's promise

By Julie Jacobson

A long-held promise by David Bain to pay back supporters once he was freed could be the impetus for a new campaign - seeking compensation for his time in jail.

Bain's first trial lawyer, Michael Guest, said he understood there was an agreement between Bain and lead advocate Joe Karam that any costs Karam incurred in his fight to free Bain would be repaid. However Karam said he had no such contract.

"David's always said... that if he's ever in the position to, he wants to pay back all the people who have helped him... and I've always told him the payback would be seeing him get his just rewards," said Karam.

Compensation would become an issue if the Solicitor-General decided against a retrial or Bain was acquitted. Guidelines are for $100,000 a year for each year of unlawful imprisonment, meaning Bain could get $1.3 million - more when loss of income is considered.

Former All Black Karam says the crusade has cost him millions.

Friends estimate that it could be as much as $4 million in terms of his time, loss of earnings and costs of legal and forensic experts.

Karam once owned 20-plus investment properties. They have gone. He says his work for Bain was a fulltime job up until the 2003 appeal. The former millionaire now lives on a 1ha property with what is described as a "lifestyle 70s brick and tile" house in Te Kauwhata with a QV of $385,000.

There's been some income from the three books he's written. More recently he's been involved in a subdivision in Te Kauwhata and, with one of his sons, owns a mobile coffee cart franchise.

Some money has come from the 200-strong Friends of David Bain group, whose activities have ranged from boot sales to raffles.

Rodney Wayne put the pair up at Christchurch's Clearwater Golf Estate the night Bain was bailed "I was happy for them to stay there as long they wanted but conditions of bail meant they couldn't spend more time there," Wayne said. "I hope they managed to bruise my credit card."

- Herald on Sunday

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