David Bain trial: latest updates

With the defence in the David Bain retrial beginning its case, we're providing live updates throughout the day. Hit refresh to see the latest from Christchurch High Court. Or you can follow us on Twitter

4.55pm: The Christchurch High Court retrial of David Bain for the 1994 murders of five family members has been adjourned for the day.

4.43pm: Ms Pease said the disturbing stories that were published by Robin Bain "clearly showed a lack of systems in place".

Earlier the court heard how three of Mr Bain's pupils had written violent stories that included parents being shot and stabbed.

She said she was concerned that other children might read them and that the child authors may be judged by parents in the community.

Ms Pease said the responsibility for publishing the stories ultimately rests with the principal.

4.34pm: Maryanne Pease carried out post-traumatic event counselling at the school where Robin Bain was principal, shortly after the Bain family killings.

Ms Pease now works with autistic children in Australia.

She has told the court that Mr Bain's classroom was chaotic and messy.

"First thoughts, I thought perhaps the children without their teacher and principal there had run amok but it was much more than that," Ms Pease said.

She said even the storage areas were messy.

Ms Pease said there was no student work on the walls and assessments were not kept up to date.

4.19pm: Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery, Mr Wilden said Robin Bain was positive about some aspects of the school including school grounds, computers and a Japanese exchange student.

When asked by Mr Raftery if it was in his function to do a medical assessment of Mr Bain, Mr Wilden said he had the experience and qualifications to do so.

Mr Raftery asked if Mr Bain was his patient. Mr Wilden said no he wasn't and confirmed that he had not made a clinical assessment of Mr Bain.

Mr Wilden said he was at the school after the Bain family killings and told the court that of the 33 students, it was the older ones that were left traumatised.

He also answered criticism from a witness Darlene Thomson, who worked with Mr Bain at the time the killings occurred.

Ms Thomson told the court last month that the children appeared distressed after seeing Mr Wilden. Mr Wilden said that was not his recollection and described Ms Thomson as "inexperienced".

"That's her, I assume, valid opinion but it has limitations," Mr Wilden said.

Mr Wilden said while Mr Bain had positive values and a positive attitude, he was struggling to "identify the individual needs and set programmes according to their needs".

3.40pm: A psychologist who went to Robin Bain's school after five Bain family members were found shot in their home, told the court that stories written by Mr Bain's students were inappropriate given some of the children had witnessed the shootings at Aramoana.

The court has previously heard how three of the stories were violent and two of them included families being shot and stabbed.

Cyril Wilden said parents and Board of Trustee members were "concerned" about the stories.

David Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed QC, asked Mr Wilden what he thought about a warning that appeared to "adult readers" in the newsletter

"I found it quite disturbing that a person or principal of a school would put that at the top of a newsletter, just inappropriate as far as I'm concerned," Mr Wilden said.

He said it was the principal of a school who is responsible for content that is sent out in a school newsletter.

3.21pm: A psychologist and friend of Robin and Margaret from their university days has said that Margaret Bain came and visited him three weeks before the killings.

Cyril Wilden said one afternoon he looked up to find Margaret looking at him.

He said Margaret talked to him for half-an-hour.

Mr Wilden said Margaret had been religious but had become involved in "new age" religion which included a pendulum that she wore around her neck to help her do the shopping.

Mr Wilden said Margaret was "not in a rational state of mind".

He said after the killings, he went out to Robin Bain's school to help the children in his role as psychologist.

Mr Wilden said he was questioned by police for half-an-hour to an hour about the school computer but has not been contacted by police since.

3.15pm: A psychologist and friend of Robin Bain has told the court that Robin Bain had "lost his cool" with two of his pupils and hit them.

Cyril Wilden said he learned that two of Mr Bain's students had been struck.

Mr Wilden said when he visited the school after the Bain killings he found the school in chaos with clutter and no learning programmes for the students.

"I was most concerned about what that might have represented.

"He was definitely under severe emotional stress from some part of his life," Mr Wilden said.

He said Mr Bain also had a "strong body odour" and looked unkempt and was on a "spiral of downward coping and in urgent need of guidance".

3.02pm: Robin Bain looked gaunt and had some "deep-seated emotional problems", a psychologist has told the High Court in Christchurch.

Cyril Wildon was a psychologist who specialised in providing assistance in post-traumatic stress to schools in the Otago area.

He said in 1993 and 1994 Mr Bain showed signs of being under stress and that was reflected in Mr Bain's messy school office.

Mr Wilden said Mr Bain was suffering from "some sort of reactive depression or situational depression" which can be short-term.

He said he asked Mr Bain if he was getting medical help. Mr Wilden said he recalls Mr Bain "answering in the affirmative" but Mr Bain did not want to talk about it.

Earlier, Mr Wilden said he knew Margaret and Robin Bain when they were studying to become teachers at the Dunedin Teachers College in the 1960s.

He said Margaret Bain was intelligent and interested in music. Mr Wilden said he was in the same tutorials as Mr Bain and carried out field work with him.

"He had a sharp intellect, a wonderful wit and sense of humour that I always liked. I think we hit it off well in those days," Mr Wilden said.

2.40pm: Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery asked Mr Crowley if he was aware of a film called The Dolly with Purple Fingernails.

The film shows a resemblance to a story written by one of Robin Bain's pupils, in which a doll is responsible for murdering a family and loses a fingernail after each murder.

2.35pm: The head of the Special Education Service in Otago, who was in charge of sending in educational psychologists to Robin Bain's school after the shootings, said stories published in a school newsletter were inappropriate.

Patrick Crowley said the stories "in my opinion should never have been published and circulated to the community".

He said the principal was ultimately responsible for the stories.

Earlier the High Court in Christchurch heard how stories written by the children of Taieri Beach School, about parents being shot and stabbed, were published and sent out to parents in the week before the Bain family killings.

12.43pm: Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery, Ms Davidson said apart from the three violent stories, she would not have published another story because it had a "fear element" in it.

That story was about dinosaurs and one of the characters hears a "stomping sound".

Asked by Mr Raftery if she knew any of the backgrounds of the children, she said "no".

Mr Raftery asked if her concern was really about the stories being published and sent out to the community.

She confirmed that the stories were "of an unsuitable nature".

Under re-examination by David Bain's lawyer, Helen Cull, QC, Ms Davidson said if the stories were being sent out to the community, they would be vetted by the principal.

12.31pm: Defence witness Robyn Davidson has commented on stories written by Robin Bain's students that appeared in a school newsletter.

At least two of the stories are about characters whose parents are murdered.

Ms Davidson was a principal at Brighton school, 20km from Taieri Beach School where Robin taught and first met Mr Bain in 1968.

She told the court she would have contacted parents about the stories.

Ms Davidson said the stories were not suitable for children and had been altered by an adult.

"As a parent myself, I would have been furious," Ms Davidson said.


She said the writing had been changed and that could be seen in some of the sentence structures and the quality of grammar.

12.22pm: Defence witness Robyn Davidson visited Taieri Beach School, where Robin Bain had been principal, in the days after the Bain family killings.

She said there was mail "on the tables, on chairs, underneath chairs. There was stuff stacked in corners. It was unbelievable".

Ms Davidson said there was mail from the Ministry of Education unopened.

She said the classroom was also a mess and did not have much of the children's work on the wall.

"The classroom was not conducive to learning," Ms Davidson said.

She said she had not been interviewed by police.

Kevin MacKenzie, who was president of the Taieri Schools Association when the killings occurred, earlier told the court he had not been interviewed by police either.

Mr MacKenzie said he had contacted David Bain's supporter, Joe Karam.

12.13pm: Robin Bain was "well presented when he began the job, he seemed keen," a former colleague of Robin Bain told the court.

Robyn Davidson was the headmaster of Brighton School, about 20km away from Taieri Beach School, at the time of the Bain family killings.

Ms Davidson said in 1993, she noticed a change in Robin.

"He looked worn out and bedraggled.

"His clothing was not what you would expect a principal of a rural school to wear," Ms Davidson said,

She said he wore old clothing, a jersey and an open shirt and appeared "scruffy and unkempt".

"He was obviously in need of a shower. When you were sitting near him in a meeting, particular in the winter with the heating on," Ms Davidson said.

"He was pale and emotionally flat," she said.

She said at a meeting of the local principals' association, Robin was looking down at his knees and complained that he could not even get an interview after applying for jobs.

Ms Davidson said a seminar was organised to help Robin and one or two others with applying for work.

"Our major focus was Robin Bain because I could see it was wrenching him apart," she said.

11.30am: The court has heard how children in Robin Bain's class wrote stories about characters who killed police and their families.

One story that David Bain's lawyer read out included the character of a boy who shot 100 police before shooting his mother and father.

The story, by a nine year-old, included the words: "He shot his Mum, it was fun. He shot his Dad, it was funnier".

Another story is about a girl whose doll kills her mother, father, sister and brother.

"The whole thing is weird and disturbing," said defence witness Kevin MacKenzie, who was president of the Taieri Schools Association when the killings occurred.

"As you go through the story, it is one disturbing phrase after another," he said.

Mr MacKenzie was asked by David Bain's lawyer Michael Reed, QC, if he, as an experienced school principal, would have published the stories.

"Absolutely not. I would've taken quite drastic action with the child who had written it," Mr MacKenzie said.

The stories were printed in a school newsletter that went home to parents on the Thursday before the Bain family killings.

The newsletter carried the following warning: "Reader warning: Some topics may disturb adult viewers".

11.10am: The president of the Taieri Schools Association has told the court Robin Bain was "a bit smelly" and depressed at the last meeting he attended before the Bain family killings.

Kevin MacKenzie said when he first met Robin, he was "quite bright and chatty".

"He would consistently berate the rest of us for not being up to speed with computers and he was absolutely right," Mr MacKenzie said.

However, Mr MacKenzie said Robin was depressed because he had been turned down from several jobs he had applied for.

"He seemed quite dishevelled; hair was all over the place," he said, adding that Robin "wasn't dressing like a professional".

10.38am: Defence witness Malin Stone, the headmaster who took over from Robin Bain at Taieri Beach School in 1994, has told the court Robin was a mentor to him and at the cutting edge of computer aided teaching in Otago.

"He was streets ahead of anyone else I know, that's why I latched on to him," Mr Stone said.

Mr Stone described Robin as motivated, interesting and "laid back".

He told the court he was teaching at Berwick School, about 20km from Taieri Beach School, in the early nineties.

He said he and Robin took their classes on a shared school camp in April, 1994, just two months before the killings.

Mr Stone said on the first day of camp, "Robin was okay but I was surprised he didn't do a lot to help."

He said Robin then disappeared into his cabin saying that he didn't feel well and "did absolutely nothing to help".

"He seemed to have lost a lot of interest in schooling and life," Mr Stone said.

He said Robin had applied for better jobs outside of Taieri Beach School but did not get them and felt discouraged.

Mr Stone said he also attended a teacher's training college course with Robin Bain, during which Robin "verbally abuses the lecturer".

"His voice was raised and you could see it in his face, the anger in his face, you know? when somebody goes red," Mr Stone said.

10.21am: Robin Bain was "interesting" and "fun to be around" but in 1994, the year of the Bain family murders, he was "quiet, involved with his own thoughts and was not motivated", the defence's first witness has told the court.

Bain, 37, is on trial for murdering his parents and three siblings in their Dunedin family home on June 20, 1994.

His defence is that his father Robin, 58, killed his family before turning the rifle on himself.

Malin Stone, the headmaster who took over from Robin Bain at Taieri Beach School in 1994 has been called as the first defence witness in the trial of David Bain.

Mr Stone said he found no evidence of planning or programming after taking over from Robin Bain.

"There was no order to anything. The teacher's table, the classroom desks were all a mess. The resource materials were all chaotic. In general, everything was dishevelled," Mr Stone said.

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