David Bain trial: Latest updates 13 May

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.

3.30pm: Judge Graham Panckhurst has dismissed the jury today after a legal argument was brought up in chambers.

The trial will reconvene tomorrow morning.

2:40pm: A man who was asked to employ David Bain's sister Laniet has told the court that a group of young women told him Laniet was being sexually abused by her father.

Stephen Cousins has told the court that he and his wife owned a small business that they were turning into a dairy, around the corner from the Bain home in Every St, Dunedin.

He said towards the end of 1993, a group of women came to see him.

"Some girls came to us and told us Laniet was trying to turn her life around. They explained to us she was being sexually abused by her father," Mr Cousins said.

After the evidence was given, Judge Graham Panckhurst called an adjournment.

1:05pm: A friend of David Bain has told the court he found it strange that Bain asked him for a lift on the night before five of the Bain family members were found dead in their Dunedin home.

Geoffrey Swift said Bain asked him for a lift for the first time because Bain was not wearing his glasses.

His evidence is important because the Crown has argued that Bain was wearing his mother's glasses, a lens of which was found in his brother Stephen's room. The defence argue that Bain was going without glasses.

Mr Swift said the pair were going to record their voices as samples for a music cd.

He said the two had coffee afterwards but Bain did not want a lift home and instead said he would get a lift with his sister, Laniet.


12:55pm: David Bain was always involved in all the "jokes and high-jinks" that went on backstage in the Opera society that he was a member of.

Bain was a member of Opera Alive where Lindsay Robertson met him.

Mr Robertson said Bain was "friendly with everyone" and had a tenor voice similar to that of New Zealand opera singer Jonathan Lemalu.

He also had met Robin Bain in a performance of Oklahoma.

Mr Robertson said a karaoke party had been organised for an after party but Robin Bain had organised a dance party.

He said Robin set up a lot of gear, including guitars and musical equipment, but realised something else had been organised.

"He very quietly packed up all this gear and went home. He didn't say anything and I felt very sorry for him," Mr Robertson said.


12:44pm: David Bain has been described as patient with a good sense of humour by a woman who knew him as an opera singer.

Patricia Napier was the wardrobe mistress for an Operatic society that Bain was a member of.

She said Bain was patient, despite having to go through a lot of make-up for one of his performances.

Ms Napier said the cast would play practical jokes on each other, during which Bain showed he had a good sense of humour.


12:37pm: A man who knew the Bain family has said Margaret Bain was happy that her son David had taken over as head of the house.

Geoffrey Swift said he went around to the Bain family house on the Friday on the week before five Bain family members were found dead in their Dunedin home.

Mr Swift said he dropped off a video to David Bain and was shown plans of a new family home being planned for the family by Margaret Bain.

He said Margaret Bain said David had taken over from his father as head of the house and was fixing some spouting that was causing problems with the neighbours.

Mr Swift met the Bain family through the Dunedin Opera Company and saw David, Laniet and Stephen together backstage on many occasions.

He said the three seemed to be close and would often sit together during breaks, "chatting and laughing".

Mr Swift said Bain had a good sense of humour and although he was teased by the cast, he took it well.

12:24pm: David Bain has been described as "impressive" as a class representative at Otago University who contributed to tutorials.

Professor of classics, John Barsby, was head of the Classical Studies department at Otago University for 24 years.

He said he met with Bain to discuss his class and found he was "quite impressive" and was sensible and constructive when asked about his class.

Prof Barsby said he attended a rehearsal of the play by Sophocles - Oedipus Rex - where Bain "acted as a leader" and was helping the rest of the performers.

"It's fairly hard to believe that he could have gone home and murdered..." But Prof Barsby was cut off by Bain's lawyer Michael Reed who said he was not allowed to say such a thing, "although I agree with you".

Prof Barsby said he was interviewed by a police constable about the play Oedipus Rex who asked questions about the plot structure.

In the play, Oedipus murders his father unkowingly.

Prof Barsby said the theory that someone would kill their father after rehearsing Oedipus Rex is flawed, given the outcome of the play.

In the play Oedipus gouges out his eyes after realising that he has killed his father and married his mother.

12:01pm: David Bain has been described as "warm, friendly and outgoing" by a former University of Otago German language teacher.

Catherine Spencer has told the High Court in Christchurch that David Bain asked her to look at some of the German songs he was learning so he could have them translated word for word.

She said she encouraged him to do an acting course because Bain was interested in an international music career and it could be of assistance.

Ms Spencer said she tried to visit Bain in prison once a month.


11.23am: Under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery, a school inspector has confirmed that a second report into Robin Bain's school was a lot better than the first.

ERO inspector Joan Withers has told the court that Robin Bain's school complied with many of the concerns raised by the Ministry of Education.

She said that when she wrote a follow-up report on the school the following year (1994), she chose her words carefully "because you can't run down a school completely".

She said there "was evidence that some of the work had been done".

Ms Withers said when a follow-up inspection was done, Mr Bain had a "bland, unemotional demeanor".

"He was still very withdrawn and this robotic answering to my questions continued," Ms Withers said.


10:55am: A school inspector who visited Taieri Beach School where Robin Bain was principal and teacher and found little work in his students' books and no assessment.

Joan Withers visited Taieri Beach School some time after August in 1993 as an Education Review Office (ERO) inspector.

She described Robin as a "walking cadaver" after raising concerns about the standard of teaching at his school. She described his face as having "no flicker of light there".

Ms Withers said Robin told her: "I know I haven't done these things".

She said when she first arrived at the school, she found Bain on the school computer with two or three students around him.

She told the High Court in Christchurch that when the morning bell went, Robin did not show any interest and students coming into the classroom.

"They were virtually playing, it was a very chaotic scene," Ms Withers said.


10.44am: A second chorus member who was rehearsing with David Bain shortly before five of his family members were found dead in their Dunedin home has said Bain was not wearing glasses on the day before the murders.

Sarah Cummins said she noticed Bain was not wearing his glasses on the Sunday before the murders because the shape of his face had changed.

10.25am: David Bain has been described as a "very nice man" by a woman who was in a play with Bain in Dunedin at the time of the killings.

Sarah Gallagher was in rehearsals with Bain for the play, Oedipus Rex.

She said she did not know Bain well but he was "polite".

Ms Gallagher said Bain turned up to rehearsals without glasses on the Sunday before the killings.

She said Bain said that he had fallen over and broken his glasses.

Her evidence is important because the Crown has argued that Bain was wearing his mother's glasses, a lens of which was found in his brother Stephen's room. The defence argue that Bain was going without glasses.

Ms Gallagher told the court she had only recently been contacted by police and had contacted Bain supporter Joe Karam to give a statement.

* David Bain, 37, is on trial for the murder of his parents and three siblings in their Dunedin home on June 20, 1994.

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