Karam crusade ends in triumph

By Jacqueline Smith, Simon Winter

Joe Karam enjoyed a few whiskeys last night to celebrate the freedom he said David Bain should not have had to wait 13 years for.

As Mr Bain's number-one supporter, Mr Karam has forked out millions to prove he was not the only one "seeing Martians".

Over the course of his campaign for two words - "not guilty" - Mr Karam lost his partner, his home, his friends and his fortune.

Standing next to Mr Bain outside the High Court at Christchurch yesterday, Mr Karam said: "What has really mattered is that the truth, as I said 13 years ago, has finally fallen where it has always been.

"It has only been a very, very unfortunate attitude by various authorities ... that has caused this thing to last until 2009 and put this good man here through what he has been through."

Mr Karam last year told the Herald he joined the Bain case in 1996, when he "very naively believed all I would do was take my concerns to the authorities who would take over from there. Unbelievably, they didn't - they thought I was the enemy."

Asked why he pursued the cause with such vigour, he said: "Over time it became a little bit blurred as to why I was doing it. I wanted the fact that I was right to be proven."

In an interview with the Listener in 2007, Mr Karam confessed that every morning for two years, he would wake up, sink to the edge of the bed and cry.

"One of the hardest things has been the loneliness. I'm the only bugger left. No one's there to pat you on the back."

His life on the Bain campaign - including being tracked by a private investigator hired by the police - was a far cry from his glory years as an All Black fullback and league player.

Before joining the Bain crusade he had turned his hand to business, making a fortune from ventures including hamburger bars, country pubs and New Zealand's first major independent vending machine company.

He had investment properties, a launch and racehorses, his children attended King's College and he lived on a 4ha block in Clevedon.

After his 1997 book David and Goliath: The Bain Family Murders, he became the public face for a perceived miscarriage of justice, fighting the case as far as the Privy Council in London.

In 2007, after Mr Bain's convictions were quashed by the Privy Council, he told Victoria University's Salient magazine what had kept him going.

"What I've really been driven by is an absolute certainty that David Bain ... never got a fair go."

- NZ Herald

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