Canadian judge to hear David Bain's compo bid

David Bain. Photo / APN
David Bain. Photo / APN

A retired Canadian judge will decide whether David Bain will get compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.

Mr Bain was found guilty of murdering five family members in Dunedin in 1995, but a jury found him not guilty at a retrial in 2009.

The retrial came after the Privy Council in 2007 quashed his conviction after finding there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice.

Mr Bain's lawyers last year signalled he intended to claim compensation over his wrongful conviction and 13 years' imprisonment, but the process was held up while he waited for legal aid.

He has since decided to proceed without legal aid, allowing the case to move forward.

Justice Minister Simon Power today announced retired Canadian Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie would hear the case.

"Due to the long-running and high-profile nature of the case, and after consultation with Mr Bain's lawyers, it was decided a judge from outside New Zealand would be appointed," Mr Power said.

"Justice Binnie's appointment is a significant step in attempting to resolve Mr Bain's claim for compensation and a step towards achieving finality in this case."

Justice Binnie, a Supreme Court judge for more than 13 years, was chosen from a list of several senior judges.

He was appointed a Queen's Counsel in Ontario in 1979 and was Canada's deputy justice minister from 1982 to 1986.

Canada has a similar compensation regime to New Zealand, Mr Power said.

Mr Bain's claim for compensation falls outside cabinet guidelines because he was acquitted following a retrial, but can still be heard due to the discretion to consider claims in extraordinary circumstances.

"The compensation framework requires claimants to prove their innocence, and at a minimum, under Cabinet guidelines, Mr Bain will need to establish his innocence on the balance of probabilities.

"But because his case falls outside the guidelines, something more is required that demonstrates that the circumstances are extraordinary, and Justice Binnie will decide the best process for assessing Mr Bain's claim against this test," Mr Power said.

Justice Binnie would begin work on the case before the end of the year.


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