Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Minister aimed to discredit Binnie report: Karam

Lindy Chamberlain's lawyer says he's ashamed of 'appalling' Justice Minister Judith Collins

Judith Collins didn't think shocking pink was inappropriate at the press conference on Thursday. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Judith Collins didn't think shocking pink was inappropriate at the press conference on Thursday. Photo / Mark Mitchell

David Bain's strongest supporter, Joe Karam, has accused Justice Minister Judith Collins of inflicting "injustice almost as extreme" as Bain's original 1995 murder trial.

In an opinion piece written for the Weekend Herald today, Karam argues that Ms Collins ended a "transparent and just approach" which began when former Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie was asked to decide whether Mr Bain should receive compensation, for the 13 years he spent in jail.

He said the Justice Minister's statement condemning Justice Binnie was extraordinary and he believed it was a calculated move to discredit the Binnie report before it had been seen by the public.

Bain's legal team were now questioning why they were never given the report and why they were not told former judge Robert Fisher was peer-reviewing the report or allowed to make representations to him.

Meanwhile, Lindy Chamberlain's lawyer said yesterday that David Bain had been treated worse than his own client by the justice system - led at the very top by the "appalling" Judith Collins.

Australian-based New Zealander Stuart Tipple said he'd followed the Bain case closely. He'd been aghast at Ms Collins' criticism of the independent report written by Justice Binnie while she'd kept it confidential for months without handing a copy to Bain's lawyers. Those actions were a bad enough breach of natural justice but her continued attacks against the judge this week continued the vein where Ms Collins was acting as judge and jury, he said.

"I'm really disturbed there's not more legal people in New Zealand that are standing up and saying this is just not good enough.

"I used to think ... during that time representing Lindy Chamberlain, I used to think 'this wouldn't happen if I was in New Zealand' but having seen what happened in the Bain case I think he has been subjected to actually worse injustices than the Chamberlains.

"I just find her conduct on the whole matter appalling and I'm ashamed. Deeply ashamed," he said.

Ms Collins, who met Karam informally at an Auckland cafe yesterday morning, said she would take the advice of Ministry of Justice officials before any formal meeting with him and Mr Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed QC.

Ms Collins has said she would be happy to accept submissions from the Bain team before taking any recommendations to Cabinet next year in the compo claim.

Mr Karam told TV3 he had offered Ms Collins "an olive branch".

Ms Collins has said she wants another review of the case, possibly led by Robert Fisher, the Auckland QC who criticised the official report by Ian Binnie, QC, a former Supreme Court judge of Canada.

But Mr Karam and Mr Reed believe there is no need for one.

"There should not be another report," Mr Reed told the Weekend Herald.

"Binnie has answered what he was asked to do and has found David innocent. That should be an end of the matter.

"I don't accept the Fisher criticism at all. It amounts to nit-picking.

"The Binnie report is extremely detailed, extremely thorough, and he has reached the decision that David Bain is innocent. That is exactly what he was asked to consider."

- NZ Herald

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