Bain breaks his silence

Legal colleagues rush to back Justice Binnie.

David Bain and fiancee Liz Davies at home in Christchurch yesterday.  Photo / Jason Boa
David Bain and fiancee Liz Davies at home in Christchurch yesterday. Photo / Jason Boa

David Bain has broken his silence on the battle over his compensation claim by comparing his situation to that of Arthur Allan Thomas, the man whose wrongful conviction for the Crewe killings rocked the nation.

Justice Minister Judith Collins caused an outcry when she first criticised an independent report into Bain's compensation bid for containing errors, then released it to the media.

Bain, yesterday making Christmas mince pies at the Christchurch home he shares with fiancee Liz Davies when the Herald on Sunday visited, confirmed how hard he had been hit by Collins' salvo.

"After all the excitement, I can truly understand Arthur Allan Thomas' comment when he said something like no NZ judge has ever helped him."

Thomas was convicted in 1971 of the Harvey and Jeannette Crewe murders, but pardoned and released from prison in 1979 - and paid compensation. Police were found to have planted evidence.

Bain said that was all he intended saying on the issue while his supporters, including former All Black Joe Karam and legal adviser Michael Reed QC, dealt with the ramifications of the rejection of the compensation report written by retired Canadian Justice Ian Binnie. Karam said Bain would be relaxing over Christmas with Davies' family.

Justice Binnie, 73, recommended compensation be paid to Bain as he believed he was unlikely to have been responsible for the 1994 murder of his parents, brother and two sisters. But Collins slammed his report as going beyond its mandate and containing extensive, serious errors. She wants another report done.

Meanwhile, colleagues of Justice Binnie have circled the wagons in his defence.

Robert C Brun, QC, President of the Canadian Bar Association, released a statement to the Herald on Sunday.

"He is held in the highest esteem by both the legal community and the judiciary for his integrity, skill, and experience," Brun said. "He is praised for his honesty and intellect, and his reputation extends well beyond Canada's borders.

"An elected member of the International Commission of Jurists, he has appeared before the International Court of Justice and various international tribunals in governmental litigation matters, and has acted as Canadian representative in high-profile disputes involving France and the US."

Justice Binnie was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1998 where he served until his retirement in 2011. He was appointed to the court directly from a 30-year career as a litigator. In the early 1980s he served for four years as Canada's Associate Deputy Minister of Justice.

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- Herald on Sunday

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