Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Bain compensation: Karam slams Minister

David Bain with Joe Karam. Photo / File photo
David Bain with Joe Karam. Photo / File photo

Long-time David Bain advocate Joe Karam has compared Justice Minister Judith Collins to the KGB and Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe by "secretly" commissioning a peer review into Mr Bain's commission recommendation.

Mr Bain yesterday lodged a judicial review into Ms Collins' actions at the High Court at Auckland.

The claim includes allegations Ms Collins breached Mr Bain's rights to natural justice and his rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, acted in bad faith, abused her power, and acted in a biased, unreasonable and predetermined manner.

Today, Mr Karam said Mr Bain's legal team heard in November through the "legal grapevine" that a review had been commissioned into a report by former Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie.

"We know very well that Cabinet have the ultimate discretion, but from the minute that that report arrived there has been a secret and secretive process adopted by the minister - in the face of letters, even from us, she has virtually told us to mind our own business," he told Radio New Zealand.

Mr Karam said it was that secrecy that Mr Bain wanted the High Court to look at.

"She said she adopted a proper process. Well secret missions by the government are SAS, KGB, Robert Mugabe-type operations ... this is the Minister of Justice, not the Minister of War we're talking about."

Yesterday, Mr Karam said Mr Bain had been left with no option to take the court action, but he was doing it reluctantly.

Ms Collins had stated she intended to recommend further options to Cabinet on Monday, he said.

"In the circumstances, a request has been made to the Crown that any further action in relation to David's claim be deferred pending the outcome of this judicial review," Mr Karam said.

In a statement from Ms Collins' office, she warned that any decision on Mr Bain's compensation would be delayed even longer because of the court action.

It would be unacceptable for Cabinet to base its decision for compensation on an unsafe and flawed report, she said.

"That would not have resulted in justice for anyone, let alone Mr Bain."

She said Mr Bain's request for the Government to put the compensation application on hold while a judicial review went ahead would only result in a further delay.

Mr Bain was acquitted of killing five family members in 2009, and has made a bid for compensation for spending more than 13 years in prison for the murders.

Justice Binnie's report found that on the balance of probabilities Mr Bain was innocent of murdering his parents, two sisters and brother in Dunedin in 1994 and had been wrongfully imprisoned.

Ms Collins had the report peer reviewed by former New Zealand High Court judge Robert Fisher, who found inaccuracies.

Last week, Prime Minister John Key said a further report into the compensation bid seemed likely.

Read more: Bain takes High Court action against Collins

- APNZ

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