David Bain's case against minister back in court

By Edward Gay

David Bain. Photo / John Kirk-Anderson
David Bain. Photo / John Kirk-Anderson

The Crown is "acting vindictively" in its bid to shift David Bain's case against Justice Minister Judith Collins to Wellington, a court has heard.

Lawyers for Mr Bain and the Crown were back at the High Court at Auckland today where Mr Bain is seeking a judicial review into how Ms Collins handled a report into his claim for compensation written by former Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie.

"The report was received, it was kept secret, a spurious basis of confidentiality was put forward and it was handed to the police," Mr Reed told the court.

He said Mr Bain was asking that his case against Mrs Collins be heard in Auckland.

Mr Reed said Mr Bain did not have legal aid, had a "modest job" in Christchurch and could not afford to take legal action against the Crown.

"We are close to - if not already - at the stage where we are being forced out of this case."

He said applying for legal aid was so time consuming that it was not worthwhile.

Mr Reed said while Mr Bain would find it difficult to fight his case in Wellington, the Crown were able to fly an experienced QC up to Auckland to argue that a two-day hearing be held in Wellington.

"The Crown appears to be acting vindictively," Mr Reed said.

He said if the Crown agreed to hear the case in Auckland, they would only face the extra cost of one night's accommodation.

"I haven't seen any bit of evidence as to why they want the case in Wellington. Why is it?"

He said because Justice Binnie interviewed Mr Bain in Auckland, Auckland was the proper place to hear the case.

But Mrs Collins' lawyer Kristy McDonald QC said Mr Bain was asking for special treatment.

She said Mr Bain's claims are in relation to Mrs Collins and her job as a Cabinet Minister and therefore should be heard in the capital.

"Despite the high profile of this case, generally, Mr Bain is not special ... There are many parties who are poor. Mr Bain has chosen to bring a judicial review.

"He has been acquitted after a retrial, as have other people, and with the greatest respect, there shouldn't be a special situation put in place," Ms McDonald said.

She said Mr Bain had not supplied detailed information about his finances and could have applied for legal aid if money was an issue.

Justice Patrick Keane reserved his decision.

Mr Bain alleges Mrs Collins abused his right to natural justice and his rights under the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, acted in bad faith, abused her power, and acted in a biased, unreasonable and predetermined manner.

Mr Bain was acquitted of the 1994 murders of his parents, two sisters and a brother after serving 13 years in prison.

He has applied for compensation for wrongful imprisonment. Compensation payments are at the discretion of Cabinet.

Justice Binnie's report found that on the balance of probabilities Mr Bain was innocent of the murders and had been wrongfully imprisoned.

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

- APNZ

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