A confidential report on the David Bain compensation case apparently finds Bain not "innocent beyond reasonable doubt".
Bain will not receive a dime then, unless the Government goes against the review findings.
The Government is now being accused of moving the goalposts to avoid paying Bain compensation. That they went shopping for the result they wanted and manipulated the process.
There were no such accusations when the Government started the process and appointed Canadian judge Ian Binnie to review the case for compensation.
Justice Minister Judith Collins, a lawyer by the way, ordered a peer review because she wasn't satisfied that Binnie's report stacked up.
If you are a competent Justice Minister and you receive a report you think is "suspect" you have a duty to review it. Collins did just that.
The review by retired Judge Robert Fisher QC found Binnie's report flawed. To be precise, he found "several errors of law".
Collins' instincts and judgment was proven to be correct. Some of the top legal brains in the country came to the same conclusion - that Binnie's report fell short.
Remember, this latest review came about because Bain challenged the process in court but the case was halted in a confidential settlement with the Crown last year, paving the way for a fresh review by Ian Callinan, QC, a retired Australian judge.
The Bain compensation case was becoming so contentious new Justice Minister Amy Adams had only one option - get a third judge to look at it.
The Government couldn't possibly pay out compensation on the back of the Binnie report.
Judge Callinan apparently didn't find there were "extraordinary circumstances" in the Bain case, or that Bain was innocent beyond reasonable doubt, to warrant compensation.
And guess what? The appointment letter from Judith Collins to Binnie asked him to look at what might be regarded as "extraordinary" - one of the examples being "unequivocal innocence".
Which is interesting - Binnie didn't think Bain innocent beyond all reasonable doubt either.
It's understandable that Binnie is bitter. His reputation has been questioned. But the simple fact is he made errors.
Binnie is now saying that the Government can't ignore public opinion and should pay compensation to Bain. ... no, no, no judge ... you don't decide multi-million dollar wrongful imprisonment claims on opinion polls.
What played out here was: Minister Collins smelt a rat in Binnie's report - it was confirmed by both Judge Fisher and now Callinan.
There is no shifting the goalposts or manipulation.
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