Editorial: Bring the Bain payout nonsense to an end

By Abigail Hartevelt

What an incredible waste of money this whole David Bain fiasco has been.

Already $500,000 has been spent on determining whether he should be paid compensation and still the Government doesn't seem to be any closer to its decision.

Mr Bain was convicted in 1995 of murdering his parents and three siblings, then acquitted at a retrial in 2009. He spent 13 years in jail between the trials, and applied for compensation after his acquittal.

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed the Government will "most probably" commission another report on Mr Bain's compensation application. This follows Justice Minister Judith Collins' rejection in December last year of the review by Ian Binnie, a former judge of the Canadian Supreme Court.

The Cabinet has been updated on possible options for settling the claim but a final recommendation is not expected until it meets in February.

Ms Collins said Mr Binnie had delivered a report with serious errors about the New Zealand law of evidence and she could not make a recommendation to the Cabinet based on it.

Mr Binnie found that on the balance of probabilities, Mr Bain was innocent of murdering his parents, two sisters and brother and had been wrongfully imprisoned for 13 years.

Former New Zealand High Court judge Robert Fisher peer-reviewed Mr Binnie's report for Ms Collins and she did not rule him out as a person who might conduct another report.

Mr Key said that while the cost was important, it was necessary to reach a robust conclusion by which New Zealanders could understand why any decision had been reached.

I think a lot of of us will be having difficulty understanding why a decision hasn't been reached.

Whatever anyone thinks, Mr Bain has been acquitted and surely we've had enough of going backwards and forwards about his right to compensation.

A decision on whether he deserves compensation surely shouldn't take this long and cost this much - money that could be better spent elsewhere. Make a decision and move on.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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