A former Canadian judge hired by the Government to report on the David Bain case says ministers' handling of Bain's claim for compensation has been a miscarriage of justice.
Toronto-based Justice Ian Binnie has returned to New Zealand to tell the Criminal Bar Association conference todaythat compensation claims by people whose convictions have been overturned should be "depoliticised".
He told the Weekend Herald that former Justice Minister Judith Collins had "a very definite bias" against Bain when she rejected Binnie's 2012 report finding that, "on the balance of probabilities", Bain was innocent of murdering his parents and three siblings in 1994.
Collins asked for a second opinion from former High Court Judge Robert Fisher.
Current Justice Minister Amy Adams later asked for a new report from retired Australian Justice Ian Callinan, who reported last year that Bain was not innocent on the same test of the "balance of probabilities".
$925,000 was offered by Amy Adams to settle a claim for an application for compensation that David Bain brought for his imprisonment - a deal which Bain accepted.
Collins said yesterdayshe still refuted all of Binnie's "allegations and insinuation".
Binnie said he accepted an invitation to speak out on the case again because he believed the settlement was unfair to Bain.
"I think what the Government attempted to do was to preserve its defence of the police," he said.
"I think what the Government did was to try to say, well, the stigma remains, he's still a killer of his family, but here's some money, buzz off.
"I think everybody really deserved a proper conclusion to it, not an expedient conclusion."
He said the process of seeking two more reports to refute his year-long investigation into the case "operated very unfairly towards David Bain".
Asked if it was a "miscarriage of justice" he said: "Yes. I think it was highly political. I was given a mandate by Simon Power when he was [Justice] Minister. Judith Collins turned out to be a minister of a different colour, who had a very definite bias, and it was not fair process to David Bain."
Binnie said his report "attempted to deal more directly with the evidence", whereas Justice Callinan " was more focused on the onus of proof".
"I don't think it's fair to put the onus of proof on someone who spent 13 years in prison when the proof consists of evidence that the police either failed to collect or, having collected, destroyed, or otherwise messed up," he said.
"The police mess up the playing field and then they throw the ball to David Bain to make his case without any financial support."
Binnie said the murderer had to be either David Bain or his father, Robin Bain, and he believed on the balance of probabilities that it was Robin.
"That's an extremely difficult conclusion to reach because clearly both men are quite sympathetic characters. The murder was totally out of character for both of them," he said.
"But it happened. So somehow you have to work your way through the evidence and say well, probably, who did it."
Asked to comment last night, Collins said Fisher's peer review found that Binnie's report was "flawed and would not withstand scrutiny".
"Additionally, the subsequent report by Hon Ian Callinan QC, also reached an entirely different conclusion from Judge Binnie. His comments are both untrue and unfounded."