Key Points:

A stay application to stop the trial of David Cullen Bain on charges of murdering five members of his family in Dunedin in 1994 will go ahead in closed court today.

All of the proceedings concerning the bid for a stay, and other pre-trial matters which began being heard yesterday, were suppressed by Justice Graham Panckhurst.

The High Court at Christchurch has set aside a week for the remaining pre-trial arguments, with Bain's 12-week trial due to start on March 2.

Bain was not present for the hearing yesterday, but his supporter former All Black Joe Karam was present in the public gallery.

Justice Panckhurst reminded members of the media as soon as the proceedings began that the hearing was subject to the same blanket suppression order that was applied to other Bain pre-trial arguments heard over the past year.

Bain is charged with the murders of his father, mother, two sisters and brother.

He was found guilty at his first trial in 1995 and served 13 years before the Privy Council decided a new trial should be held.

The Privy Council also heard a stay application last year, on grounds that included witnesses having died since the first trial, the loss or destruction of exhibits, and new evidence that had arisen.

The council decided the stay - which would stop the new trial proceeding - could be considered in New Zealand.

- NZPA