David Bain did not confirm or deny killing his family when asked, but said he hated his father and did not want him in the family home, a court heard yesterday.

The High Court at Christchurch was told about conversations members of the extended family had with Bain after the death of his parents and three siblings, and how some of his ideas were considered "inappropriate".

An aunt said Bain asked for a birthday party to be held for his dead sister, Arawa, in the house where the killings occurred, and for the song Who Wants to Live Forever to be played for his other dead sister, Laniet, at the funeral.

He also specified the type of bra Arawa, 19, should be dressed in for the funeral.

Bain, 37, is charged with murdering his family in their Dunedin home on June 20, 1994. His defence team says his father, Robin, 58, shot the rest of the family before turning the rifle on himself.

Bain's uncle Michael Bain told the court he went to visit him in prison on June 28, 1994, after he had been arrested.

Mr Bain said he wanted to ask if he had killed his family because no one else had put the question to him.

"I used the words, 'Did you do it?' He didn't say, yes, he did it. He did not say he didn't. The words he used, from memory, were, 'I have told my side of it to the police, and I'll stick to that'."

Mr Bain said he spoke to his nephew during another prison visit about his "space-outs", in which David said he would be "out of it" for about 20 minutes at a time, but considered this a "hiccup", rather than a serious problem.

A friend has already given evidence that Bain suggested he might have experienced one of these episodes in a 20-minute period he could not account for on the morning of the killings.

Bain's aunt Valerie Boyd said she talked to him about his family two days after the killings, and he spoke about how he hated his father.

"He said he [Robin] was sneaky, he used to listen in to conversations that had nothing to do with him. He said [Robin] wasn't accepting that they didn't want him there, that it was his family, and it was his house, and he was staying."

Mrs Boyd said Bain had detailed plans for the family funeral, including the music, flowers, clothing, jewellery and who would do the tributes.

"If it wasn't what he wanted, he switched off.

"He wanted Arawa to wear a particular gown and a superbra.

"He had chosen Who Wants to Live Forever for Laniet, which I thought was completely inappropriate."

Mrs Boyd said when she told Bain a birthday party for Arawa at the home was inappropriate, he suggested the party could be held at her grave.

Michael Bain and another uncle, John Boyd, had arranged for the Bain family home to be destroyed after the killings, and Mr Bain said David had no objections. The Fire Service carried out a controlled burn to destroy the house.

Asked in hindsight if the "spectacular" fire was a mistake, Mr Bain said he was saddened when he saw it.

The trial was called to a halt early yesterday because of the absence of a juror, but is due to continue today.