David Bain could receive a compensation payout of more than $2 million if he is able to prove his innocence, says a high profile lawyer.

After serving 13 years in jail, Bain was acquitted in a 2009 retrial when a jury found him not guilty of murdering five members of his family in Dunedin in 1994.

He is taking a compensation case and could stand to receive several million dollars, which would include loss of income, and pain and suffering for his wrongful conviction and years of imprisonment, says Peter Williams QC.

Bain would have to prove his innocence on the balance of probabilities to receive the payout, Williams told Newstalk ZB today.


"That's the civil standard for civil cases. It's a hurdle - it has to be got over,'' Mr Williams said.

If successful, a formula would be used to work out the payout amount, which would include "loss of remuneration for those 13 years, pain and suffering and disbursements paid out,'' said Williams.

"I would say the amount must be in excess, well in excess of $2m.''

Williams helped free Arthur Allan Thomas, who received $1m compensation for his lost nine years in prison after being wrongly found guilty of murder.

The case resulted in changes to the conduct of trials and judicial system reforms, said Williams.

Bain's compensation case has taken a step forward with Justice Minister Simon Power announcing this week retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge Justice Ian Binnie would hear the case, due to its long-running and high-profile nature.

Justice Binnie has been a Supreme Court judge for more than 13 years, was appointed a Queen's Counsel in Ontario in 1979 and was Canada's deputy justice minister from 1982 to 1986.

Appointing an offshore Justice for the case was a positive move, said Williams.
Barrister Colin Withnall QC agreed.


"Well it's progress - things moving, and that's got to be good in itself. I'm pleased to see some recognition from the powers that be that this is no ordinary case,'' he told the radio station.