Few of us will forget that breathless call on the morning of June the 20th, 1994 to the Dunedin police, with the caller repeating "they're all dead."

It came from 22 year old David Bain who told the police his address and when asked for his last name said falteringly "eh Bain."

Little did anyone know that David Bain would become one of the most recognisable names in New Zealand. It was just four days after that call that the young man, wearing an unforgettable, garish fair isle jersey was led away in handcuffs and charged with the murders of his parents and his three siblings.

A fortnight after the murders the scene of the crime, the family's ramshackle home in Dunedin's Anderson's Bay, the scene of the ghastly crime with its incriminating evidence, was inexplicably burnt to the ground by agreement of the Bain family and the Fire Service.


Eleven months later Bain, protesting his innocence, was convicted of the five murders and sent to jail.

Former All Black Joe Karam took up the case and successfully lead a legal team to the Privy Council in London who declared a substantial miscarriage of justice had occurred and Bain was released on bail. He was acquitted at a retrial in 2009 and six years ago launched a bid for compensation.

Joe Karam turned his All Black skills to another game, political football.

His first referee was the youthful Justice Minister Simon Power who called in a renowned Canadian jurist Justice Ian Binnie who said Bain deserved compo because he was innocent. The ref was changed to Judith 'crusher' Collins who didn't like Binnie's conclusion and called in a Queens Counsel who agreed the Canadian's case wasn't well made.

Enter another ref, Amy Adams, who took to the field and called in a retired Australian judge who agreed Bain's innocence beyond reasonable doubt wasn't proved and he should get nothing. Although they've agreed to pay him almost a million bucks for costs incurred, which he's accepted as an ex gratia payment, which is a moral rather an a legal settlement.

To some it looked as though the Beehive was skewing the game to ensure a win, conveniently announced when John Key was out of the country on holiday.

On this one though, they'd be damned if they did and they're being damned because they didn't, such is the level of belief or disbelief in Bain.