If the Cabinet's decision to pay out David Bain was designed to please everyone, it has failed miserably.

It will please almost no one.

A large number believe Bain is innocent of murdering his family and should have got a lot more than $925,000. They will be extremely unhappy.

Then there's the large number who believe he is guilty and should get nothing. They will also be extremely aggrieved at a taxpayer payout.


There will be a few who think Bain is guilty but who think a settlement is justified just to stop it dragging on.

Whether Bain is innocent or guilty, the settlement compounds the unfairness of Teina Pora's $2.5 million just weeks ago for wrongful imprisonment.

After 22 years in jail for a murder he did not commit, the state has given Pora just enough money to buy a nice house in Herne Bay.

Justice Minister Amy Adams says it is "unfair and inappropriate" to compare the Pora and Bain compensation cases.

It seems unreasonable not to compare them.

Two Cabinet decisions on two claims for compensation, announced just six weeks apart.

Pora flies through the eligibility test for compensation for wrongful imprisonment, yet is awarded only $2.5 million for 22 years.

Teina Pora. Photo / Nick Reed
Teina Pora. Photo / Nick Reed

Adams argued that the Cabinet followed the guidelines which do not contain any discretionary provision for inflation-adjustment over the 15 years since the guidelines were last updated.


Bain fails to meet the test for compensation but the Cabinet uses its discretion to give him $925,000 anyway for the six years it has taken to get a final decision, which equates to 37 per cent of Pora's payment - or a nice house in Mt Albert.

So no discretion was applied in Pora's case for compensation but discretion was applied liberally in Bain's case in order to prevent another legal challenge by the Bain team.

That is not a "pragmatic" decision as Adams called it today. It is a double standard.
Relativity is a vital component in measuring the fairness of any justice system.

The relative generosity of the Government towards someone who failed a test of eligibility compared to someone who met the test inflates the injustice that Pora has suffered.

Bain's payment would be a lot easier to swallow if Pora's had been fair.

Pora is now going back to court to try and get justice for his compensation because of Cabinet's failure to use its discretion justly.