Justice Minister Amy Adams says she is "one of the few people in New Zealand" who does not have a personal view on David Bain's guilt or innocence, and she will bring a fresh set of eyes to his long fight for compensation.

One of her responsibilities in her new portfolio will be to decide whether Mr Bain will be compensated for spending 13 years in prison before being found not guilty of murder in a second trial in 2009.

A 2012 report by former Canadian Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie said Mr Bain was probably innocent and should receive compensation.

But a peer review of his report by Robert Fisher QC, sought by then-minister Judith Collins, maintained Justice Binnie had made several errors of law.


Cabinet is waiting on the result of a judicial review of Ms Collins' handling of the compensation claim before it reconsiders the issue.

Ms Adams told the Herald she had deliberately kept an open mind on the case, which has divided New Zealanders for decades.

"I am probably one of the few people in New Zealand who doesn't have a fixed view of this."

The minister said she had not read either Justice Binnie's or Justice Fisher's reports "so that when the court process concludes I really can ... look at it afresh".

Ms Adams said the judicial review could provide some direction on whether she should recommend compensation for Mr Bain.

Based on previous awards, Bain could be entitled to at least $2 million if Cabinet approves compensation.

A preliminary hearing for the judicial review is set for February.

Drawn-out battle

May 1995:


David Bain convicted of killing five family members in Dunedin.

June 2009:

Conviction quashed in a retrial after Privy Council appeal

Nov 2011:

Canadian judge Ian Binnie investigates compensation issue

Aug 2012:

Mr Binnie concludes Bain should be compensated. Justice Minister Judith Collins seeks a peer review from Robert Fisher QC.

Dec 2012:

Fisher review says Justice Binnie's report was inaccurate and cannot be used.

July 2013:

Bain's legal team seek judicial review of Ms Collins' handling of compensation claim.

Sep 2014:

Amy Adams is made Justice Minister.