Thursday, April 9, 2015

David Bain: New Zealand: Former Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie takes issue with the "politicization" which led to rejection of his report recommending compensation for David Bain; Binnie calls the botched Bain investigation a combination of four of Canada's most notorious miscarriages of justice: The Milgaard, Morin, Sophonow and Marshall cases. (This is the first time I'm aware of where Justice Binnie has spoken out publically on the treatment of his report by the New Zealand government. Must Read. HL);

STORY: "New Zealand seeks  second review of murder conviction, rejects Canadian's take," by Justice Writer Sean Fine,  published by the Globe and Mail on April 8, 2015.

GIST: "A three-year feud between a retired Canadian Supreme Court judge and the New Zealand government has escalated, with a second foreign judge set to do what Ian Binnie has already done – review a notorious murder conviction. New Zealand rejected a report from Mr. Binnie three years ago that said David Bain was innocent and deserved compensation because botched police work caused him to serve 13 years in prison. The government is now turning to a retired Australian judge for a fresh look. And in a murder case on which virtually every household is said to have an opinion, even Prime Minister John Key is publicly criticizing Mr. Binnie......... To Mr. Binnie, who was on Canada’s Supreme Court for 13 years, the fix was in from the beginning. “The former Justice Minister Judith Collins had been Minister of Police at the time Bain was acquitted in 2007 and took the prosecution’s defeat very badly,” he said in an e-mail to The Globe and Mail from Japan while on his way to an arbitration assignment in Singapore. She “made it clear that I was supposed to say (as in the OJ Simpson case) that Bain was acquitted when the issue was beyond reasonable doubt but not factually innocent on a balance of probabilities.” He said Mr. Fisher had “conducted a highly partisan review of my Report (which the Minister pretended was a ‘peer review’).” The appointment of the new judge, he said, reflects the politicization of the issue. He described the Bain case as a combination of several notorious wrongful conviction cases in Canada, saying it “seems to be like Milgaard, Morin, Sophonow and Marshall rolled into one fireball.” Chris Gallavin, dean of law at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, said Mr. Fisher’s report took a legalistic approach that was at odds with Mr. Binnie’s goal of achieving a just result. He said he feels “embarrassed” at how the government has treated Mr. Binnie, and that the appointment of a second retired judge adds insult to injury. “The decision of the [government] to retain another judge smacks of a fishing exercise in order to receive a conclusion that best suits their desires,” he said in an e-mail. “The need to re-establish the integrity of the system was cited as the main need to appoint a further reviewer. I contend that it was the actions of Minister Collins and the woeful treatment of justice Binnie that compromised the integrity of the system in the first place.” The Bain case has polarized the country, he said. “There would hardly be a household in NZ that had not formed a view on his guilt or innocence. Most people would see the current state of the case as a fiasco – that is irrespective of whether people thought him guilty or not. The [government] seems to be game playing with the process of compensation and this contravenes that NZ ethos of a ‘fair go’ for all.”"
The entire story can be found at:


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