Monday, December 17, 2012

(3 of 7). David Bain. NZ. Publisher's view. Time to take a closer look at content of Justice Binnie's report. How the police ignored allegations of Robin's mental instability in their rush to bring David Bain to judgment;

PUBLISHER'S VIEW:  Much of the reporting following the release of Justice Ian Binnie's report recommending compensation for David Bain has focussed on the political implications of the report - as opposed to its content. The content is, however,  of prime interest to this Blog because Justice Binnie concern that the police objective was clearly to advance the prosecution rather than conduct a dispassionate inquiry - as evidenced by their "tunnel vision" oriented failure to investigate allegations of Robin Bain's mental instability. This factor, as well as others identified in this series of posts, illustrates the crying need for New Zealand to compensate David Bain  - as Justice Binnie recommends - for Bain's lengthy  ordeal.

Harold Levy:  Publisher. The Charles Smith Blog.


CONTEXT: Wikipedia: "Killings and first trial: " By 1994 Robin and Margaret were estranged and Robin was sleeping in the back of his van at Taieri or in the schoolhouse. David Bain and the rest of the family lived at 65 Every Street, Andersons Bay, Dunedin. Robin returned to the family home at the weekends and slept in a caravan in the back garden. Robin was said to be in an incestuous relationship with his daughter Laniet that began when the family were in Papua New Guinea, and was still going on. Fellow teachers later described him as "deeply depressed, to the point of impairing his ability to do his job of teaching children".  On the morning of 20 June 1994, David Bain called 111 at 7:09 am in an apparently distressed state and told the operator: "They're all dead, they're all dead." When the police arrived at Every Street they found five members of the Bain family had been shot – Robin Bain (the father aged 58), his wife Margaret, their daughters Arawa (19), Laniet (18) and son Stephen (14). Four days later, David Bain, then aged 22, was charged with the murder of all five members of his family. On 5 July 1994, the house was burnt down by the New Zealand Fire Service, at the request of the trustees of the Bain family trust. At his trial the prosecution claimed that David killed his entire family after completing his early morning paper round– though no motive or explanation as to why David might want to kill them was provided. The lack of motive confused the presiding judge who in his summing up said the Crown had told the jury "... that these events were so bizarre and abnormal that it was impossible for the human mind to conceive of any logical  or reasonable explanation". One piece of evidence was a message found typed on the family computer that read: "sorry, you are the only one who deserved to stay". The defence used this to put forward the proposition that David’s father, Robin Bain, had killed the others while David was out on his paper run – and then committed suicide. After a three week trial David Bain was convicted by the jury on five counts of murder and sentenced by Justice Williamson to life imprisonment with a 16 year non-parole period.

The entire Wikipedia page can be found at:


(i) Allegation of Robin Bain’s possible mental instability

519. Prior to the arrest of David Bain the Police had knowledge that Robin was stressed and potentially unstable. Yet by Wednesday 22 June the Police had eliminated him as a suspect. The Police were aware of marital discord and the curious activities at the school over which he presided. In failing to follow up questions about what could have “triggered” the seemingly inexplicable crimes of 20 June, the Police betrayed tunnel vision focussed on David that ignored reports that Robin, not David, was the suspect with a history of instability. The Privy Council was critical of the Police failure to probe this issue: “The jury might accept the evidence of three professionals, as yet uncontradicted, that stories of the kind described above are not written by children and published in a school newsletter without participation of the principal of a two‐teacher school [as suggested by the Court of Appeal], and there is no evidence to support the [Court of Appeal’s] suggestion that they [the stories] could have been inspired by movie watching.”283

520. The issue was belatedly pursued by the Police in advance of the 2009 trial. By that time, however, the Police objective was clearly to advance the prosecution, not to conduct the sort of dispassionate inquiry that ought to have been conducted in 1994/95.

521. I concluded earlier that in light of the conflicting evidence at the 2009 retrial regarding Robin’s mental state I cannot, in the absence of seeing and hearing the witnesses make findings of credibility one way or the other. The jury might well have agreed with the defence witnesses. We will never know. However, my point at this stage is not whether the evidence would or would not have supported the allegation concerning Robin’s mental instability. The point is that the Police, having decided on Wednesday, 23 June284 to charge David Bain with the murders, ignored potentially important issues in their rush to judgment.

Justice Binnie's full report can be found through the following link:


I have added a search box for content in this blog which now encompasses several thousand posts. The search box is located  near the bottom of the screen just above the list of links. I am confident that this powerful search tool provided by "Blogger" will help our readers and myself get more out of the site.

The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at:

Information on "The Charles Smith Blog Award"- and its nomination process - can be found at:

Please send any comments or information on other cases and issues of interest to the readers of this blog to:

Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.