Sunday, December 16, 2012

(2 of 7). David Bain. NZ. Publisher's view; Time to take a closer look at content of Justice Binnie's report. The indecent rush 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 details  a rush to judgment tainted by the failure of the police to keep an open mind - as illustrated by their unjustifiable  decision to burn the house at Every Street - the crime scene - to the ground, less than three weeks after the crimes.  This factor as well illustrates the crying need for New Zealand to compensate David Bain  - as Justice Binnie recommends - for his 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:


575. David Bain was formally charged with five counts of murder at 1.46 pm in the Dunedin Police Station on Friday, 24 June 1994. He protested his innocence.312 He did not emerge from custody again until granted bail on 15 May 2007.

576. It is the Bain submission that following his arrest 4 days after the murders the Police
abandoned any semblance of objectivity and devoted all their efforts to proving him guilty,
regardless of other evidence which he says should have been investigated, and might have led to proof of Robin’s guilt.

577. David Bain’s wrongful conviction was, on this view, due in large part to Police loss of objectivity beginning early in the week of 20 June 1994 and culminating in the wrongful
conviction on 25 May 1995, then continuing to and including the 2009 re‐trial.

578. The decision to charge a suspect in a critical watershed in any criminal case. There will be an inevitable shift of focus as the Police make every effort to justify their very public accusation – a justification made all the more important for their reputation in a case subject to massive media interest, as was the Bain case.313

579. The Detective Manual contemplates an early arrest if there is a risk of the suspect reoffending, or destroying evidence. Neither of these justifications applied here. Evidence was only destroyed when, with the Police consent, the house at 65 Every Street was burned to the ground less than 3 weeks after the crimes.

580. The Detective Manual states that before a decision to charge is taken the Police should have pursued relevant inquiries and awaited the result of forensic tests. This was not done. To some extent this was the fault of ESR, as Det. Sgt Weir complained: So, and a lot of the information we didn’t – like the ESR examinations that took placeback in Christchurch, for example, we didn’t get it for months ‐ 314.........

Comment: the evidence establishes, in my view, that the Police rushed to a premature decision. There was no urgency to lay the charges and publicly commit themselves to David Bain’s guilt. They decided to announce that the case was solved and all that remained to be done was for them to prove it. This was not consistent with the “open mindedness” required by the Detective Manual at the early stages of a complex investigation.

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.