Saturday, June 29, 2013

David Bain: New Zealand; Publisher's View: Only one way for the New Zealand government to extract itself from a crisis which threatens public confidence in the country's criminal justice system; Harold Levy;


The remarkable 3 News revelations must be considered in light of the New Zealand government's rejection of Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Ian Binnie's report which appears to have more to do with avoiding compensation rather than correcting a foul miscarriage of justice.  The police, in their response, appear to be trying to isolate the photo recently obtained by 3 news which points forensically to Bain's father Robin as the killer, as if  there are no other factors which cry out David Bain's innocence. In short, fudge it somehow  - and pretend that  there are no other indications that David Bain was charged and convicted because of a bungled police investigation. As the  following sections from Justice Binnie shows, that is simply not the case;

(iii) Failure to test both Robin’s body and David promptly for firearm discharge residue

529. It is absolutely basic Police work in a firearms case, as laid out in the Detectives Manual to preserve and test samples from a suspect’s hands and clothing for firearms discharge residue (FDR). This will indicate if a person has recently fired a firearm. As explained in the Joint Police/Police Complaints Authority Report (1997), the test involves “checking suspects for discharge residue blown back on to [mainly] the hand[s] which held the weapon. It is to be expected in ideal conditions that minute particles could still be found on a live and active person up to two/three hours after shooting occurred – provided the firer has not washed since. On a dead body, the dust could remain much longer because it is only lost through movement.”

530. The Police say they did not test David Bain the morning of 20 June because he said he washed his hands to remove newsprint ink. This is curious. It must be rare for the Police not to do a test because the individual concerned assures them that nothing of interest to the prosecution will be found.

531. If the test had been done quickly on David and proved negative, it might have been of marginal assistance to establish his innocence. On the other hand, if FDR were found on Robin’s hands, it would be an important indicator of suicide and would have been of great importance to the defence. On the prosecution theory there would be no FDR on Robin’s hands.

532. Det. Sr Sgt Doyle was asked why Police had not checked David’s hands for firearms residue after locating him in his room at 65 Every Street. He suggested it would have been “insensitive” to do the test as David was then considered a victim.290 Yet by 11.00 am or so, David Bain was at the Police station being strip searched and tested for FDR by Dr Pryde, who found nothing positive.

 533. Although Robin’s body had been properly wrapped in plastic when removed to the mortuary, his hands were not separately bagged as required by the Detective Manual and the plastic sheeting (which might have collected any residue shaken loose in transit) was thrown away. The Joint Police/Police Complaints Authority Report (1997) was critical of this investigative failure:

“Again, with the benefit of hindsight, we find that earlier consideration should have been given to preserving Robin’s hands and clothing for firearm residue testing. At the very least his hands and lower arms should have been enclosed in plastic/paper bags at the earlier opportunity. Those containers should have been subsequently examined for residue as should the upper outer clothing of David and Robin. (para 142)

534. I do not accept that this was only clear “with the benefit of hindsight.” The procedure was specifically laid down in the Detective Manual. Det. Sr Sgt Doyle accepted that this breach of standard procedure was a Police responsibility. A. Yes, yes, Detective Lodge. Detective Lodge had that responsibility and he’s an experienced detective, he should have, he should have done that.291

Comment: the Bain complaint is justified. Firearms Discharge Residue was perhaps David Bain’s best hope of establishing Robin to be the murderer. Of course, the presence of FDR on David might have been similarly helpful to the prosecution. The Crown Law Office says it is impossible to say what the results of such tests would have been. This is true, but it was the failure of the Police to do such basic tests in breach of the Detective Manual that created this unsatisfactory situation."

I can see only one way for the New Zealand government to get out of this situation; Order the police to back off, candidly admit their mistakes, and  work on assuring the public that real changes in attitude and investigative techniques have been made; Pardon David Bain. Accept Justice Binnie's recommendations. Compensate David Bain generously; Accept and publicly admit  that the Bain saga has badly damaged  public confidence in the administration of  justice in New Zealand.  Set up an independent review commission

Harold Levy; Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.

The entire post, published on the Charles Smith Blog on December 18, 2013, can be found at:

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

The entire Wikipedia page can be found at:


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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:

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Harold Levy: Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.