16 Nov 2011

Canadian judge to decide on Bain compensation bid

7:11 pm on 16 November 2011

Whether David Bain gets compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment will be decided by a retired Canadian Supreme Court judge.

Mr Bain was convicted in 1995 of murdering his parents and three siblings in Dunedin.

In 2007 the Privy Council quashed his convictions on the grounds of a substantial miscarriage of justice and ordered a retrial. In June 2009 a jury found him not guilty.

He spent almost 13 years in prison, and applied for compensation last year.

Mr Bain's lawyers notified the Minister last year of his intention to claim compensation but have been seeking legal aid since. He is now proceeding without it.

Justice Minister Simon Power says given the long-running and high-profile nature of the case, it was decided an overseas judge would assess the claim.

Mr Power says the judge chosen - Justice Ian Binnie - has had a distinguished career and served on the Supreme Court of Canada for more than 13 years.


He was appointed a Queen's Counsel (Ontario) in 1979 and served as the Canadian Associate Deputy Minister of Justice from 1982 to 1986.

The Minister says Canada has compensation regime with similarities to New Zealand.

The compensation rules require claimants to prove their innocence, and Mr Power says Mr Bain will need to establish his innocence on the balance of probabilities.

He says Mr Bain's claim falls outside existing Cabinet guidelines because he was acquitted following a retrial.

"However, there's still a residual discretion to consider claims outside the guidelines in 'extraordinary circumstances' where it is in the interests of justice to do so, and Justice Binnie will assess Mr Bain's claim under this residual discretion."

Justice Binnie will start work on the case before the end of the year.

Michael Reed QC, who helped to win the acquittal and heads up Mr Bain's legal team, told Checkpoint says they wanted an overseas, independent judge and will be very happy to work with him.

Mr Reed says he will meet with Mr Bain on Thursday.