Bain compensation: 'Take the freedom, run' - lawyer

  • 26/03/2010

By Jane Luscombe

There was some pointed advice today for David Bain from the Queen’s Counsel, whose job it was to decide another of New Zealand’s most famous compensation cases.

Stuart Grieve QC awarded $900,000 to David Dougherty, who was jailed for a rape DNA proved he did not commit.

Mr Bain was in jail for longer so, reasonably, might expect much more.

Mr Grieve’s advice to the man acquitted of his family’s murder? Take your freedom, and run.

Lawyer Michael Reed is the man charged with securing Mr Bain’s financial future and says the decision to seek compensation was made a long time ago.

“If he had a fair trial first time around, if there hadn’t been a miscarriage of justice, he would never have spent a day in prison,” says Mr Reed.

“As it was, he was locked up for 13 years.”

Mr Grieve was hired to rule on Mr Dougherty’s compensation claim after he spent four years in jail for the rape of a young neighbour. DNA evidence later proved his innocence.

But Mr Grieve says Mr Bain has no such evidence and, in his opinion, was fortunate to get his conviction overturned.

“The decision could have gone the other way and so my view would be, take your freedom and run,” he says.

If the review finds on balance of probability that Mr Bain is innocent, he stands to get $100,000 for every year he spent locked up – a total of $1.3 million.

Mr Grieve calls the sum “niggardly”.

“The mind boggles at how horrendous it would be if you were innocent. I personally don’t think $100,000 for each year in custody is anywhere near enough.”

Arthur Allan Thomas got $1 million compensation in 1980 after wrongfully spending nine years behind bars for murder.

That sum would equate to around $5 million today, but last year Mr Thomas himself said Mr Bain deserved $15 million.

Mr Bain has never spoken about his case and could still avoid doing so. It would be up to the lawyer appointed to review his case to decide. Even then it would be in private.

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source: newshub archive