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More fingerprints clear David Bain - Karam

Thursday 11 Jul 2013 3:13 p.m.

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Police have responded to claims by David Bain supporter Joe Karam police misled the public with evidence supporting the theory Robin Bain shot his family.

At a media conference this afternoon, Mr Karam released another set of fingerprints supporting the idea that gunpowder residue was visible on Robin Bain's hand.

He said it was "extremely mischievous" of police to allege a "blotchy white area" of fingerprints to be cuts and said if Assistant Police Commissioner Malcolm Burgess is found to have deliberately put up the evidence showing markings instead of those without them, he should lose his job.

Police say the fingerprints released today were determined to be of inadequate quality, which is why the second, blotchy, fingerprints were taken by an expert.

"That fingerprint expert then took two further sets of prints on 22nd June 1994. These are the quality prints which have always been relied on in this case by fingerprint experts," a police spokesman said in a statement.

This afternoon, before the police made the claim, Mr Karam pre-emptively dismissed it.

"It doesn't matter how ineffective or how inexperienced [the detective] is, he can't make perfect ridges appear," he said.

"Regardless of their various expertise or experience, anyone looking at this can see that the proposition that those lines in this photo could be cuts or damaged is completely disproven by these fingerprints."

On June 26, TV3 current affairs show 3rd Degree aired a story in which Waikato businessman David Giles claimed to have found new evidence which would clear David Bain.

"I'm very pleased this will end it. This is the knockout punch," he told 3rd Degree.

But the next evening Mr Burgess told Campbell Live it was more likely the marks were cuts.

Fingerprints taken in a mortuary by the police fingerprint technician three days after the incident show markings on Robin Bain's thumb - Mr Burgess said this clearly meant these were cuts and not gunpowder.

Mr Karam obtained a copy of another set of fingerprints taken by a detective the day before, which have no such markings - backing the theory they were the result of gunpowder.

"The police had ample information on their file. According to Mr Burgess before a statement was put out he'd been advised by their fingerprint experts," says Mr Karam.

"The marks in question are not cuts, are not abrasions, are not burns, are not damage. And that is not a matter of opinion."

Mr Karam says photos of David Bain's hands do not have such markings, but alleges police would claim David Bain wiped them off.

Mr Karam alleges the white blotches are not consistent with cuts, and that all prints taken by the technician have these blemishes. He says he sought advice from a fingerprinting expert who backed up his claims.

"When bodies are subject to post-mortems and kept in a mortuary for a number of days […] what happens is the moisture from the refrigeration, the cooling and warming again of the body as it's taken in and out, causes dampness to get on the prints […] that has a reaction with fingerprinting which causes blotchiness," he said.

Mr Karam alleges police mishandled Robin Bain's body, and that his hands and feet were not placed in a plastic bag as is protocol. During the 2009 re-trial of David Bain, Detective Mark Lodge - the officer in charge of Robin Bain's body - admitted he had not done this.

Despite being acquitted of the murders of his family in 2009, David Bain must be able to prove he was innocent before he can be granted compensation.

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