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Report slammed for 'purely political' reasons - Binnie

Thursday 13 Dec 2012 9:38 p.m.

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The judge responsible for the David Bain compensation report that's been slammed by the Government says the issue has become purely political.

Senior Canadian judge Ian Binnie found Mr Bain was probably innocent and should receive compensation for his 13 years in prison, but the lawyer who reviewed his work says it's full of mistakes.

Justice Minister Judith Collins today released Justice Binnie's report along with its peer review, and her feelings for the Canadian couldn't be clearer.

“It is so fundamentally flawed, as to the entire basis of it, it's so outside the terms of reference, it is simply not credible,” says Ms Collins.

The former Supreme Court judge found:

“David Bain innocent on the balance of probabilities, that there were extraordinary circumstances and that meant he should receive compensation.”

It could have meant a payout for Mr Bain of an estimated $2 million for spending 13 years in jail, but Ms Collins took issue with the report and ordered Auckland judge Robert Fisher to review it.

He found:

  • Justice Binnie went beyond his mandate
  • His approach to the evidence was seriously skewed
  • He appeared to accept Mr Bain's version of events without question

Mr Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed QC, was only given the copies of both reports this afternoon, and told Radio New Zealand the entire process has been unfair on his client.

“All those reports never came to us - they only went to Fisher – it’s a one sided criticism of the case and we have had no input into Fisher. It is grossly unfair and greatly disturbing,” he said.

And even Ms Collins expressed some sympathy for his situation.

Judge Binnie - who is currently in Geneva  - did not want to be interviewed by Nightline but told 3 News he disagrees with Fisher's report and believes the issue is "purely political".

Mr Binnie's report cost the tax payer $400,000.

“I think that we may have to wave that one goodbye, unfortunately,” says Ms Collins.

A further $100,000 was spent on Mr Fishers review, and Mr Collins admitted that starting from scratch could cost another $500,000.

It’s money burned, and bridges too.

Mr Binnie sent an angry email to Ms Collins today that was full of spelling mistakes, typos and even capital letters.

But that's likely to be his last involvement in the claim, which now won't be revisited until the new year.

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