Aus judge finds Bain not 'innocent beyond reasonable doubt'

  • 18/02/2016

Justice Minister Amy Adams says she is concerned about speculation around a new report on David Bain's compensation bid.

It is understood the report, by a retired Australian judge, has found Mr Bain not "innocent beyond reasonable doubt".

That means Mr Bain would fail to meet the "extraordinary circumstances" test necessary to be awarded compensation for the nearly 13 years he served in prison.

Today Ms Adams confirmed she had received the report by Ian Callinan QC, but said she would not comment on "media speculation as to what Mr Callinan's report does or doesn't say". The New Zealand Herald has reported the judge's advice is to deny compensation.

Ms Adams said it was "terribly disappointing" the report had been leaked but her main focus was now on moving forward with the legal process.

"To protect the integrity of the process, it has been agreed with the applicant that there would be no comment on the status or position of the claim until Cabinet has made its decision and accordingly I won't be providing further detail until that time," she said.

"What I am concerned about is there's all sorts of speculation, some of which is very inaccurate, and while it's a matter of high public interest it really is important that the commentary and analyses waits until people can actually see and read what Mr Callinan has actually said.

"I know there's wide public interest and everyone is anxious to know how this long-running saga plays out but it is important we follow a robust process and I'm committed to continuing down that track."

She said all parties involved in the case now had an opportunity to provide any further information they wished to have considered.

Prime Minister John Key refused to comment on the report, saying "Cabinet can't just willy-nilly decide" whether it's going to give someone compensation.

The Government had previously ignored a Canadian judge's report that found Mr Bain innocent on the balance of probabilities and recommended compensation be paid.

Longtime Bain supporter Joe Karam says the report is a surprise.

"I am quite stunned by the situation," says Mr Karam. "It appears the protocol established by the Government has been broken somewhere along the way. I'm now re-evaluating the situation and don't want to comment any further."

Lawyer Marie Dyhrberg says it won't be an easy road to winning compensation for Mr Bain.

"Compensation in criminal trials is very difficult in New Zealand. [There's] a very, very high threshold," she told the Paul Henry programme this morning.

She says the onus is on Mr Bain to prove he is innocent beyond reasonable doubt, just as prosecutors had to prove to a jury he was guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

"That's the same standard that he has to face, the same very high standard in that you have to show beyond reasonable doubt, you have to persuade the Government that they can be sure and satisfied you are wrongfully convicted."

Last night, Mr Bain told the Herald he had "no comment to anything at the moment".

The Callinan report took nearly 12 months to complete, almost twice as long as expected.