When retired Canadian judge, David Binnie, was appointed by the National Government to assess David Bain’s compensation claim a few months ago, Judge Binnie asked for reading material which included two books written by Bain supporter, Joe Karam: David and Goliath: The Bain family murders; and Bain and Beyond.
But this request did not extend to books written by ant-Bain campaigners. I find that quite extraordinary. The other books included The Mask of Sanity: The Bain Murders by James McNeish; and In the Grip of Evil: The Bain Murders by Judith Wolfe and Trevor Reeves.
To get compensation, applicants must prove their innocence, at a minimum, on the balance of probabilities. In addition, because Bain’s claim fell outside cabinet guidelines, he needs to demonstrate the circumstances were extraordinary. The compensation could be up to $2 million dollars, for the time he spent in prison. He could also be entitled to a public apology or a statement of innocence. I don’t believe that innocence or lack of innocence should be assessed on probabilities. Justice has to be broader than that, surely?
The interesting point that should be considered is that the Prime Minister, John Key, and his Cabinet are not bound to grant compensation. As I wrote above, this claim actually fell outside Cabinet guidelines.
The Government’s decision could take some time. Judge Binnies’ report has to be read by the Minister of Justice, who will then report to Cabinet. There is no right of Appeal to the Cabinet’s decision. It is binding!