Ian Binnie’s Report
Here is a link to the 137 page copy of Canadian Justice Ian Binnie’s report & recommendation to Cabinet. Some of the key points from the report are listed below:
From the Executive Summary:
Para 27: It is my recommendation that David Bain receive compensation for the wrongful 1995 conviction and the consequential 13 years in jail. Although his factual innocence has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt, I conclude that it is more likely than not that David Bain is factually innocent according to the lower civil standard of “balance of probabilities. Having regard to the terms of the Cabinet’s “extraordinary circumstances discretion” set out in the Minister’s letter to me of November 10, 2011, it is my opinion that the egregious errors of the Dunedin Police that led directly to the wrongful conviction make it in the interest of justice that compensation be paid.
Para 35: Setting aside the more exotic theories of the case, the Crown’s theory is not consistent with the physical evidence collected by the Police on June 20. It is more likely than not that the murders were committed while David Bain was out of the house on his paper route.
Para 39: In the various attacks on David Bain’s credibility the explanations consistent with innocence are more plausible I think, than the inculpatory interpretations put forward by the Police (and obviously rejected by the 2009 Christchurch jury that acquitted him.)
Para 41: The initial Police theory was that David Bain had killed all five members of his family during a killing frenzy in the so-called “missing twenty five minutes” between his arrival home around 6:45 am and calling the emergency services at 7.10 am (the “trance theory”). This theory was abandoned by the Police as it was concluded David Bain could not possibly have murdered five people in different parts of the house and performed a botched clean-up within 25 minutes.
Para 42: The second (and continuing) Police theory is that David Bain killed four members of his family in the early hours of 20 June, then left about the usual time to do his newspaper route (5.45 am). He made sure he was seen by customers along the way to have them available as future alibi witnesses, then returned home around 6:45 am to kill Robin (the “four before one after” theory).
Para 43: It strikes me as inherently implausible that David Bain, however incompetent, would kill four people, then take time out to do a paper route in clothes smeared in blood (albeit covered in part by a red sweat shirt), anxious to be seen by customers along the way, leaving the scene of the massacre open to discovery by Robin before his return. Robin was often up and about the house soon after his alarm went off at 6.32 am. Occasionally Robin was up earlier. He sometimes used a downstairs door to come in from the caravan. This would have led him directly to the scene of the murders. Had Robin done this on the morning of 20 June, he would immediately have discovered the carnage while David was out, and called the Police before David got home.
Para 44: Such a mindless “four before one after” plan attributed to David, a university student, is just not credible in the absence of (i) any expert evidence that David suffered from an abnormality of the mind or (ii) possessed sub-normal intelligence. Neither is the case.
Para 45: Despite Police efforts to come up with a plausible motive from 1994 until the eve of David Bain’s eventual acquittal in 2009, no plausible motive ever emerged. In the end the prosecution was obliged to argue that motive was simply irrelevant.
Para 471: In response to the Minister’s Mandate letter I conclude that it is more likely than not that David Bain is factually innocent.
Para 486: The judgment of the Privy Council dated 10 May 2007 is, in my view, an unmistakable if politely worded condemnation of many aspects of the 1994 Police investigation and the presentation of evidence at the 1995 trial. Too much that the Police ought to have done was left undone and, of even greater concern, too much of what they did discover was not provided to the jury and thereby the jury was misled, according to the Privy Council.
Ian Binnie’s Recommendations
Para 630: I recommend that compensation be paid to David Bain in an amount to be fixed by the Cabinet in the exercise of its discretion with respect to ex gratia payments.
Para 631: I do so on the basis that the state, through the acts and omissions of the Dunedin Police, played a significant role in his wrongful conviction.
Para 632: In my respectful opinion these acts and omissions constituted so marked a departure from the requirements of the New Zealand Detective Manual of the day as to amount, in terms of the Minister’s letter to me of 10 November 2011, to ‘serious wrong-doing by authorities’ in ‘failing to take proper steps to investigate the possibility of innocence’.
“Compensation would express the Government’s disapproval of such a cumulative failure by the authorities to take proper steps to investigate the possibility of innocence. It would be an acceptance of some responsibility by the state for the shame and stigma of a wrongful conviction and 13 years in prison for crimes which, in my view, David Bain is unlikely to have committed.”