The retrial 2009

Judge Binnie noted (paras 80- 82) that at the retrial, the jury heard from 130 witnesses, and that it was essentially a debate among experts over the significance (or the lack of it) of the findings and mistakes made by the Police in their investigation in 1994. Binnie wrote:

“It is fair to say that the case presented to the 2009 jury, despite being based largely on the 1994 Police investigation, was a totally different case than had been presented to the 1995 jury. The 2009 jury did not reach a different conclusion on the same record; it was presented with a very different and far more extensive factual picture, and the testimony of numerous additional experts of impressive credentials, than had been made available to the jury in 1995.”

The trial lasted 13 weeks. After deliberations that took less than a day, David was found not guilty on all five counts.

See forensic firearms expert, Philip Boyce, demonstrate to the jury at the second trial how  David’s father, Robin Bain, could ‘quite easily’ have shot himself with the rifle (3:07).

Karam & Joe

David & Joe Karam after the retrial

The retrial captured the public imagination like no other case in New Zealand’s history. A mass of cameras, plus 50 or more journalists and support staff were at the High Court to hear the jury’s decision. Each verdict of not guilty for the five murders was greeted with cheers and applause by those in court.

In the end, the case put forward by Joe Karam and the defence team for 15 years could no longer be denied – that in a state of depression, about to have his incestuous relationship exposed, Robin killed the rest of the family while David was out on his paper run – and then committed suicide. He even left a note for David on the family computer that read: “Sorry. You were the only one that deserved to stay.”