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Bain case referred to Court of Appeal


Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Justice
Media Statement

20 December 2002

Bain case referred to Court of Appeal for full reconsideration

The Governor General has referred David Bain’s convictions for the murders of his family in 1994 for a full reconsideration by the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Phil Goff announced today.

“David Bain petitioned the Governor General for the exercise of the royal prerogative of mercy in June 1998.

“Preliminary consideration of the petition by both the Ministry of Justice and Sir Thomas Thorp suggested that some aspects of the evidence given at the trial may have been inaccurate or misleading. There was also a concern about a submission made by the Crown Prosecutor in his closing address.

“Having regard to the possible concerns, I advised the then Governor General to seek an opinion from the Court of Appeal on the issues before finally determining Mr Bain’s application.

“The areas of concern related to the evidence about the time at which a computer in the Bain household was turned on, a spectacle lens found in Stephen Bain’s bedroom, fingerprints in blood on the rifle which was the murder weapon and the closing submission by the Crown Prosecutor about the significance of David Bain’s comment that he had heard his sister Laniet making gurgling sounds.

“The Court of Appeal was invited to hear further evidence about those issues and, in light of its findings on them, to advise the Governor General on whether there was a sufficient possibility of a miscarriage of justice to warrant a full reconsideration of the whole case by the Court of Appeal.

“The Court of Appeal delivered its opinion to the Governor General on Tuesday.

“The Court concluded that, while there was other cogent and compelling evidence at the trial from which David Bain’s guilt might be inferred, the evidence it had heard, when viewed collectively, gave rise to a sufficient possibility of a miscarriage of justice to warrant a full reconsideration of the case by the Court of Appeal.

“In light of the Court of Appeal’s opinion I have advised the Governor General today that the case should be referred back to the Court of Appeal for a full reconsideration.

“As the matter is now sub judice it is not appropriate for me to discuss the issues further,” Mr Goff said.

ENDS

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