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Most New Zealanders Oppose Bain Re-trial

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Public Oppose Bain Re-trial

Most New Zealanders don’t want David Bain to face a re-trial, new research carried out by UMR Research shows.

The research, carried out among a representative sample of New Zealanders aged 18 years and over, shows some worrying signs about public confidence in the New Zealand justice system.

There has been a significant turn around in public opinion about the guilt of David Bain and to a lesser extent about the guilt of convicted killer Scott Watson and to a much lesser degree Mark Lundy.

At the same time, David Bain’s release from prison has been one of the most closely followed news stories of the past four years according to UMR which tracks public interest in news stories.

Five years ago a minority of people (40%) thought Bain was not guilty of murdering his family. Today, two-thirds (66%) think he is innocent.

Five years most people (59%) thought Scott Watson was guilty of murdering Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Today, only 42% think he is guilty. And in the case of Mark Lundy, who murdered his wife and daughter, the number who think he is guilty has dropped from 76% to 65% over that time.

Majority of New Zealanders opposed to David Bain retrial

59% of New Zealanders oppose a retrial for David Bain; 35% believe there should be a retrial and 6% were unsure.

Younger New Zealanders were the most likely to favour a retrial and older New Zealanders the most likely to be opposed. Amongst under 30 year olds, 41% favoured a retrial and amongst over 60 year olds, 26% were in favour. Males (39%) were more in favour of a retrial than females (32%).

Most New Zealanders believe David Bain is innocent

66% of New Zealanders believe on the evidence they have read, seen or heard that David Bain is not guilty of the murder of his family in Dunedin with only 14% believing he is guilty.

This was a big change from five years ago when 40% thought he was not guilty and 33% guilty.

Older New Zealanders are particularly convinced of his innocence. Amongst over 60 year olds, 74% believe he is not guilty and only 6% guilty.

Amongst the 66% who believe he is not guilty, 28% favour a retrial. Amongst the 14% who believe he is guilty, 56% favour a retrial.

Most of those who believe David Bain is not guilty support him receiving significant compensation of around $1.5 million for the time he has spent in jail. Amongst the 66% surveyed who believe he is not guilty, 77% favour him getting compensation; 16% were opposed to the compensation and 7% are unsure.

Worryingly, for confidence in the New Zealand justice system, there is also now greater doubt about the guilty verdicts of Scott Watson and to a lesser extent Mark Lundy, than there was five years ago.

42% now believe Scott Watson is guilty and 22% not guilty of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. Five years ago, 59% thought he was guilty and 15% not guilty.

There has been much less movement for Mark Lundy and very few New Zealanders believe he is not guilty of the murder of his wife and daughter. 65% now believe he is guilty and 4% not guilty. Five years ago, 76% thought he was guilty and 6% not guilty.

High interest in the Bain case

73% of New Zealanders declared they had been following the decision to grant David Bain bail closely (1+2 on the 5 point scale). This ranked sixth equal on the interest of the 297 major media stories tested by UMR Research since 2003.


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