Justice Minister reignites de Bain debate

Minister of Justice has announced that Cabinet will start from scratch in investigating whether David Bain will be compensated for being imprisoned or not.

This will please all those who relish an excuse to debate the merits of the case.

Press release:

CABINET TO TAKE FRESH LOOK AT BAIN CASE

The Government has agreed to set aside all previous advice relating to David Bain’s compensation claim and conduct a fresh inquiry, Justice Minister Amy Adams has announced.

In November 2011, former Canadian Supreme Court judge Justice Ian Binnie was appointed to provide advice on the claim. He completed his report in August 2012.

After being made aware of concerns raised about Justice Binnie’s report and receiving advice from the Solicitor-General, the then Justice Minister Judith Collins decided to seek a peer review by former High Court judge Dr Robert Fisher. Dr Fisher found that Justice Binnie’s report contained a number of errors and was, therefore, unsafe to rely on.

“Given these events, it’s my view that Cabinet doesn’t have the information in front of it on which it could reasonably reach a decision,” says Ms Adams.

“For that reason, the advice of both Justice Binnie and Dr Fisher will be set aside and I will appoint a new inquirer to conduct a fresh inquiry into Mr Bain’s claim.”

Ms Adams says it’s important that the final decision on Mr Bain’s claim is durable and withstands the close scrutiny the case attracts.

“The New Zealand public rightly expects the Government to make a decision with the full set of facts and reliable advice in front of them. A fresh look will safeguard the integrity of the process and reassure the public that Cabinet will act on the best advice available,” says Ms Adams.

“Despite the further delay, conducting a fresh inquiry is the best approach in the circumstances and enables Mr Bain’s claim to be progressed on a proper and robust basis.”

Mr Bain’s claim for compensation falls outside existing Cabinet guidelines because when his conviction was quashed, a retrial was ordered. However, Cabinet has also reserved a residual discretion to consider claims outside the guidelines in “extraordinary circumstances … where this is in the interests of justice”. To satisfy the test for the payment of compensation that applies in his case, Mr Bain will need to prove his innocence on the balance of probabilities and be able to satisfy Cabinet that the circumstances are sufficiently extraordinary that it would be in the interests of justice for compensation to be paid.

“I have notified Mr Bain’s representatives of Cabinet’s decision and I understand they are comfortable with the process. All parties have agreed to draw a line under what’s happened and move forward in a constructive manner,” says Ms Adams.

Ms Adams will now seek advice on an appropriate inquirer and develop their terms of reference. There will be a further announcement in due course.

Related Documents

“I don’t owe the National party a single thing”

Cameron Slater at Whale Oil:

I am not beholden to the National party. I’m not a member, and as I said standing on a balcony doing a live interview in Israel…Prime Minister’s come and Prime Minister’s go, long after John Key retires I’ll still be here.

I don’t owe the National party a single thing…it is actually the reverse.

But given there is an ongoing campaign of animosity from the senior ranks of the party frankly they can suffer in the stew of their own making.

Meanwhile I’ll continue to tell the truth whether you guys like it or not.

He doesn’t say what he thinks the National Party owe him.

Pete Belt:

I don’t owe the National party a single thing…it is actually the reverse.

…talk about arrogance!

/snigger

These comments are on a lengthy post from (presumably) Belt promoting how wonderful and clever Slater and Whale Oil are in FROM THE PASSENGER SEAT: WHY DOTCOM AND KEY ARE THE SAME. Cavalier pointed out the obvious:

No DotCom and Key are not the same. One is a convicted criminal who is wanted on further serious charges and who is here on false pretenses, having deliberately lied on his residence application. The other is a genuine and ordinary bloke attempting to do his best for our country, even though he doesn’t need (and doesn’t take) the money. I can see the difference clearly.

But mostly Belt was angling at Slater versus Key’s National.

So.  Who do you trust?  Cam’s Slater’s judgement on matters political, or what you personally wish to be true based on less and filtered information?

A silly choice. I don’t “wish to be true’ and I am very wary of trusting Slater.

Purely from a practical point of view, National should be concerned with succession planning.  Key won’t last forever.  We only have to look at Labour to see what happens when nobody is ready to take over after a decade of someone who eliminates all the pretenders to the throne.

Slater is feeling highly aggrieved at his own succession planning being dealt a setback. He blames Key for Judith Collins falling from grace but Collins (aided substantially by Slater) has been the architect of her own fall.

Sure John Key will sometime step down or be dumped.

That leaves opportunites for others to rise in his place. Time will tell whether the party or the public will approve of Collins should she rehabilitate, and whether they will tolerate with Slater style political manipulation.

The National Party owes Slater nothing – surely he doesn’t expect a handout of power.

And Collins has to earn her way back into favour, which won’t be easy. Once tainted it is hard to erase the risks.

Bain given new hope for compensation

David Bain has been given some hope of getting his compensation claim considered. He had previously hit a l;egal brick wall in Judith Collins but the new Justice Minister Amy Adams seems prepared to deal with it,

Stuff: Bain has a fresh chance for compensation

David Bain has been given fresh hope in his fight for compensation after court wranglings came to an end.

The Government and Bain’s lawyers have agreed to end judicial review proceedings over a report that suggested he was innocent of the murder of his family.

It means the decision to award him compensation for wrongful conviction and for the 13 years he spent behind bars will go back before Cabinet ministers.

Justice Minister Amy Adams announced the move this afternoon.

“This discontinuance does not resolve Mr Bain’s underlying compensation claim, just the separate judicial review process,” she said.

“I plan to discuss next steps with my Cabinet colleagues over the coming weeks. 

“While the details of the agreement are confidential, I can confirm that there was no contribution made towards Mr Bain’s compensation claim as part of this discontinuance.”

Bain’s bid for redress stalled in early 2013 after a row over a report commissioned by then justice minister Judith Collins.

Written by retired Canadian judge Justice Ian Binnie, it found that Bain was innocent of the murder of his parents, brother and two sisters “on the balance of probabilities”.

Collins publicly questioned the findings and ordered a review by High Court judge Robert Fisher. Fisher pointed to errors in Binnie’s findings.

Bain’s legal team took the matter to the High Court and asked for a judicial review.

And they now seem to be making some progress.

I don’t have an opinion on whether Bain deserves compensation.

I’m not neutral on the Bain murders, but I’m uncertain. There doesn’t seem to be compeling evidence either way. And from what I’ve seen some evidence points one way and other evidence points another.

The fact is that legally Bain has been acquitted. And he’s trying to get financial redress.

If he is innocent (and that’s a distinct possibility) then he has a crap twenty years, having had the rest of his family killed or topped, copping all the blame and being locked away for years.

If he killed his family (and that’s also still a possibility) he has either got a massive cheel seeking compensation.

Or he’s been swept up in the Karam campaign and doesn’t know how to tell them to leave it now he’s at least out of prison.

I’m sure others will have views on this, many feel strongly one way or the other.

Collins should return as Minister but Williamson unlikely

In an interview on One News’ Breakfast yesterday John Key indicated the chances of Judith Collins and Maurice Williamson returning to ministerial positions.

Somebody who does have a closer relationship with Cameron Slater, no doubt ongoing, is Judith Collins…

John Key: Yeah.

…and it make have been what, you know, what led to her demise effectively by the end of it but we know it was. 

John Key: Yeah.

Tell us about you know you have opened the door a wee bit since being re-elected, or rather since she was cleared…

John Key: Yes.

…to saying one day we’ll see her back. What about herself and Maurice Williamson, I mean realistically   2015, could that be a year that one or both of them could be back up there in the powerhouse with you?

John Key: It’s possible. I mean I think if you take, they’re in different situations probably in their career.

I mean Maurice is getting near the end of his career, um, he’s been a very good Minister …

But he has shown that he would quite like…

John Key: Yeah yeah and he’d like and he’d like, look I think he’d like to do other things. I mean but I’m just saying he’s, I think he’s our longest serving MP, um it doesn’t mean he hasn’t got lots of other good things to do, I’m just slightly different stages.

A fairly clear signal that Williamson should be looking for other things to do.

John Key: In the case of Judith, Judith was a very good Minister. You know people, people attack her and criticise her and yep, she had the persona of being Crusher Collins if you like, but lots of political parties have people that have, you know a slightly tougher personality.

I mean it didn’t stop Trevor Mallard from being a Minister the whole way through, and lots of other people.

The point is that she was actually cleared of the very thing that she stood down for. So can she come back? I think the answer to that is yes.

It sounds like Collins will be strongly considered the next time Key reshuffles his Cabinet. That’s likely to be about a year away at least, unless there’s a resignation in the meantime.

Goff to write for Sunday Star Times

Last week Judith Collins started a weekly column for Sunday Star Times. It was promised that someone from ther left would also have a column, and today they announced that it would be Phil Goff.

New columnist Phil Goff goes toe-to-toe with Judith Collins

When we announced last week that Judith Collins would be writing a column for the Sunday Star-Times, it excited comment across the broadcast and digital media.

1) Love her or hate her, Judith Collins is without doubt one of the most uncompromising, no-holds-barred personalities in New Zealand.

We think it’s time to respect our readers’ intelligence and let them make up their own minds on what she has to say for herself.

2) This is not new and shocking. Indeed, there is plenty of healthy precedent for senior MPs writing columns for the country’s big papers – among them, David Lange, Simon Upton, Deborah Coddington, John Tamihere, Jim Anderton and George Hawkins.

3) Finally, for those who believe commissioning Judith Collins was an outrage, I have more bad news … as foreshadowed, I’ve taken on a second MP, too. Phil Goff will go toe-to-toe with Collins in the Sunday Star-Times every week. Goff, once the leader of the Labour Party, has now been moved off new leader Andrew Little’s front benches. Like Judith Collins, he is freed of the constraints of collective responsibility – both of them can call it like they see it. If that means they sometimes criticise their own leaders, so be it. This weekend, the former foreign affairs minister will examine whether Kiwis should be allowed to go take up arms in foreign wars like those in Syria and Iraq.

David Farrar posted on this, saying that after Collins’ first column was published “The outrage on Twitter was hilarious.” It was.

And on this announcement he said “This is hilarious as many on the left regard Goff as a right wing sell out. I look forward to more howls of outrage.”

And sure enough the far left aren’t happy, or still aren’t happy (are they ever?)

At The Standard Phil Ure:

but..but..two rightwing neo-lib/fuck-the-poor warmongers..

..what will they find to disagree about..?

And Mark:

What – Two right wingers having a column in a Sunday paper. You would have thought that they would have gone for someone from the left for balance but why break the habits of a lifetime.

And I checked out one who spluttered the most on Twitter, Giovanni Tiso. But he seems to have taken offence at me posting Giovanni Tiso et al versus Judith Collins a few days ago, when I tried to view his Twitter account I got “You are blocked from following @gtiso and viewing @gtiso’s Tweets.”

Many on the hard left are intolerant of different opinions and especially of criticism. Tiso would probably shut down most of the media and most of the Internet if he could. He tries – after the Collins column last weekend he started a campaign against the Sunday Star Times.

But it’s not hard to find out what his response to the Goff news was.

@gtiso responds predictably:

HAHAHAHAHAHA! oh my God.

Milne must have been on the phone for like six days straight until they got to Goff. Fuck me.

A hard-hitting left wing politician! HAHAHAHAHAH!!! I swear they are trying to kill me. They’ll find my corpse under my desk. HAHAHAHA!!!

I’m dying over here. Goff. Christ. Mr TPP! Hehehehe… [wipes tear] Okay I’m good now.

He might have fancied his own chances of being a left enough balance, but having tried to organise a subscription cancelling campaign against the SST I doubt he would be considered favourably. They are unlikely to pander to the perpetually pissed off.

I doubt whether Tiso and others will be happy until and the government conform to their ideals. Which will be never.

Giovanni Tiso et al versus Judith Collins

Giovanni Tiso launched a social media campaign against the Sunday Star Times because they published a column by Judith Collins.

Tiso has a history of this sort of action. He attacked Radio Live for a Roastbusters interview. Praise and support for this wore off when Tiso took his attempts to shame advertisers too far.

He campaigned against Canon for sponsoring awards when a best blog award was won by Cameron Slater. Tiso’s own blog was a finalist.

And he started campaigning against the Sunday Star Times in the weekend because they published a column by Judith Collins. he got some push back but kept fighting.

you and have no problem with people who poisoned the political conversation to get rewarded

If everyone who Tiso thought “poisoned the political conversation” was banned from media it would be a severely diminished forum.

Danyl joined the Tiso campaign at Dimp-Post.

Liberal media watch, Sunday edition

There’s been a big debate on twitter about Judith Collins’ Sunday Star Times column. The column itself is here, and it is about concrete fiber board. It is possibly the most boring thing there has ever been a twitter debate about.

Some people are upset about the column because they feel Judith Collins is disgraced: Oravida, her role in Dirty Politics, etc. I don’t have a problem with disgraced political columnists per se. After all, Rodney Hide has a column.

But he admits that…

I do have a few problems with the SST appointing Collins. One is that – as Finlay Macdonald said on Twitter – the media is supposed to be holding MPs – especially government MPs – to account, not giving them jobs. Also, the government already has a huge platform to communicate to the public.

His Green Party seem to get quite a bit of material out via the media. And shouldn’t we hear more from MPs, not less?

So various people on Twitter are calling for boycotts and canceling their subscriptions. I’m not quite there yet. Not over a column about concrete fiber board. But I’m thinking about it, and encourage anyone else troubled by all this to do the same. Various journalists on twitter are up in arms over this suggestion: ‘What about all the good content in Fairfax papers? What if good people lose their jobs, etc?’

Here’s my question to them. The Dirty Politics saga was a media scandal as much as a political scandal. What are people who are offended by it supposed to do, exactly, when they’re confronted by an editor like the SST’s Jonathan Milne, who is cheerfully demonstrating that not only has he learned nothing, but that he’s determined to keep pushing the barrow out, get dirtier, make his little corner of the media more sleazy, more compromised, more biased? Canceling your subscription is pretty much the only power we have.

So he seems to be on Tiso’s side there. And as compromised and dirty as him, suggesting that “the most boring thing there has ever been a twitter debate about” is “get dirtier, make his little corner of the media more sleazy”.

Martyn Bradbury also jumps in the bashwagon,

Collins appointment to Sunday Star Times cements Rights dominance over mainstream media

That the Sunday Star Times would appoint a Politician so mired in the filth of Dirty Politics shows that the mainstream media have learnt nothing from Dirty Politics and they actually just don’t give a damn about any pretence towards balance.

I don’t read the Sunday Star Times. I don’t care if Judith Collins writes columns for them or not. I don’t care if carefully balanced lefties are also allowed to write for them (Tiso discussed the need for an equal and opposite MP to balance the newspaper).

@gtiso

Rewarded with a megaphone. Rewarded with a shot at rebuilding her credibility.

Every MP disgraced by Tiso should be banned from trying to rebuild their credibility. We can’t have them repairing any damage and trying to do their jobs.

Perhaps newspapers could set up a social media system where very article and column was vetted and approved or rejected by Giovanni, Danyl and the rest of the self appointed media police.

Or they could ignore them.

Judith Collins cleared

Judith Collins has been cleared of allegations she was involved in a smear campaign against former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

Dirty Politics: No evidence Judith Collins acted inappropriately – report

Again the Herald headlines “Dirty Politics” when the dirt has again backfired or been grossly overblown.

Ms Collins resigned her ministerial portfolios in the lead-up to this year’s election after an email emerged that appeared to link her to a blog campaign to undermine former Serious Fraud Office boss Adam Feeley.

Prime Minister John Key initiated a government inquiry into the matter, headed by High Court judge Justice Lester Chisholm.

The inquiry found that while Ms Collins had provided information about Mr Feeley to WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater, “there was nothing improper about the provision of this information”.

Today Mr Key released the findings of the inquiry, saying he received the report yesterday and wanted to get it out at the earliest opportunity.

“I am pleased the report shows no evidence that Ms Collins acted inappropriately.”

He also said he would recommending to the Governor-General that Ms Collins she granted use of the title “The Honourable” for life.

The “Dirty Politics” campaign always looked like it was making more of snippets of information than the facts justified. That seems to be how things are turning out.

Key has apologised to Slater

John Key has apologised to Cameron Slater for releasing a personal email. Stuff reports John Key says sorry to Whale Oil.

The prime minister has apologised to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater over the release of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation.

An email from Slater, obtained and released by Key, implicated Collins in the smear against her own official, saying she had been “gunning” for SFO director Adam Feeley.

Collins resigned, insisting she would clear her name. Key called an inquiry. Slater countered by lodging a privacy complaint against the prime minister for disclosing a personal email.

The email indicated Feeley may have been the target of a campaign to undermine him involving two bloggers, Cathy Odgers and Slater, and seemingly endorsed by Collins.

Justice Lester Chisholm is due to present his report to the prime minister this week. It is likely to clear Collins of any illegal actions. However, the bloggers may be the subject of criticism.

Despite this, Key has been forced to say sorry to Slater and Key’s office has confirmed: “The Prime Minister recently wrote to Mr Slater to apologise.”

But he stood by his actions. “The Prime Minister believes, however, it was in the public interest to release the email in question publicly,” a spokeswoman said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it would not release the letter as it related to a privacy issue, but it was up to Slater to decide if he wished to make it public.

Slater yesterday agreed to issue a copy of the letter.

In it, Key says there was “intense media and public interest in matters concerning you and Judith Collins, following the publication of the book Dirty Politics”, creating an “election issue”.

Slater’s email raised serious questions about Collins’ conduct, he says. “In my view the reasons for Ms Collins’ resignation were of real and legitimate public concern, and it was in the public interest that the fullest possible factual background be available.”

But Key acknowledges the release of the email provoked increased media scrutiny of Slater and his family. “I regret any harm that may have been caused to you or your family by the release of the email, and hope that this letter may help to bring this matter to a close.”

The report from an inquiry into an alleged smear campaign against the boss of the Serious Fraud Office is due out soon (by Friday 28th).

Neither Collins nor the bloggers were willing to comment before the report was released.

That’s understandable.

Collins and Slater appear to have lied about Facebook

On Monday Judith Collins and Cameron Slater denied having any Facebook communications and suggested they could have been forgeries.

@JudithCollinsMP

I have no record of any FB conversations with Whaleoil. Cam Slater has advised that he had no FB conversations with me. Forgeries?

@Whaleoil

Latest smear is false, I have never had FB conversations with @judithcollinsmp. Hackers break the law, media ignoring crime

However @Whaledump has tweeted and dumped:

.@JudithCollinsMP and @WhaleOil think there’s no evidence because they deleted the account that JC was using.

The content of the messages identify them as @JudithCollinsMP’s, clear as day.
http://pastebin.com/URchZJyJ

This includes:

————————-
July 31, 2011
————————-
Facebook User, 7/31, 2:44am

Yes, saw it! She will too as will the others. AB was helping young Nats distribute my Collins Courier newspaper yesterday. I was surprised.
————————-
Cameron Slater, 7/31, 2:45am

as am i

maybe he is looking for some young blood

This is a strong suggestion Collins and Slater may have lied about not using Facebook.

That would make the hole Collins is in even deeper.

Slater’s long game as good as pig shit

Cameron Slater has often claimed to be playing a ‘long game’, as he stated in a recent blog post: “You people know I play a long game.”

His ball is now seen as toxic and many people will have been rapidly re-assessing their willingness to play with him in the future.

His short game is in tatters with his friend Judith Collins’ career teetering on the edge of a cliff largely of Slater’s making. And National’s election chances have been severely dented, as noted by ‘Mark’ on Kiwiblog:

Key and the National leadership have very little time to try to get the election agenda back onto policy issues. The concept of a Labour/Greens coalition ruining the country is an awful prospect but thanks to Collins apparent indiscretions what looked highly unlikely is now becoming a very real threat

Despite Labour’s awful second term and Cunliffe’s inherent lack of popularity Collins and Slater may have achieved a defeat for National.

Also thanks to Slater Collins’ long game appears to be in tatters. She may be able to recover to Minister level but I doubt Key would giver her that back if National cling on. But Collins must have slipped down the National pecking order significantly, and any leadership ambitions must be burnt toast.

And Slater is toxic damaged goods. His revenue options must have been severely affected. And who in politics with serious ambitions would want to be seen to be associated with him. Apart from Collins the other MPs assisted by Slater and Lusk are remaining very quiet on any links. If they have any ambition or sense they will have cut their mentors off altogether.

When you keep abusing and kicking the referee, all the players of the other team and many players of your own team once the ball has burst as it has done future game prospects must be severely limited.

In a recent blog post Key’s not my guy either Slater wrote:

As Key knows, he’s not my guy either.

He also repeated something he often says:

You wrestle with pigs, two things are certain. You get dirty, and the pig likes it.

But sooner or later the number of people willing to go near or be associated with the sty will dry up.

On Q & A two weeks ago Slater seemed to suggest he was bigger than the current Prime Minister.

Susan Wood: You must realise now that from the Prime Minister’s perspective you’d be pretty toxic. He’ll be wanting to keep away from you to distance himself. Surely he will be doing that won’t he, and you’ll find yourself out in the cold?

Cameron Slater: It’s of no concern to me. Prime Ministers come, Prime Ministers go. You know in my lifetime I’ve met and dealt with almost every Prime Minister from Robert Muldoon till the present day. Long after John Key has disappeared from the political scene I’ll still be involved.

(Video)

What future Prime Minister or prospective party leader or Prime Minister would want to be associated with the dirty politics of Slater?

Slater has always been and remains unrepentant about his methods, but they must surely be consigned to a less than savoury part of our political history.

He may well be still involved in the political scene after Key has departed but his ambitions of being a major player must be as diminished as his credibility.

Bloggers come, bloggers go.

And hopefully the Slater style of dirty politics is as good as gone. It’s not the long game most people want in a decent modern democracy.

Slater may see his future as wrestling in mud but his long game is as good as pig shit.

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