Binnie on Bain

Sunday tonight has an interview of retired judge Ian Binnie on the Bain murders. Very interesting – if you want to see it and have missed it then try TV +1 from 8:30.

Binnie wrote the report that said that in all probability David Bain was innocent and deserved compensation from the Crown. It created a political furore.

Binnie believes David is almost certainly innocent, and that his father set things up to make it look like David had done it in an act of revenge.

He cites in particular that David Bain had no history of mental instability while his father Robin was in a deteriorating state and was effectively estranged from his family.

One thing doesn’t make sense if David did it – why did he kill his mother and siblings, go on his paper run, and then return and shoot his father.

Binnie says that the police inquiry was inept, complicated somewhat by the burning down of the Bain house by the Police about two weeks after the murders.

There is still a number of aspects that don’t make sense and could implicate both David and Robin.

Binnie says that Judith Collins is the poster case why a politician should not get involved in legal cases – she was Minister of Justice when the Binnie report was released.

Entrenched views on Bain case

The release of the Callinan report and the announcement that the Government would pay Bain nearly a million dollars to bring closure to legal actions is unlikely to change many if any minds about whodunnit.

It’s not unusual for pundits from the public to stick to what they believe regardless of evidence, but you would expect a journalist who has taken a close interest in the ongoing Bain cases and has written extensively about it would base his claims on known facts and law.

But Martin van Beyen appears to be determined to stick to his beliefs as much as anyone.

Stuff: Callinan report highlights issues in David Bain’s innocence appeal

Reporter MARTIN VAN BEYNEN, who covered David Bain’s retrial in 2009, believes the Callinan report highlights the longstanding flaws and inconsistencies in David’s story that he is innocent of the deaths of his family and that his father Robin was the killer. 

In just 144 pages, former Australian Supreme Court judge Ian Callinan lays bare David Bain’s case for compensation and finds it wanting.

For ardent followers of the case, Callinan’s report released on Tuesday doesn’t say much new. He has perused mountains of material and highlighted the flaws evident in Bain’s case as early as his trial in 1995 at which he was found guilty.

The report raises justifiable and inevitable doubts when looking at Bain’s account of what happened on 20 June, 1994 and the evidence the police investigation has revealed.

Callinan’s job was not to say whether Bain was innocent or guilty, although clearly on one reading of the report he appears to have doubts about Bain’s innocence.

Of course he has doubts, nothing has been conclusively proven one way or the other.

His job was to say whether he was satisfied Bain had proved whether he was innocent on the balance of probabilities. In other words, he had to be happy Bain was more probably innocent than guilty. The evidence provided by Bain’s defence failed to reach that threshhold, in Callinan’s view. 

The conclusion from that alleged failure is inescapable. If he can’t show he probably didn’t do it, he probably did it.

That is a ridiculous statement and a journalist who has covered criminal trials should know better.

Van Beyen has written in the past that he is convinced that David is guilty of the murder of his parents and siblings. He has weighed up the evidence and made his judgement, as many people have.

But stating that a failure to prove you didn’t do something means you ‘probably did it’ it nonsense.

I can’t prove that I have done nearly everything I have done in my life. And it’s even harder to prove things that I haven’t done.

Most of us wouldn’t be able to prove now what we were doing on 20 June 1994, let alone what we were not doing. Or for parts of just about any day of our lives.

From what I know about the Bain case there is evidence that seems to suggest both possible guilt and possible innocence of both David Bain and his father Robin. To me it is inconclusive either way.

The quantity of implicative evidence and the lack of conclusive evidence makes it easy for those convinced one way or the other to cherry pick bits that fit their beliefs.

The only person left who probably knows is David, and he still insists he is innocent. Perhaps he is right, or perhaps he is caught in a story of denial, or whatever.

But I am still not sure if it was David, or if it was Robin, or if it was both David and Robin, or if it was someone else. Neither is the Callinan report. Neither apparently is the Minister of Justice or the Government.

Quite often things remain unproven forever.

 

Martin van Beynen unconvincing on Bain evidence

Christchurch Press writer Martin van Beynen has responded to the new discussions about the Bain case, dismissing the thumb marks:

The latest revelation is certainly not the clinching piece of evidence the programme claims. It’s not even particularly convincing.

Van Beynen is a well known believer in David Bain’s guilt.

Press senior writer Martin van Beynen has been writing about the Bain case since 1997 and covered David Bain’s second trial in Christchurch in 2009.

He has made no secret of his view that David Bain killed his family in June 1994, and today gives his opinion on the TV3-aired evidence which Bain’s supporters say removes all doubt about Bain’s innocence. 

On the thumb marks he says:

For a start the marks don’t even look much like the sort of powder deposits seen on the collection of Bain camp experts who participated in the tests by loading bullets into the rifle’s clip.

If the marks on Robin’s thumb are from the magazine they would have been deposited close to the moment Robin shot himself. So you would expect an imprint very similar to that left on the thumbs of the Bain experts. It’s possible some of the residue was removed as Robin placed and held the rifle to shoot himself in a very odd way but, amplified, the lines on Robin’s thumb look defined and crisp.

Unlike the marks left on the Bain camp’s thumbs, the marks on Robin’s digit are not parallel or soft in outline. They are also thinner and from what I can see, not even the same colour as the test marks.

If Robin was loading a number of bullets, as he must have according to the defence scenario, how come only one set of marks was left on his thumb? Did his thumb follow the same track every time?

This point has been brought up elsewhere.

It’s certainly possible to get multiple soot lines, this has happened to me when I’ve tried it.

But – when I’ve tested loading my magazine I usually push the bullets in barely touching the magazine with my thumb. Then when I’ve finished I press down on the top bullet to ensure it is in correctly and springs freely. This levels indentations on my thumb in a similar position to the thumb marks.

And just on Firstline an English arms expert has also suggested this. He said he has seen it often. In some cases if a magazine has sharp enough edges it can cut the thumb.

And the lines being out of parallel can be due to deformation of the thumb when you press down. When the skin and flesh go back into their normal shape the lines don’t always look parallel.

Van Beynen then goes over much covered ground. I question tTwo points he makes.

The new scenario propounded by the TV3 programme would have Robin shooting his family and then waiting to just before David was due to come home from his paper-run to turn on the computer (so he could write his last message) and, before shooting himself…

That sounds like a feasible scenario (except for the magazine placement) – Robin will have known he would have so much time while David was away on his paper round. Enough time to do what some allege.

The other scenario – David killing his mother, sisters and brother, going on his paper round, then hiding waiting for his father to come into the house, seems to me to be implausible. There was no guarantee that Robin would come into the house at any time, let alone a convenient time to fit in with this plan.

…placing the spare magazine on its narrowest side on the carpet. Then when he falls to the carpeted floor after the fatal shot, he conveniently lands with his hand right next to the magazine. It seems much more likely the killer placed the magazine on its edge right next to Robin’s hand to make it look like a suicide.

Why would anyone think of placing the magazine on the unlikeliest of positions? Why would it make it look like a suicide? This just doesn’t make any sense to me.

I think there is still more to be investigated regarding the thumb marks. There will no doubt be more claims and counter claims.

But I don’t think van Beynen adds any more to the argument. He is unconvincing in his criticism of then new evidence, and he mostly just rehashes old unresolved arguments.

And it seems odd for a journalist to have so strongly taken one side of a still very contentious and disputed case.

Bain thumb marks and thumb prints

More information has been made available by the police in response to the 3rd Degree revelation of parallel lines on Robin Bain’s right thumb.

Parallel lines are visible in both a photo and in a thumb print taken afterwards.

robinbain3

There’s doubt whether the lines are residue marks or indentations.

robin-bain-elimination-print

There are also parallel indentations at the top left of the thumb print.

Residue marks would presumably not show up in a thumb print like this. This suggests that either…

  • the thumb was injured earlier on one or two occasions leaving with parallel lines that curiously but coincidentally a similar distance apart as the sides of the rifle magazine.

Or…

  • the thumb was indented due to pressure on the magazine – I can replicate this – and the indentations remained after Robin Bain died. They would gradually disappear on a live thumb.

I have no idea if the second of those options is feasible. It would need an expert opinion from a pathologist.

Whether then indentations would show in a thumb print would depend on the degree and nature of the indentations, and how much they hold their shape on a dead thumb. The photo doesn’t seem to show any broken skin, so the pressure when thumb printing applies no matter what caused the indentations.

 

The only thing that’s certain is this adds to the substantial intrigue surrounding this case.

Police response to Bain thumb marks

News release on the Bain thumb marks from the police:

Police response to latest Bain theory

June 27, 2013, 5:30 pm

The latest story advanced through the media by representatives of David Bain is an interesting theory but is not new evidence says Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess.

“It is an interesting idea when taken in isolation, but is no more than a theory when taken out of context of all the other evidence which has been presented to several courts.

“Marks on a photograph can always be open to several interpretations by experts, and the significance or relevance of these marks have not been tested in court.

“Examination of the original photograph does not give any definitive indication of what the marks could be. There are other possibilities, including that they are minor cuts.

“We know for example that Robin Bain was doing work to the roof and spouting of his Every Street home in the days leading up to the killings – any Kiwi handyman knows the sort of damage this can do to the hands. Post mortem examination of Robin Bain’s hands shows a number of minor abrasions and marks you would expect to find with someone familiar with manual work.

“Indeed, police have today conducted a preliminary examination of fingerprints taken from Robin Bain after his death. These prints show an absence of fingerprint markings in the same place on his right thumb as the dark marks appearing in the photograph. Our fingerprint experts advise that this is consistent with someone sustaining cuts or damage to the fingers prior to prints being taken, which would then affect the print image.

Had these been powder marks or smudges as claimed, we would expect to see a complete fingerprint image.

“I also reiterate the evidence put forward in court that the only identifiable fingerprints found on the firearm belonged to David and Stephen Bain.

“Police will continue to look at this issue to gain a better understanding of what this photograph may show.

“However, I am mindful that this theory has been put forward through a programme whose makers chose not to seek comment from police prior to broadcast, and who also refused to provide details about their story when approached by police on Tuesday.

“Had they done so then we would have pointed out that fingerprints had been presented in evidence and have always been available through the court to help them decide if their story stacked up.”

http://www.police.govt.nz/news/release/35430.html

David Bain evidence and Kiwiblog links

David Giles has featured on 3rd degree as having discussed the Bain murder case on Kiwiblog, and followed a link from there to a photo that has uncovered what could be important new evidence in the case.

It shows that Robin Bain is likely to have loaded at least one of the rifle magazines used in the shooting.

New evidence could clear David Bain

A newly re-examined photo of Robin Bain’s hand could vindicate his son David from killing his whole family.

Waikato businessman David Giles has told 3rd Degree how he came across a crime scene photo of Robin’s hand online, and noticed some little marks on his thumb and forefinger.

“What struck me was the marks that were on Robin Bain’s thumb and forefinger,” he said. “We’ve got this rubbing mark here, and these twin parallel lines here. These are marks that are associated with loading the gun and handling the magazine.”

I’ve just tested this with my own .22 magazine and get marks in exactly the same place.

Kiwiblog threads:

READ MORE: A timeline of events in the David Bain case

UPDATEs:

Kiwiblog is at it again hamer and tongs in The Bain marks

From 3 News: