LawFuel – The Law Newswire – In a slap in the face for the New Zealand judiciary, the Privy Council has deemed the multiple murder convictions of David Bain a ‘substantial miscarriage of justice’ and quashed the convictions.
The embarrassing decision also leaves open the major question: will the Crown proceed with another trial, given the criticisms and apparent weakness in their case and the evidence presented at the original trial?
The Privy Council, in their dramatic final act, have drawn down the curtain on a case that may remain as one of the most tragic and ill-fought prosecutions in the history of New Zealand law. It promises to leave open more questions and raise more issues about jurisprudence, police investigation and the political process than it served to answer in its actual decision.
Bain was convicted for murdering his parents, sisters, and brother in 1994 and the five law lords ordered a new trial. All had died from .22 gunshot wounds to their heads. However Bain would have to remain in prison awaiting that retrial.
The decision, in what is almost certainly the last case heard by the Privy Council, superseded by New Zealand’s home-based Supreme Court, is also a supreme embarrassment for the New Zealand judicial system.
The Bain case has been heralded as a quagmire of contradictory, misleading and false evidence in the 13 years since the original trial and Bain’s innocence has been championed by former All Black Joe Karam.
The Privy Council hearing was conducted by Michael Reed QC and Paul Morton while New Zealand’s new Solicitor General, David Collins QC, appeared for the prosecution with others.
Bain has maintained his innocence since being jailed for slaying five members of his family in their Dunedin home in 1994.
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