9 Apr 2009

Conflicting opinions from pathologists at Bain trial

5:05 pm on 9 April 2009

The second pathologist to give evidence at the retrial of David Bain has said the gunshot to Robin Bain's head was fired from up to 20 centimetres away, rather than being a close contact wound as another expert has testified.

David Bain, 37, is accused of shooting his father Robin, mother Margaret, sisters Laniet and Arawa and brother Stephen in their Dunedin home on 20 June 1994.

The defence says Robin Bain killed the family members present in the house before using the accused's rifle to shoot himself.

Pathologist Ken Thomson told the High Court in Christchurch on Thursday that the shot to Robin Bain's head was fired from an intermediate distance, and that blood found on one his fingernails was not consistent with him being able to shoot himself.

Another pathologist, Dr Alexander Dempster, earlier told the court the shot to Robin Bain's head could have been from near or close contact.

Dr Thomson said on Thursday that Laniet Bain was most likely to have first been shot through the cheek and kept breathing, explaning the blood in her lungs.

The Crown contends Mr Bain's admission he heard his sister Laniet gurgling was a sign that he was the killer, as he would only have been able to hear that noise if he was near her before two fatal shots were fired into her head.

On Tuesday, pathologist Alexander Dempster also said it was likely Laniet continued to breathe after the first shot, before being shot two more times.

But under cross-examination on Wednesday by defence lawyer Michael Reed, QC, Dr Dempster said he could not rule out the possibility that she kept breathing after the third shot.

The trial resumes on Wednesday.