3 Jun 2009

Police got Bain investigation wrong, says defence

10:27 pm on 3 June 2009

The defence completed its closing submissions in the retrial of David Bain on Wednesday, saying the police got their investigation into the killing of five Bain family members wrong from the start.

David Bain, 37, is accused of shooting his father Robin, mother Margaret, brother Stephen and sisters Arawa and Laniet 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.

Michael Reed, QC, has been defending David Bain for the past 13 weeks in the retrial, following a Privy Council decision in 2007 to quash his original convictions.

In his summary at the High Court in Christchurch, Mr Reed told the jury that this was the "most extraordinary case in New Zealand history".

He told the panel of seven women and five men that David Bain's innocence was "as obvious as night and day" and that his fate was now in their hands.

"A 15-year journey nearing its end with the judge summing up and you going away with the awesome responsibility to decide guilt or otherwise. You decide whether David goes home."

Mr Reed said David Bain has spent years rotting behind bars and asked the jury to put his client out of his misery and let him have his freedom.

Mr Reed said police clearly made a mistake at the start of their investigation and were stuck with it, as their egos took over.

He argued that Robin Bain was the only person capable of committing the murders at the family home in Every Street.

Mr Reed said only a psychopath or a cold-blooded person could have been the killer and asked the jury to consider who was most likely to be that psychopath.

He said David Bain has always been regarded by his friends as a nice guy and a pleasant and fun man - not a killer.

Crown 'U-turn'

Mr Reed criticised the Crown's closing address, saying its version of events were like an episode of Blackadder, and that the Crown had made a U-turn by telling the jury the only question it needed to consider is who killed Stephen Bain.

Crown prosecutor Kieran Raftery on Tuesday told the jury on Tuesday that whoever killed Stephen Bain killed everyone in the house.

Mr Reed said that change of tack is another sign that the Crown's case is absurd, as it asks to jury to disregard the weeks of complex evidence given about the other deaths in the house.

Mr Reed said if David Bain had killed his brother in a vicious fight, he would have had a lot more blood on his clothes.

He said the Crown's case is "absurd" and cannot be proven.

Mr Reed told the jury if David Bain is cleared he would be penniless, but would have the support of his great friends.

Justice Panckhurst will sum up the case and direct the jury on Thursday morning. Deliberations are expected to begin later in the day.