28 Jun 2009

Former Bain lawyer calls for legal system overhaul

3:05 pm on 28 June 2009

A former defence lawyer for David Bain, Colin Withnall QC, is calling for the legal system to be overhauled.

Mr Withnall joined Mr Bain's defence team in 1996 and took charge of an ultimately unsuccessful petition to the Governor-General. He stepped aside in 2004 years ago, but has remained a quiet supporter of Mr Bain.

Mr Withnall says the adversarial-based legal system, based on a jury's verdicts being beyond reasonable doubt, has descended into a point-scoring exercise and has got out of control.

He favours a move towards an inquisitorial legal system, which is used in some European countries and involves the court taking on more of a fact-finding role.

Justice Minister Simon Power has plans to reform the criminal justice system but says he has no plans to overhaul the adversarial system.