Friday, 5 June 2009

David Bain [updated]

I haven‘t commented on this case up until now since I was out of the country when the first trial took place, so didn’t know enough to talk about it.  Now that the jury is out this time, however, I think I’ve seen enough to make a call (based, to be fair, only on media reports of the trial, never a completely reliable thing to do).

One thing about this case is that the usual rules of “beyond reasonable doubt” don’t apply.  This is a unique situation in which one of two people did the job, either David or Robin, and one of those two is dead.  Which means that if you prove one did or didn’t do it, then the reverse holds true for the other.  No other possibility exists.

And for any jury to believe that it was Robin who killed the family, there’s a list a mile long of things you would need to believe that simply defy reality – and fortunately for me, David Farrar has done the hard work summed them all up beautifully.

To me it looks as conclusive as it’s possible to be.  It can’t have been Robin, not unless you can believe thirty-five impossible things before breakfast.  Which means it must have been  the other guy. David.

I think Joe Karam has wasted his money, and his devotion.  And I think, despite the munted police evidence, that the juries got it right before.

UPDATE: In relation to the question of beyond reasonable doubt, Justice Panckhurst’s summing up is worth noting.

    Was it Robin or was it David? . . .
    It can in fact be refined in this way: is it proved beyond reasonable doubt that David killed all five members of his family, including Robin, [or to put it another way, has] the Crown proven beyond all reasonable doubt that this was not a case of suicide?

“There is simply no place for emotion,” said Panckhurst, referring to the frankly odd summing of Bain’s defence counsel, who invited jurors to bring in a ‘not guilty’ verdict on the basis that David is “a nice guy” and must have found it hard to sit through all this evidence again.  In the end they have to answer four questions:

  • Did Robin Bain commit suicide?  My answer: It’s not in any way realistic.
  • Whose bloody footprints were found in the home? My answer: Inconclusive.
  • Who typed the message: “Sorry, you are the only one who deserved to stay.” My answer: It could only have been the bloke who thought he was.
  • And who had the violent fight with Stephen? My answer: Well, only one of the two had injuries consistent with such a fight.

So in short, was it Robin or was it David?  That is the basic question.  And my answer: David.


  1. Wrong, there was a scenario that showed that Robin could of easily shot himself and that Davids footprints etc didnt have to made by him either. The message on the computer when he was walking they say isnt important i say it is very important. The house is burnt down and much evidence altered by Police also

  2. Wrong, there was a scenario that showed that Robin could of easily shot himself and that Davids footprints etc didnt have to made by him either. The message on the computer when he was walking they say isnt important i say it is very important. The house is burnt down and much evidence altered by Police also

  3. Interesting. The coverage has been so jumbled, and the facts so tenuous, that I was thinking there's no way the jury could do anything other than acquit. I think you're right and he "probably" did it, but that's not good enough when you have to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt of innocence.

    It will certainly be interesting to see what verdict is returned. So many people seem to be emotionally invested in this case, despite not knowing anyone involved. I hope, whatever the decision, this is the end of the matter, but I can see our friends the media dragging it out for weeks yet in post-analysis.

  4. We'll never know for sure one way or the other - whichever verdict is out, a whole heap of people will be outraged. Might as well as tossed a coin and saved the cost of the trial.

    For what it's worth, I know about half a dozen guys who spent time in Christchurch Prison and met Bain - ALL of them thought he was bullshitting, and I put a fair bit of faith in their opinions.

  5. The "beyond reasonable doubt" standard still does apply, legally.

    It's not necessary for the defence to prove that Robin did it. All they had to do was make the jury believe that it might be possible that he might've done it, to within the "reasonable doubt" level.

    Quite likely, if Robin and David could each be tried separately, they'd both be acquited for lack of proof to that standard. And that's exactly as it should be. I don't want to live in a country where we feel it's more important to lock up someone when a terrible crime has happened, than to make sure it's the right someone.

    If the only moral we get to draw is that the police and prosecutors should do their damn' job better next time, that'll be worth it.

  6. I reckon David did it,but he'll be acquitted,thanks to police incompetence.If so ,it will be interesting to see how the burden of being an acquited psychopathic mass murderer/celebrity manifests itself in the future.(I know, an acquitted murderer is probably an oxymoron but I hope you catch my drift)

  7. More to the point, who gives a fuck about this stupid case- when there is a Labour Party Corruption Trial going on at the same time!

    How come the Labour Party Corruption Trial isn't all over the MSM?

  8. I have argued before the trial even started that physical/forensic evidence pointed directly to David. Unless someone must believes that the laws of Physics were suspended in David's case (similar to biblical stories/myths where laws of Physics had to be broken/suspended in order for true believers to accept that those miracle events described in the bible must have been true).

    Those who believe that David is innocent must also believe that Jesus Christ fed 5000 people who attended his preach at the mountain with ONLY 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread and there were 12 baskets left over. What's the connection ? Well, they're both unphysical phenomena (meaning, not physically realistic).

    But anyway, David has become a celebrity because there are certain nutters in the general public who can't add 1 + 2 = 4.

  9. For Robin to commit the murders and then kill himself - Why would he wear gloves? Why would he try to hide the evidence by putting bloody clothes in the washing machine? There was no need for Robin to hide the identity of the murderer. Whoever committed the murders tried very hard to hide that they did it. That completely contradicts the supposed suicide note. The jury in the 1990's got it right - I hope they do so again.

  10. If there are doubts about David Bain's guilt we may as well not bother with murder trials, because the evidence is just So strong thqt nothing short of a signed admission and/or dozens of exactly corroborating witnesses will be enough to convict someone in future. CSI has a lot to answer for.


  11. What about the gloves? If Robin Bain intended on killing himself, WHY did he wear gloves as if trying to cover it up or hide the fact that it was him - WHY would you do that if you had intentions of ending your own life? Thats what makes me think it was David... The 911 call also had me wondering... I would have been hysterical - screaming crying.... He didn't really sound like someone who had just found his whole family dead!

  12. Not guilty 4.30pm

  13. Richard McGrath5 Jun 2009, 17:44:00

    Looks like the butler did it after all.

  14. Michael Fasher5 Jun 2009, 17:52:00

    And the gun magazine was found standing upright not on its side what are the odds of it falling like that

  15. Not much more than the odds of someone putting it there like that on purpose. Hardly enough to remove reasonable doubt, and to send someone to jail for life for. The other evidence is much more damning.

  16. Elijah Lineberry5 Jun 2009, 19:42:00

    Delighted with the verdict; the crown case in both trials was the biggest load of old cobblers I had ever heard.

    As someone who can empathise with David Bain (being the victim of evil people and trumped up charges which are nonsense) I can imagine the relief he must be feeling at the moment.

    Well done David Bain!

  17. This was a foregone conclusion. Historical trials have all that water under the bridge to fuzz up important facts to just that degree where 'beyond reasonable doubt' is impossible to reach.


    (PS: Elijah - still waiting, no email.)

  18. I feel for the original jury, who I believe got it right. What was the point though? Too much is made of Beyond Reasonable Doubt, because in most murder cases there is always doubt. Typical of the media to be so delighted, they don't care about truth or hard facts, do they.

  19. Soooo, you put a little time into finding out for yourself and have come to the same conclusions as the Police did all those years ago.

    This is IN SPITE of a ruling declaring that a serious misconduct of justice had been made, followed by a retrial and acquittal made by people more educated and informed than you or I.

    I lived in Dunedin at the time of the murder, read books arguing both sides of the case, and also have friends who went to school with David Bain, or were friends of the family.

    Frankly, I find your opinion misguided. If you want to learn more try

  20. David Hore said...
    followed by a retrial and acquittal made by people more educated and informed than you or I.

    Lawyers are no more educated than anyone who has done tertiary eduction. What I have seen in courts is understandable to even a city council's toilet cleaner, ie, the types of arguments & reasoning used. The only thing that non-lawyers didn't follow was the reference to the law book by both defense and the prosecutors and apart from that, the general public can easily followed the arguments & counter-arguments by both opposing legal teams. I mean, you don't need to be educated to understand the evidence the prosecution team presented where in fact they found a fibre from David's jersey under Steven's (younger brother) fingernail.

    On the other hand, you need to be very good in interpreting evidence and it weighing (ie, chaining of events as a whole rather than throwing doubt on a single evidence which can bring the whole case down), ie, you need a brain to be able to weigh evidence in a logical manner. So, I guess that you also imply that the jury were more informed. I say no, because it wasn't a close trial, since everything was out into the public domain, therefore some members of the jury didn't have the brain/intellgence to interpret the info correctly. Here is why I think the jury got it wrong, as I commented on another blog about this case:

    The jury were just not upto it. We need jury members with PhDs in Physics/Mathematics, so that it ensures they understand the process of reasoning with uncertainty. It is time that softwares with inference mechanisms based on evidence should be introduced to our courts, exactly as DNA has been accepted & introduced into our courts over the last decade or so.

    This type of reasoning/inference mechanism based on prior probability of facts is introduced in the following paper, called Bayesian Belief Network (BBN):

    Use of Bayesian Belief Networks in legal reasoning

    This inference engine is as revolutionary as the DNA.

    It is a sad day for justice in New Zealand.

    David said...
    Frankly, I find your opinion misguided.

    No, I think that you & the jury (if you were a juror in Bain's trial) were misguided, because you didn't have the brain or knowhow of weighing evidence by way of causal effects based on facts prior probability. To be honest, the jury members were so dumbed and that's fact.

  21. Hi all, Has anyone considered Stephen despatched the family and upon David's return, David finds himself fighting him to the death in self defense!!

  22. RKN, I was thinking something along those lines myself, but thought it looked like David might have shot his old man after a struggle then panicked and tried to make it look like a murder-suicide. It'd explain a hell of a lot of things that are still unanswered.

  23. So RKN. On about the coldest day in a Dunedin winter, 14 yr old Stephen Bain gets up in just his underwear, puts on gloves, shoots three members of his family, hides in wait and shoots his father then doesn't hide and wait to shoot David, but instead goes back to his room, waits for David in his underwear and gloves, David comes into the room and somehow shoots Stephen in the head, both gloves come off as they struggle, then David goes and washes his bloody clothes, calls the police and can't remember how it happened?

    Give me a break.

  24. If motive was more important than all the evidence, then how come nobody suspected Laniet did it?


  25. How come everyone only comments on the simple plot that either one or the other has done it? I know the jury was instructed to look at the case that way but could it not be possible that David found Robin in the house shooting or having shot all his family members after which David managed to shoot Robin in a blackout of furie?

    It would fit the evidence so much better and all this one or the other rubbish.

  26. What a Class A botch up. Oh well. Back to issuing speeding tickets & crucifying "boy racers".


    1.It was a lucky guess when David Bain told 111 ambulance officer they are all dead, despite later saying he only saw two bodies
    2.Again a lucky guess hen DB told police officer they are all dead
    3.The 25 minute gap between DB finding his family dead and calling 111 is in no way connected with trying to wash clothes and removed blood.
    4.The bruise on David’s head and scratches on his chest and graze on his knee – none of which he could explain, were just a coincidence
    5.The lens from his glasses found in Stephen’s room happened weeks ago and he never noticed OR someone else had borrowed the glasses
    6.The lack of fresh injuries on Robin despite the massive struggle with Stephen is just the product of healthy living
    7.David’s finger prints on gun are from a previous time
    8.David telling a friend he had premonition something bad was going to happen was a genuine psychic experience
    9.Stephen’s blood on David’s clothing was nothing to do with the struggle – OR someone else borrowed his clothes
    10.Robin managed to execute his family on a full bladder
    11.The lock and key to the rifle being found in David’s room is not relevant as they were obviously placed there
    12.Robin decided to wash David’s green jersey to remove blood and the fibres from jersey found under Steven’s finger nails
    13.David’s bloody palm print on the washing machine was from him checking the bodies
    14.The Ambulance officer was wrong when he said in his opinion Bain was pretending to have a fit
    15.Robin Bain would logically wear gloves to prevent fingerprints despite it being a murder-suicide

  28. 16.That Robin Bain would type a message on a computer for David telling him he is the only one who deserves to live, instead of writing a note. A hand written note incidentally would have cleared David.
    17.Also that having just shot his family, and knowing David was due home, that Robin would wait 44 seconds for the computer to boot up to leave a message
    18.Robin would decide David deserved to live, but go out of his way to frame him for murder
    19.Robin Bain placed fibres from Davids jersey under Stephen’s finger nails
    20.Robin Bain would shoot himself with a gun in the most awkward way possible?
    21.That Robin Bain changed jerseys after he had killed his family and in particular Stephen Bain, washed the jersey, hung it on the line and then change into a brown jersey before killing himself?
    22.That there is a logical reason that David Bain can not account for the injuries on his face, the bruise or the scraped knee, yet knows he did not have them during his paper run.
    23.That Robin Bain put blood on the inside of David’s duvet and on his light switch
    24.That there is an innocent explanation for why David says he put on washing before he discovered the bodies, yet there is a blood print on the washing machine.
    25.That Laniet was being paranoid when she told friends she was scared of David
    26.That the “family meeting” David called the previous night and insisted everyone attended was not a way to make sure everyone would be at home to kill.
    27.That Robin Bain would wear a hat while shooting himself in the head.
    28.That even though David told a relative he hated his father, his father did not know this and deliberately decided David was the only one who deserved to live
    29.That David either imagined hearing Laniet gurgling or she gurgled 20 minutes after death
    30.That Laniet allegations of incent with Robin was true, as was her claims she had given birth three times by the age of 12 and a half.
    31.That Robin Bain managed to kill four family members without a single trace of his blood, skin, or DNA being left at the scene.
    32.That it is a coincidence that on the morning of the murders Bain took his dog onto a property, ensuring he would be noticed to give him an alibi.
    33.That the magazine found balanced on an edge next to Robin was not placed there by David but fell onto its edge from Robin’s arms.
    34.That a sickly Robin Bain managed to overpower his teendage son who put up a furious fight
    35.That Robin Bain went and got the newspaper from outside, despite planning to shoot himself

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. The Defence claims Robin got changed after the murders to "meet his maker" . But there was no blood in the caravan.

    David bought the gun and said the key used to unlock it was in a vase that he only knew about.

    If the father sits down at the computer after the killing, wouldn't he be tempted to leave a longer note explaining his actions,

    If David really turned up to find his parents dead , why did he not check to see his brother and sisters were ok? why didnt he call the ambulance quicker to see if they were alive and could be saved. Why does he stay in a house that could have a potential killer in it?

    David has not ever questioned why his father did it or shown much grief for his dead family, has he ever said he misses them.

    David said the police lied when they said the father shot them in their sleep. He said He had to look them in the eye. How could he have possibly known that if he wasn't the killer.

    Someone should build a timeline of what Robin Bain would have had to done to commit the murders. Robin Bain deserves a fair trial too. If a journalist put Robin on trial it would help get the truth out. There's beyond reasonable doubt that Robin did it.

  31. If Robin killed the family and then went back and got changed there would have been some blood on the commer van out back which he slept in. If Robin had gone and got changed to meet his maker as the defence says he would have picked better clothes. NZ herald site shows them as track pants with holes in them, and a worn out jersey it looks like something u would sleep in.

  32. PLEASE!! How can anyone doubt his guilt?
    Since the trial we have heard further evidence from good members of the gain.
    Paper round as alibi.
    Gun to Stephens head while asleep and he thought he was dreaming because no brother would do that.
    "I shot the prick"
    Plus various other stuff.
    Now he has also fled the country!!!
    What really sickens me is not only is Robin taking the blame but reading some of the other posts some have even suggested Stephen!!
    You should be ashamed as for some reason these 2 people cannot defend themslves while their son and brother is tripping round the world on money he should be paying back to the taxpayers!!!After all it is our money that got him freed.

  33. CORRECTION to last post.

    "good members of the community with nothing to gain"

  34. to sign petition

    Facebook "Justice For Robin Bain"

    For truth and justice.Defending those that cant defend themselves

  35. I am a Criminology student, who is doing an (extensive) assignment on the case for uni. I think that David is guilty. Just because Robin had an alleged motive and David (apparently) did not, makes no difference. I think the note on the computer tells you alot about David's possible motive. From a psychological point of view, a person committing murder/suicide is 99.9% unlikely to leave one family member alive, unless they have no choice. It is entirely unlikely that he would resolve to leave David alive! And the phrase just doesn't ring true. It totally sounds like David wrote it, and that he believed he was better than his family. Plus they found blood on David's duvet, which raises suspicions. He mentioned to a friend years before that he planned to commit a crime using his paper route as an alibi. Robin did not have anyone else's blood on him. Witnesses said Rbin couldn't even bring himself to kill a spider, so how could he look his family in the eye and then kill them? Why would Robin have washed his bloody clothes, but not have gone to the toilet while in the bathroom/laundry. It just doesn't add up. People can think whatever they want to, but the only real thing which pointed to Robin was his alleged motive, which means nothing at all. David Bain got away with murder because of a biased jury.

  36. Hi Rebecca, If you require any help please contact us at one of the websites above. But Im sure you would of looked at them already?
    Im one of the guys jk is after so have heaps of info you may require.

  37. Rebecca, I take it you have visited ?
    Your pass with flying colours if you use the evidence and information included there.
    Sign the petition while your there.



  39. He probably killed his father before going on his paper round.


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