David Bain has been granted $925,000 by the government, not because they accept the court’s finding of not guilty and therefore agree he deserves compensation for being falsely locked up, but because they want his legal team to go away.
Not good enough.
David Bain is not important here. Respect for justice from the minister in charge of the system dispensing it should be. As I argued before…
The justice system is the best means humans have produced to determine the guilt or otherwise of someone accused of a crime – and it’s a whole lot better the a medieval ordeal by fire.
The role of a court hearing held within the justice system is to decide on a defendant’s guilt.
A court hearing reviewing a previous court hearing -- carried out as a properly constituted part of the process of the NZ justice system – overturned previous court hearings and found David Bain not guilty of the murder of his family and released him.
Whatever you or I or the justice minister feel about that decision, the properly constituted court found him not guilty, and had him released.
Seems to me now that there are only two responsible choices for the new minister considering compensation for what the judicial system determined was Bain’s wrongful imprisonment.
She should either accept the decision of the justice system, which is what the justice system is for, and compensate him.
Or, she should openly declare that the court’s decision is so unsafe it is prima facie evidence the justice system is broken.
Those are the only two possible responsible actions. Either compensate the man, or accept the system is so lack-lustre that the decisions of its courts can no longer be trusted.
Shopping around again for yet another extra-judicial legal opinion however, in the hope that this time the opinion might agree with the minister’s, suggests even the minister knows the justice system is broken but is too dishonest to admit it openly.
Which just brings the NZ injustice system –and the irresponsible ministers who have made it that -- into further disrepute.
The justice minister has neither accepted the decision nor conceded her injustice system is broken. Her attitude deserves disrepute.