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Optometrist 'shocked' at Bain trial evidence

Published: 2:40PM Wednesday April 22, 2009 Source: NZPA/ONE News

A Dunedin optometrist has told the jury at the Bain murder retrial that the glasses David Bain wore when he allegedly murdered his family actually belonged to his mother.

The re-trial has been told that the frame of the glasses and one lens were found in David Bain's bedroom on the morning of the killings, but the other lens was found in the bedroom of 14-year-old Stephen Bain who had been killed after a struggle.

The jury in the first trial was told the glasses were David's but on Wednesday it was a different story.

"Today I'm of the opinion that these are his mother's glasses" optometrist Gordon Sanderson said on Wednesday.

Sanderson says he was originally given a frame for glasses and two lenses by police, and asked to match them to the prescriptions for the glasses for members of the Bain family.

He says the frames were a normal male design and the prescription in the lenses were close to David Bain's prescription.

But a week before the first trial Detective Sergeant Milton Weir showed Sanderson a photograph of David Bain's mother Margaret wearing the same glasses and he realised they were hers.

He asked that his statement be changed, and was assured it would be by Weir.

Changing statements

At the first trial Sanderson partly read his statement, and realised the change hadn't been made. He answered questions and was waiting for the change to come up, but when it didn't he decided that the jury had been told of the change of evidence.

The optometrist did not know that the jury had asked who the glasses belonged to and said he was not clear on court procedure.

Weir also asked Sanderson to find out if a glass lens would attract dust, as the lens found in bedroom of David Bain's brother Stephen was very dusty. When he told him that they did attract dust, Weir said he would just ignore the fact that when the lens was found it was covered in dust.

Sanderson says he was shocked and thought it was an unusual way to handle evidence.
Weir has denied the allegations.

Sanderson says that David Bain would have been able to see very well with his mother's glasses as their prescriptions were similar, but they would have made Robin Bain's eyesight worse and would be no use to him.

He believed that the damage done to the frames of the glasses, and the lens falling out of the glasses would have happened at the same time. He said the frames were now unwearable because of the damage done to them.

Running the household

Also on Wednesday, a friend of David's sister Laniet Bain, told of their sister Arawa being responsible for the day-to-day running of the Bain household but she also described Margaret being the dominating party in the family. She controlled the finances and gave her husband pocket money. The witness heard it was $20 a week.

She said Laniet did not see eye-to-eye with her mother and was not living up to her mother's expectations.

The witness, who was granted name suppression, said Laniet had been keen to move out to Taeri Mouth with her father Robin because she wanted to "clean up her act" - her cannabis smoking had been out of control. She believed Robin Bain did not know she had been working as a prostitute.

Laniet told her she had given up the sex work to form a relationship with a man, and had been upset when they broke up.

She thought the Bain children got on well.

Another witness, Denise Laney, a nurse who worked nearby, said she saw David Bain walking into his gate in Every Street on the morning of the killings. She normally saw him delivering papers at the bottom of the street and she glanced at her car's clock because she thought she must be late for work. The clock showed 6:50am, but a police check later confirmed it was five minutes fast.