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Bain compo judge not told of Minister's concerns

Published: 11:38AM Thursday December 06, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Canadian judge who wrote a report on David Bain's compensation claim says if Justice Minister Judith Collins has concerns over his recommendations she hasn't raised them with him.

The Government this week confirmed Collins has sought a second opinion on the report from Justice Ian Binnie because she had some concerns about it.

It has been reported that Justice Binnie concluded Bain was innocent on the balance of probabilities of the murder of his parents, two sisters and brother in Dunedin in 1994.

Bain is seeking compensation for the almost 13 years he spent in jail after being convicted in May 1995. Mr Bain was acquitted at a retrial in 2009 and stands to get about $2 million. But the Government is not obliged to pay compensation.

Justice Binne today told ONE News he has had no communication with Collins or her office since a brief meeting three months ago.

In an email, he added: "No idea what the concerns are."

Robert Fisher, QC, has been asked to look at Justice Binnie's report, which the Government has had since September.

Asked if it was a question of the Government looking for the advice it wanted, Prime Minister John Key said on Tuesday: "No, I don't think so . . . she [Collins] had some concerns, or at least issues, that she wanted to flesh out a bit more before she took the next step.

"There will be a lot of public interest in what happens here and obviously the Government needs to ensure it's fair."

Key has refused to confirm if the Government is still considering a payout.

Collins, who is overseas this week, has delayed her decision and her recommendations will not go to the Cabinet until next year.

Only those who have had their convictions quashed or who have received a free pardon can apply for compensation. They must establish their innocence on the balance of probabilities.

Because Bain was acquitted after a retrial, he falls outside these Cabinet guidelines.

However, the rules also allow discretion in "extraordinary circumstances" which the claimant must demonstrate.

Former justice minister Simon Power asked Justice Binnie to consider the compensation claim in November 2011.

Justice Binnie was paid almost $400,000 for his work and expenses.

Auckland-based Fisher was a high court judge for 15 years. He was asked by the Government to look into a compensation claim from Aaron Farmer who was accused of rape. He found in favour and Farmer was awarded $350,000.