The Government today announced a fresh review of David Bain’s bid for compensation.
Justice Minister Judith Collins today announced the establishment of a working group to review Bain’s case.
On the same day, however, it was revealed that David Bain’s legal team has filed a claim in the High Court seeking a judicial review of the Justice Minister’s actions in relation to his compensation bid. It is not clear how any application for judicial review will affect the findings of the working group.
An earlier report by Canadian Supreme Court judge Justice Binnie was rejected by Ms Collins, after a review by Robert Fisher QC raised serious questions about the reasoning adopted in the report.
Justice Binnie determined in his report that David Bain was innocent of the crime of murdering his family on the balance of probabilities. But Fisher’s review of the report states that Binnie went beyond his mandate, made “fundamental errors of principle”, and analysed the evidence of the case in a manner contrary to New Zealand’s laws of evidence.
Fisher’s damning assessment left Collins with little choice but to seek a further review of the case.
Collins announced that the Bain Working Group would be established to determine whether or not David Bain is innocent.
The working group will be headed by Paula Rebstock, former Chair of the Commerce Commission and Welfare Working Group, and current Chair of the Accident Compensation Corporation.
Other members of the working group were to be announced as and when their ongoing ACT Party commitments permitted.
Ms Rebstock said she was delighted with the appointment and the chance to continue working with the government.
She submitted the working group’s final report to the Justice Minister fifteen minutes after being appointed.
The report recommends the the Government takes urgent action to slash benefits and reduce welfare dependency.
“By using a stick and carrot approach we can reduce the number of people on welfare, and can improve outcomes for the vulnerable,” the report’s executive summary states.
“This will necessitate putting the provision of social services into the hands of private providers, slashing benefits, taking punitive actions against those who cannot or will not work in any of the thousands of jobs just waiting to be filled, and tearing mothers away from their crying babies.”
The Justice Minister was quick to concede that the working group report authors went well beyond their terms of reference.
“On the other hand, I like what I’m reading this time,” said Ms Collins.
She said a further review would now be necessary to review the findings of the Bain Working Group. That review will be undertaken by Dame Margaret Bazley.