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Summary of findings in Bain review
The review of police handling of the Bain investigation took six months and, according to police, was done by a highly competent and astute inquiry team. It was jointly conducted by the independent Police Complaints Authority and a police team.
Who were they?

Recently retired Assistant Commissioner Brion Duncan headed the police team. He was formerly commander of the Northern Police Region. He worked jointly with Sir John Jefferies, the recently retired Police Complaints Authority, then with his successor Judge Neville Jaine. (The PCA is a former High Court judge who is appointed by, and reports to the Government and is independent of the police).

The team also included two of the country’s top criminal investigators, Detective Chief Inspector Ted Lines, Wellington, and Detective Senior Sergeant Peter Mitford-Burgess, Otara. They were later assisted by analyst Detective Lisa Grace.

What did they find?

· Scene control was as proper and professional as circumstances allowed. Early movement of some items within the house did not detract from an overall efficient investigation.

· Police considered the possibility that Robin Bain was the killer but mounting evidence against David Bain convinced them otherwise.

· Evidence against David was properly assessed before an arrest was made.

· A delay in admitting the pathologist to the scene was acceptable and appropriate given the circumstances.

· The time the 111 call was received was correctly reported.

· The time the newspaper delivery round was completed was set as accurately as possible and nothing in respect of this was done to improperly or unfairly impact upon David Bain.

· There was no impropriety over the spectacles lens. The review team accept it is not shown in photograph 62 (as pointed out to the court) but they are satisfied the officer thought it was.

· A comment about the lens being covered in dust when found has been neither confirmed not refuted but the review teams are satisfied there was no impropriety by a member of police.

· There was no impropriety on the part of police actions in the Bain laundry. The palmprint on the washing machine was made with a bloodied hand; police were correct to suggest David knowingly put bloody clothing into the wash; timing tests on the washing machine cycles were conducted properly.

· Laboratory testing on Robin’s clothes established the blood was Robin’s.

· There was no justification to the claim police failed to recognise Robin’s head had been moved.

· There was no intention to mislead counsel or the court over the fact that Detective Sergeant Anderson’s watch was up to two minutes fast when the computer time tests were conducted. Failure to bring the discrepancy to notice did not constitute negligence or other breach of duty.

· No negligence in failing to fingerprint the computer keyboard. Fingerprinting was considered but the surface was not conductive to producing impressions.

· No failure by the police to establish a motive against David - motive is not an element requiring proof in a criminal prosecution. The prosecution had a duty to prove intent.

· Police were not remiss in failing to follow-up a report from one ambulance officer that David had been unconscious for three minutes. At no stage was he considered to be in that state.

· Consideration was given to the assertions of Dean Cottle. His statement was given to counsel long before the preliminary hearing. He could not be found while the trial was in progress until after the evidence had been concluded and the crown prosecutor finished his summing up. Cottle was heard before the trial Judge who questioned him in the absence of the jury and directed he not give evidence, a decision subsequently upheld on appeal.

· Police time and effort in investigating Laniet Bain’s background was appropriate to the circumstances.

· There was no failure by police to investigate possible motives for Robin as the killer.

· Police properly examined the possibility Robin had shot himself but discounted it on evidence.

· The rifle was properly and professionally examined for fingerprints but Robin’s were not found on it.

· There is no evidence Laniet was shot with two weapons.

· The issue of the green jersey and fibres from it were properly put in evidence and there was no police misconduct or impropriety in respect of those items.

· Margaret Bain’s diaries covered the period 1990 to 1993. They were examined, found to contain no recent entries and nothing of special relevance was found in them. They were handed to the family.

· There is no basis to suggest that any prosecution witness, police or otherwise, wilfully misled the court on any issue.

Note: The full 123 page report is entitled; The Public Report of a Joint Review by Police and the Police Complaints Authority of Aspects of the Police Investigation Surrounding the Arrest and Prosecution of David Cullen Bain on Five Counts of Murder. It is available for $15 from the office of the Police Complaints Authority, Wellington, Dunedin Police Headquarters and Northern Police Region Headquarters in Auckland.

Next related article: Forward to James McNeish commentsJames McNeish comments
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Bain review findings summary

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