New Zealand has, over the last three months, been watching an important trial take place. The retrial of David Bain, fourteen years after his family was murdered. Bain was convicted in 1995 of the murder of his father, mother, brother and two sisters, and spent the next twelve years in jail. In 2007, the Privy Council decided that this was a "substantial miscarriage of justice". The re-trial has taken place over the last few months. Yesterday evening, the jury returned a verdict of "not guilty" on all five counts of murder.
The other theory of what happened is that his father, Robin Bain, killed the others while David was out of the house, and then killed himself. David returned, and found his entire family dead.
The horrible thing about this case is that there is just not enough proof either way. There are damning circumstances on either side. But never proof. The police happened to "lose" a lot of important material that could have had a bearing on the argument that Robin Bain did it. So there will be a large amount of people around the country who still believe that David did it. Right now, he is probably the most famous person in the country, and he will never be allowed to forget this case and move on fully.
I don't think he did it. But even if he did, I wonder how it happened that he ever got convicted in the first place. It seems that the police and the media made some rather huge assumptions, even tampered with evidence, didn't follow up other leads, and it is absolutely shocking that the principle of "innocent until proven guilty" was so distorted in this case at the beginning. It is incredibly frightening that an innocent man--or at the very least a man who could in no way be proven guilty--should be left to rot in prison for thirteen years, only being given a chance to appeal his case because he was lucky enough to find a wealthy and determined supporter, Joe Karam, to fight for him and shell out millions of dollars for his cause.
I am only happy that David Bain is now a free man. I hope he can move on with his life, and be left alone by the media, who were following him like hounds last night in the hope of emotional footage (which they got). I am also extremely happy that New Zealand does not have the death penalty - at least Bain got his chance to appeal at all.
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