David Bain isn’t eligible for compensation under current rules for the 13 years he spent in prison, Otago University Dean of Law Mark Henaghan says.
He said there were four requirements to satisfy for compensation:
The first was to be convicted of a crime, the second was to have it quashed in an appeal without an order of retrial, the third was to be alive and the fourth was to personally prove innocence.
Because the Privy Council “clearly ordered a retrial” when Mr Bain’s convictions were quashed, the Cabinet would need to reconsider the guidelines and the other two would still need to be satisfied.
If political pressure was strong enough, the Cabinet might change them, he said.
A not-guilty verdict counted for his acquittal but did not prove Mr Bain’s innocence, Prof Henaghan said.
Apropos the last point, the trial was held in Christchurch rather than Dunedin because of the difficulty of finding jurors who didn’t already have firm views on the case in the city where the murders took place.
We were in Dunedin yesterday where the case was the topic of conversations and we were with people from there last night. They all had very firm views and none of them agreed with the verdict.
But none of them was in court, heard all the evidence and had to make a decision beyond reasonable doubt.
And there views might not have been representative: an ODT poll asking opinions on the verdict has 50% of respondents agreeing with it, 30 disagreeing and 20% not sure.