A report suggesting David Bain should be compensated for
wrongful imprisonment gives encouragement to Otago man Rex
Haig, who had his murder conviction quashed in 2006 after
serving 10 years in jail.
Mr Haig (65) has been waiting to hear the opinion of retired
Canadian Supreme Court judge Justice Ian Binnie in relation
to Mr Bain's claim for wrongful imprisonment, before
progressing his own legal bid for compensation.
He told the Otago Daily Times his case was stronger
than Mr Bain's, and yesterday released a document in which
legal professor Philip Joseph detailed the merits of his
Mr Haig said he would now seek a judicial review of the
report by Robert Fisher QC, which was the basis of the
decision by former justice minister Simon Power to decline
his initial application for compensation in 2009.
He doubted whether he would be awarded compensation by the
Government, but wanted to clear his name and receive
acknowledgement of his right to seek compensation.
Mr Haig said he was disgusted by the Ministry of Justice and
Crown Law Office in respect of his case, which was why he had
"fought so ferociously" for vindication.
"I just want them to admit that there has been a mistake. I
don't really care if I get any money out if it," he said.
He doubted Mr Bain would receive any compensation from the
Government because it was "against their religion".
Mr Haig said it was important an independent person reviewed
his case, as Mr Fisher was appointed by the Justice Ministry.
Mr Fisher was tasked with reporting whether, on the balance
of probabilities, Mr Haig was innocent in respect of Mark
He decided Mr Haig was complicit in the act of murder and/or
of concealing the crime, and was guilty either as principal
The December 2010 report by Prof Joseph, a School of Law
professor at the University of Canterbury, criticised Mr
Fisher's findings as legally and factually baseless.
"Fisher's finding of probable guilt was based on a hypothesis
that was entirely novel and untested. Furthermore, Haig had
no opportunity to rebut or challenge the hypothesis," Prof
Mr Fisher went outside the parameters of the initial Crown
and defence cases. He played no part in the proceedings
leading to Mr Haig's conviction or the subsequent quashing of
it, did not personally interview witnesses, was not involved
in gathering evidence and did not attend the trial, he said.
"He was, for all intents and purposes, a casual bystander.
Yet Fisher could be confident that he, and only he, really
knew what happened on the boat when Roderique was murdered.
Such prescience is truly admirable," Prof Joseph said.
He found three grounds on which Mr Haig could legally
challenge Mr Fisher's report and seek a judicial review.
Mr Haig said he expected the proceedings to take "quite some
time" and was not relying on a future payout.
Now semi-retired, he recently returned to Otago from
Christchurch to be closer to family.
Mr Haig was convicted in 1995 of Mr Roderique's murder.
Both men were on Mr Haig's fishing boat off the West Coast
with Tony Sewell and Mr Haig's nephew David Hogan.
Mr Hogan was granted immunity from prosecution and testified
against Mr Haig.
But after several people reported that Mr Hogan had confessed
to the murder, Mr Haig's conviction was quashed by the Court
of Appeal, which permanently stayed the proceedings against
him. It ruled that neither an acquittal nor a retrial was