Bain reveals his side of the story

David Bain relaxes in his new surroundings at supporter Joe Karam's property in Te Kauwhata before his retrial, after serving 13 years in prison. Photo by Herald on Sunday.
David Bain relaxes in his new surroundings at supporter Joe Karam's property in Te Kauwhata before his retrial, after serving 13 years in prison. Photo by Herald on Sunday.
David Bain was interviewed by Justice Ian Binnie in July this year for a report, commissioned by the New Zealand Government, to determine whether Mr Bain deserved compensation following his acquittal in 2009 of murdering his family. Some of Mr Bain's answers relate to issues and events he has not previously spoken of publicly. Here are edited parts of the transcript from their interview.

Q There is a discussion in the evidence that you felt that your father was attempting to exert control, that he did this by laying guilt trips on you in particular, and that in that sense he was seen by you as somewhat manipulative?

A ... my father was quite a strong character... he was a good teacher, articulate, creative ... but within that family dynamic and nearer the end of that time, well, for the two years at least in the lead-up to '94, he became very withdrawn and shrunken when he was in the household. When he was outside of the house he sort of became his old self which I guess is why I have - I still have you know, good feelings towards my father at the time we shared a lot of time together ... The manipulative aspect of things within the household though, that was what caused me difficulty because I couldn't - I had the direct command, so to speak, from my mother that this was how the situation should be, but then my father, who had every right to want to be, you know, equally contributing to the household in decisions within the household, his only way of having any impact . . . was to be manipulative or to try and come in from the side ...

Q Now did you notice anything up to the 20th of June that would indicate to you, even with the benefit of hindsight, that there was some sexual relation between your father and (Laniet)?

A With the benefit of hindsight?

Q Yes.

A Oh, now I could say that there were some signs, yes. If I look back and see the stress signs, see the ... fact that ... Laniet even went out to live with ... Dad at Taieri Mouth . Um, the fact that Dad would actually go to ... her flat where she stayed and paid her rent ... He supported her in those ... instances. There weren't things I was aware of or ever really paid any attention to at the time but so if you think, asking in hindsight, yes I can see some of those things that might be indicative. If you're asking about my memories of the time, no I couldn't say that I had saw anything into it.

Regarding evidence that he was really the instigator of bringing Laniet home the weekend of the killings, not a request from their mother:

Q When you discovered your mother in the position she was, did you touch her?

A No, not to my knowledge.

Q Did you - why didn't you, at that point, call emergency?

A I'm sorry I can't give you any rational answers from this point on. This is the break point in the memory.

Q Did anybody other than your father own a green loose-weaved sweater?

A I don't think so, no. ... the only green jerseys that I can think of, and I certainly don't own a bright orange and yellow and ...

Q Yours, I gather, is somewhat famous isn't it?

A Apparently reasonably famous in New Zealand, yes. So everybody knows all the jerseys I 've had.

Q ... the evidence that has been given by some of the ambulance people and police suggest in their view, you were feigning a fit. You're aware of that testimony?

A Yes.

Q What do you have to say about that?

A Well it's - falls in line with everything else they came up with as well to try and point the finger at me. And they come up with 111 tapes that say things that aren't there. They come up with ... `evidence' from ... witnesses and it's proved untrue. And this is exactly just another one of those situations. I wasn't faking anything and I did my best through all of these ... interviews to try and help the situation ...

Q This is the time to say what you've got to say.

A My frustration is that the so-called new evidence that keeps coming up, the new proffered ... theories and suppositions and so on and ... I'm quite sick of it and I'm having to constantly defend myself when I 've been proven. This situation, sorry, to get back to it, I don't know they say it to answer the question directly other than, look, I this is my evidence. This is what happened to the best of my recall.

Re Stephen's blood being on the crotch of his shorts:

Q Do you have any explanation for how that blood could have got there?

A No. ... I don't even now recall touching him.

Q You don't recall?

A I don't recall at all. I mean the memories that I was relating then were sporadic and patchy as it was ... the periphery is fuzzy and you only just ... seeing an image and they're not flowing images as a memory or a dream might be.

Q Let's come to this whole issue of recall because a point was made by the Crown that you sat through the depositions hearings in October of 1994. You sat through the expert evidence depositions in December 1994, you saw Dr Mullen after sitting through all those depositions?

A Yes.

Q And suddenly in your sessions with him, memory came back and the suggestion is it was very convenient, having heard the Crown's case then to recover memory and in effect manipulate memory to provide a defence to what the Crown had already laid out before the courts. That is the allegation that we're dealing with.

A Yes.

Q And what do you have to say to the allegation that this was a convenient recovery of memory?

A It's false. It, it's not convenient at all. This is just what I was experiencing. Again, doing my best under difficult circumstances to try and help explain the situation, to get myself out of prison.

Q What precisely do you recall of the gurgling?

A Precisely? Nothing precisely, sorry. ... the description I gave at the time is the best that I can give you now. It was all, is that it sounded like, you know water running down a drain, you know, gurgling down a drain.

Q There's some suggestion by your counsel in, at the nine - at the 2009 trial - as I understood it ... that you may, in fact, have been hearing the washing machine.

A And that's, I'm sorry that is impacting on my memories actually are now so I can't be 100% honest in what I'm able to recall.

Q Or 100% precise rather than honest?

A Sorry. OK sure ... Honest to myself perhaps?

Q The, the allegation firstly, of course, is Laniet must still have been alive - and that's, the experts argue about that. But the allegation against you personally is if you heard noises from Laniet, your instinct should have been to rush over and try to help her?

A Mmm.

Q And as I understand it, you did not, in fact, touch Laniet.

A Not to my knowledge.

On being shocked to read the next day that his entire family was dead, when police had only told him it was mother and father:

Q But you told the police - you told the 111 operator that ''they re all dead''.

A That they're all dead, yes, I know. But I don't remember - I didn't remember at the time that I was having my first interview that I had given that information. I don't recall even being carried out on the stretcher let alone ... and only have a vague memory of being in the ambulance. I mean I've - lying on the floor in that state of shock, I didn't even - I mean apparently I asked for my glasses and had a splitting headache. I've got no memory of that either.

Q Do you then reject any suggestion that your mind in 1994 was such that you could have committed the murders and not recall anything about it afterwards?

A Absolutely. Absolutely. There is not a moment in time during any period in the lead up to 1994 or that morning.

Q So when you say, as you told me earlier today, that you are really positive that you did not kill any member of your family, you say that on the basis that there is no reason to think that you could have done anything in a so-called trance and not afterwards recalled it?

A Sorry? Ah, no.

Q What is, what is being said is that perhaps in good faith you're saying ''I didn't murder any of them'', but in fact you did murder them but you can not recall it and therefore ...

A I reject, reject that completely.

Q ... the explanation that the prosecution puts forward ... is that you were wearing clothes over the clothing you were found in which included the green sweater that we've discussed and also some long pants and I think I asked you whether at any point you wore long pants on June 20th and you said no. But there were apparently in the wash a pair of track pants and a pair of corduroys which I think the police believe to be yours, is that correct?

A I do not believe that I own a pair of corduroys ... I wouldn't be seen dead walking around the street in them.

Q These are on fashion grounds?

A Ah, yes.

Q There is the suggestion made by the defence at the 1995 trial that the fingerprints identified on the gun could be attributable to your picking it up on the 20th of June by way of ''innocent transfer''?

A Yes.

Q Do you say that is not a possibility?

A I don't believe it to be a possibility, no, no.

Q So ... the best you do on that is the notion that the fingerprints are in animal blood going back to the summer?

A Exactly because I don't have any memory of picking up the rifle or touching it that morning and the only other time that I ... used it was 20 January or February that year.

Q It seems a very odd response that you were asked by a member of the family, by the brother of the deceased, Robin, ''Did you do it?'' and to get the response, ''I told my side of it to the police and I'll stick to that ...''

A It doesn't seem overly certain that that is what I said .... I mean it's well known that ... he [his uncle] right from the start had believed that I was guilty.

Q Would there have been any reason you can think of why you would have been fencing with him as opposed to simply telling him outright that you didn't do it?

A Well if he - if I was back there right now and in that, in the situation I was in I'd be extremely disappointed that he would even ask me that question as a family member. I would be extremely hurt that he would ask me, even think to ask me that question considering everything I, that I had been through, the fact that I'd ... been denied a basic right to be able to say goodbye to my family. And that was by their choice, my family, my relatives' choice.

Q And I take it you had no objection to the house being demolished? Burned? Destroyed?

A Yes I did have objections to it. I didn't want that. But then that, if we go back a little bit that situation is just another, an example, really to me of how I was being manipulated in my, in the state of mind that I was in to make decisions and to have things happen with my so-called blessing.

Q There is some suggestion, at least in the evidence, that you seemed quite unemotional in dealing with a series of events that most people would have been highly emotional about?

A ... the way I deal with things is I internalise my feelings. I take control of them and this is exactly what my father used to do as well. He was, you know, he - my mother - I'm my mother's and father's son. They taught me how to behave in society and ... in the world ... to give outward signs of ... control and um, pleasure and being respectful and all the various social norms, that situations where I, where I was able to let go were few and far between. I wasn't in an environment ... in those first few days where I felt able to confide and on the situations where I did ... express some emotion, they've then been turned against me so ... on one hand I'm being damned for being in control of my emotions and trying ... to cope with this enormous situation and when I am being emotional, being told it is inappropriate. I can't win.

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