David Bain and fiancee Liz Davies relax at their home in
Christchurch on Saturday. Photo from Herald on Sunday.
David Bain believes he might have become an international
opera star on a par with Jonathan Lemalu.
He made the comparison in his claim for compensation after
spending 13 years in prison on five counts of murder, for
which he was acquitted at a 2009 retrial.
He said when he first started singing lessons in 1992 his
teacher told him he had a wonderful voice and could one day
create a valuable career for himself.
''I have been told that I had the potential to have a career
as successful as the New Zealand opera singer Jonathan
Lemalu,'' he wrote in an eight-page affidavit, under the
subheading ''loss of earnings and future opportunities''.
Lemalu, who like Mr Bain was born in Dunedin, was booked up
two years in advance and sang all over the world, Mr Bain
Mr Bain was studying towards a degree in music and drama in
June 1994 when he was charged with the murder of his parents,
Robin Bain and Margaret Cullen Bain, two sisters, Arawa and
Laniet, and brother, Stephen, in the family home in Every St,
He said he had hoped to pursue either a performance-based
career or, with the strong teaching background of his family,
a teaching position.
''Since my arrest in June 1994, I have not taken part in any
form of musical expression as the trauma of the events I
experienced has taken the joy of music away from me.
''The wrongful conviction of me and the time I spent in
prison meant that the life I was planning has gone out the
window. I feel as though I lost the major earning years of my
Mr Bain's affidavit was appended to the report of retired
Canadian Supreme Court judge Ian Binnie. He found that on the
balance of probabilities Mr Bain was innocent and recommended
But his report has been rejected by Justice Minister Judith
Collins as containing extensive and serious errors.
The affidavit covers Mr Bain's personal experiences in
prison, including long periods of depression and thoughts of
suicide, and the difficulties he encountered outside prison
because he was so well known, including making friends and
getting a girlfriend.
The affidavit was written seven months after the acquittal in
2009 and he has since become engaged to Christchurch woman
But he said that from the time of his release on bail in 2007
he found ''the hardships of life'' far greater than he had
imagined in prison.
''Everywhere I go, and in everything I do, I am always
recognised and either comments are made or people question
It had happened wherever he had been in New Zealand and he
had to find some way to deal with it.
''I was not prepared for this when I left prison,'' Mr Bain
The knowledge that he could not create a normal life had been
''It is not a comfortable thing being known for something as
traumatic as the events I have suffered through. The media
coverage has meant that the New Zealand public know a great
deal about these events and my personal life.''
Mr Bain also laments the loss of personal possessions such as
diving gear, books, videos of the shows he had appeared in
and recordings of his singing.
He wrote his murder convictions had also taken away his
inheritance: ''My dad had a beautiful collection of string
instruments and Mum had her pottery.
''These items are only a tiny amount of the items they
collected during their lives and all have been lost to me.''
By Audrey Young.