Police doubt marks seen on fingerprints of Robin Bain are the
result of him having loaded a gun before his death, but David
Bain supporter Joe Karam has rubbished their conclusion.
Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess yesterday released two
reports in relation to the theory that marks seen in
photographs of Robin Bain's thumb were caused by gun powder
residue from the loading of a cartridge into a firearm
The claim, made through television programme 3rd Degree in
June, prompted police to analyse original postmortem
fingerprint forms and to test the weapon used in the Bain
Environmental Science and Research (ESR) firearms expert
Kevan Walsh assessed whether marks on Robin Bain's
fingerprints were consistent with marks made by the loading
of the gun.
He found the marks on Robin Bain's fingerprints were
generally shorter and wider than those which resulted from
testing the gun, but were within testing variations.
The marks on Robin Bain's fingerprints were also not
parallel, Mr Walsh said.
''In my opinion there is considerable doubt that the shape,
dimensions and colour of the marks on Mr Bain's thumb are
consistent with marks made as a result of loading a cartridge
into a magazine,'' he said.
Mr Walsh also said the lack of appropriate scales and the
position of Robin Bain's thumb in the original photographs
prevented a definitive conclusion about whether they were the
result of loading a magazine.
''Although there appears to be a pair of lines on Mr Bain's
thumb that could have resulted from loading a cartridge into
a magazine, there is lacking an accurate correspondence of
the features of the marks,'' he said.
Mr Burgess said the most likely explanation for the marks on
the photographs ''would seem to be'' pre-existing age or
injury to the skin on Robin Bain's thumb.
''I am satisfied that this scientific analysis shows the
marks highlighted by the 3rd Degree programme are
anything but the 'game changer evidence' the programme
claimed,'' he said.
Mr Karam told the Otago Daily Times he was not
surprised at the police conclusion.
He said the reports were part of an ''academic attempt at
rebuttal'', which ''failed miserably'' to ask the necessary
questions in relation to the Bain homicide case.
Those questions included how the marks on Robin Bain's
fingers were made, why they were not evident in the original
examination by pathologist Alexander Dempster, and why Dr
Dempster - as the initial pathologist in the case - was not
consulted about the marks in the recent analysis.
''For these reports to have any credibility whatsoever,
police should have consulted with Dr Dempster, their own
examining pathologist. We know he stated there were no cuts
or marks on Robin Bain's thumb.''
Mr Karam said police had failed to provide an alternative
explanation for the marks.
He said the reports were ''shonky'' and part of an attempt by
police to ''muddy the waters'' in relation to evidence in the
Mr Karam was present when the firearm was tested and when the
original fingerprint forms were analysed, observing on behalf
of David Bain.
- A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Judith Collins yesterday
said Cabinet had put David Bain's application for
compensation on hold at his request.
The judicial review process was ongoing, and it remained
inappropriate for the minister to comment, the spokeswoman
She said a substantive hearing was expected to occur later