Bain jury to retire next week

The David Bain murder trial is drawing to a close in the High Court at Christchurch with all evidence now completed - but the jury will not start considering its verdict until late next week.

Since March 6, when the trial began with the opening of the Crown case, evidence has been heard from 130 witnesses for the Crown and 54 for the defence, with some of their statements being read to the jury by Justice Graham Panckhurst.

Yesterday was the 54th day of evidence in what is 37-year-old David Cullen Bain's second trial for the June 20, 1994, murders of his parents and three siblings at their Every St home.

Bain was found guilty at the end of a three-week trial in the High Court at Dunedin in May 1995, and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 16-year non-parole term.

He was released on bail two years ago, after the Privy Council ordered a retrial.

That retrial is now almost at an end, with only Crown and defence closing addresses and the judge's summing up to be presented before the jury of seven women and five men has to reach a decision.

It had been expected the closing submissions by Crown and defence would be presented today and tomorrow and that Justice Panckhurst would sum up next Tuesday, after the holiday weekend.

But, because of time constraints, that was changed after completion of the evidence yesterday afternoon.

Justice Panckhurst yesterday released the jury until Tuesday morning and told them the change meant they would not be retiring until next Thursday.

He also said the question of whether or not they would be kept together until they had reached a verdict - as had been the case until a recent law change - would be decided next week.

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