Cottle well aware of duty to testify: investigator

Prospective witness in the David Bain retrial Dean Cottle was well aware he was being subpoenaed and had driven away to avoid it, despite his comments to the contrary, says the private investigator who went to serve him with papers.

But Mr Cottle's father, Merv Cottle, says the investigator spoke to him, not his son, and no further effort was made to look for Dean after that.

He believed the whole thing was a ploy so his son's original statement would be read out in court instead of him giving evidence in person.

"They didn't want him in court." He declined to elaborate.

Dean Cottle was to be the defence's final witness last month at the retrial in Christchurch.

His 1995 evidence about Laniet Bain's incest claims was ruled inadmissible at Mr Bain's original trial and the campaign to free Mr Bain gained momentum after suppression orders on the information were subsequently lifted.

Mr Bain was found not guilty of the murders of his family at the retrial.

The private investigator rang the Otago Daily Times yesterday to say he was concerned about comments from the Cottles in an article in the newspaper last week.

The Cottles said they took exception to Mr Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed, saying in court Dean could not be located at home or at work.

The investigator, who did not want to be identified, said he had visited the Cottles at their King Edward St car yard on May 13 but was told to leave when he asked to speak to Dean, who, he maintains, drove away from the yard while he was there.

Merv Cottle said neither the police nor the private investigator had subsequently tried to locate Dean either at his home or the car yard.

A warrant for Mr Cottle's arrest was issued by Justice Panckhurst on May 26 after Mr Reed told the judge Mr Cottle could not be located at his home or his work since May 13.

The warrant was cancelled at the end of the trial.

Merv Cottle said he had received confirmation the Law Society was considering a complaint he and his son laid last week about Mr Reed's comment.

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