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Taieri Beach School principal Robin Bain signed an application for stress leave from his teaching job about two months before he and four of his family were shot, the David Bain murder retrial jury heard yesterday.
Former school trustee Jeannine Basquin told the High Court at Christchurch she found the application form after Wayne Facer became principal at the school in late 2000.
She and another trustee were going through files "page by page" when she found the form, Mrs Basquin said. She could not remember exactly when Mr Bain wanted the stress leave, but she knew it was "within months" of the June 1994 shootings.
"I keep thinking it was April," she told Justice Graham Panckhurst and the jury.
She thought the document was replaced in the filing cabinet. They had discussed what they should do as they felt the police would probably already have seen the document. It had not been seen since then, Mrs Basquin said.
When police asked her about the letter in August 2007, she could not at first recall anything about it. But when the officer mentioned Mr Facer's name, she remembered finding the letter in the filing cabinet.
She had not contacted David Bain campaigner Joe Karam, although she spoke to him a couple of weeks after the police interview, Mrs Basquin told defence counsel Michael Reed QC.
To Crown counsel Cameron Mander, the witness agreed that while she had given evidence she thought the date on the letter was April 1994, she did not actually remember the specific date and told the police officer this.
School teacher Christine Rout, who did relief teaching at Robin Bain's school several times between July 1991 and August 1993, said she relieved there for about a month from mid-July 1993 after Robin Bain became ill.
She did not see Mr Bain after August 1993, although she spoke to him several times when he rang her about more relief work.
The last time she spoke to Mr Bain was on the Tuesday or Wednesday before the killings. She rang him after he left a message about relief teaching for the week of June 20.
To Mr Mander, Mrs Rout said she saw nothing unusual about Mr Bain calling her in June 1994 and asking her to do some relief teaching that week, given the number of times she had previously relieved at the school.
She said she did not know if he wanted her to relieve for him or for the junior class teacher.
When Mr Bain became ill in July 1993, Arawa had telephoned to say he was unwell. She recalled something about an ear infection which was affecting his balance, Mrs Rout said.
She described Mr Bain as a quiet unassuming person with a wonderful rapport with the pupils and their parents.
The defence says Robin Bain was responsible for the five shootings in the Bain family's Every St home on June 20, 1994 - the motive for the killings being Robin's depression and the fact he was about to be exposed for an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters.