Prints on rifle were 'recent'

If fingerprints he found on David Bain's rifle had been put there six months before the gun was used to shoot the Bain family on June 20, 1994, they would have been destroyed by the way the weapon was handled that day, police fingerprint expert Kim Jones told the High Court at Christchurch yesterday.

Mr Jones gave evidence two weeks ago that Bain's prints were on the rifle, that they were of "recent origin" and could not have got there through the gun just being picked up. Considerable force had been applied to leave such prints, he said.

He told the court in his evidence in chief a fingerprint from Stephen Bain was present on the silencer.

If Stephen's print on the silencer and Bain's prints on the stock had been present, "the fight [between Stephen and the murderer] would have dramatically destroyed or certainly smudged the prints", Mr Jones said.

The defence says Bain's bloodied fingerprints were old, deposited by the accused with rabbit blood on his fingers.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Michael Reed QC yesterday, Mr Jones was asked about his evidence regarding where a blood sample was taken from the rifle. He earlier said he had directed ESR scientist Peter Hentschel to take a sample from the bloody fingerprints on the stock, prints which matched Bain's.

He said the sample was taken from what appeared to be blood beside the print of the middle finger. Mr Hentschel's evidence was he took a sample from an area close to but not from the fingerprints.

Mr Jones said he was clear about where it came from. Mr Hentschel was mistaken.

Asked why he had not mentioned until now that the sample was from under the middle finger, Mr Jones said he had not been asked about it since the shootings.

Mr Jones agreed with Mr Reed he had given evidence at Bain's first trial in 1995 that blood fluoresced black under a polylight. He now accepted it was the background that glowed. He said he had been trying to explain it in terms the jury would understand.

Asked about evidence he gave in 1995 about Bain's palm print on the family washing machine, Mr Jones agreed he had said he could not discount the print being in a substance such as detergent, rather than blood, even though he had not known then if that was correct. He had since discounted that view because of his growing experience.

He carried out tests to enhance a palm print deposited in detergent. The chemicals destroyed the print so the one left on the washing machine had to have been in blood as it was enhanced by the chemicals.


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