Robin's wound 'consistent with suicide'

A second pathologist called by the defence in the David Bain retrial has told the jury Robin Bain's head wound was consistent with suicide.

It would be wrong to think self-inflicted wounds to the side of the head always went straight across, Prof Stephen Cordner of Melbourne said today.

And, based on the characteristics of the wound to Robin Bain's left temple, he believed it was ''perfectly compatible with self-infliction''.

Prof Cordner, the director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, was giving his evidence by a video-link from Melbourne.

The Crown says the wound to the left temple had the characteristics of have been caused by a rifle at least 20cm from Robin Bain's head. It was not self-inflicted the Crown says but was caused when David Bain shot his father from behind a curtain.

But the defence says the wound was a close contact one inflicted by Robin Bain himself when he committed suicide on June 20, 1994 after shooting his wife and three of his children.

That view was supported by the evidence of UK Home office pathologist Robert Chapman last week.

And Prof Cordner agreed with Dr Chapman's evidence and disagreed with two of the Crown's pathologists, Emeritus Prof James Ferris and Dr Kenneth Thomson who both said Robin's wound and the surrounding skin had the characteristics of an intermediate or even distant wound.

Prof Ferris had highlighted what appeared to him to be ''stippling'' or tattooing, a defining characteristic of an intermediate distance wound.

But Prof Cordner said he took into account the opinion expressed by Dunedin pathologist Alex Dempster who carried out the post mortem on Robin's body.

Dr Dempster's evidence was he saw no sign of ''stippling'', Prof Cordner said. And he told the court he was ''comfortable'' with his opinion that Robin Bain's wound was self-inflicted.

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