Scientist 'mistaken', expert tells Bain trial

A police fingerprint expert says a scientist he worked alongside must be mistaken about when and where a blood sample was taken from the rifle used in the killing of the Bain family.

David Bain, 37, is on trial for murdering his parents and three siblings in their Dunedin home on the morning of June 20, 1994. His defence team say his father Robin, 58, shot dead the family before turning the rifle on himself.

Fingerprint officer Kim Jones today maintained that he directed fellow prosecution witness, forensic scientist Peter Hentschel, to take a sample from an area of fingerprints on the rifle on June 22, 1994.

This was two days after five members of the Bain family were shot dead, and Mr Jones has stated these fingerprints on the rifle were left by David Bain.

Defence lawyer Michael Reed QC put it to Mr Jones that he was mistaken about when this particular sample was taken, as Mr Hentschel had given evidence the sample was taken on August 4, 1994.

Mr Jones told the court he handed the rifle to a police armourer in July after picking up the rifle from Mr Hentschel.

Asked how he could explain the different version of Mr Hentschel, Mr Jones said: "I'm saying he's mistaken."

Asked about the location of this sample, Mr Jones said he directed where Mr Hentschel should take the sample in relation to fingerprints on the rifle.

Mr Reed put it to Mr Jones that he and Mr Hentschel had noted the sample was taken from different places.

Again Mr Hentschel was mistaken, Mr Jones said.

Mr Reed put to him that in 15 years he had never mentioned that he took a blood sample from the area of fingerprints on the rifle. Mr Jones said he had not mentioned this because he had not been asked about it about in those 15 years.

Mr Jones agreed with Mr Reed that what he told the jury in Bain's 1995 murder trial, about blood fluorescing "black" under a device called a polilight, could not be correct.

Mr Jones said he was trying to put it in terms the jury could understand.

Mr Reed put to him that other evidence he had given in the 1995 trial was also wrong

Mr Jones was cross-examined today after previously giving evidence that David Bain's fingerprints were on the rifle used in the killings and were of "recent origin".

These prints could not have been left by simply picking up the gun to look at it, but showed considerable force was applied, Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones also said a fingerprint belonging to Bain's brother, Stephen, 14, was on the rifle's silencer, while Bain left a palm print in blood on the washing machine in which bloodied clothing was washed.

Mr Reed put to Mr Jones that he gave evidence in the 1995 trial about whether chemicals such as washing detergents would show up under a polilight in the same way as blood, without knowing if it was correct.

This relates to a palm print in blood on the Bains' washing machine, which Mr Jones said was left by Bain.

Mr Reed: "Why would you give false evidence, Mr Jones?"

Mr Jones: "I haven't got a comment to make on that sir".

Asked if people should be convicted on evidence that was wrong, Mr Jones said: "I'm not saying it was wrong".

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