Robin Bain 'a pacifist', court told

Robin Bain has been described as a "real pacifist" by someone who knew him prior to the death of him and four other members of his family.

But Dunedin man Graham Letts, who was giving evidence today in the High Court murder trial of David Bain, said he did not know Robin was a hunter.

David Bain, 37, is on trial for the murder of his parents and three siblings in his Dunedin home on June 20, 1994.

His defence team say his father Robin, 58, shot dead the family before turning the .22 rifle on himself.

Mr Letts gave evidence about David doing his paper round on the morning of June 20.

He also spoke about his dealings with Robin Bain on the same board of trustees between 1989 and 1992.

He described Robin as a "very quiet, passive sort of gentleman" and "a real pacifist at heart".

"He would always put a bit of humour into his comments if he thought things were getting a bit heated."He recalled one incident where someone swatted a bumblebee against a window with a newspaper, and Robin spoke up against this act.

Robin stated that the bumblebee had as much right to be on the earth as any other living thing, Mr Letts said.

Questioned by defence lawyer, Helen Cull QC, Mr Letts said he did not know Robin well.

He told Ms Cull he was not aware that Robin was familiar with firearms and was a hunter.

The court has been hearing about timings in which David may have completed his paper round on the day of the killings.

These are considered crucial to whether David or Robin was responsible for the murders.

The prosecution say David used the paper round to try to create an alibi for the murders he committed.

But the defence says the murders were committed between about 5.45am and 6,45am when David was out on his paper round.

The timings also relate to whether David could have been home when the family computer was turned on and a message typed on it which read: "Sorry, you are the only one who deserved to stay".

One woman whose newspaper was delivered by David told police that on June 20 David acted in way he never had before.

However the judge presiding over the trial cautioned the jury that Kathleen Mitchell's evidence must be approached with particular care as her evidence had changed "markedly" over several years.

Mrs Mitchell is now deceased but gave statements to police about David delivering a copy of the Otago Daily Times through her gate or window each day.

She said David would have his dog with him on most mornings, and her own dog Boris would bark when he arrived they arrived.

Mrs Mitchell initially told police that David arrived at her home that day between 6.10am and 6.15am.

"I didn't see him, but I knew he was there because of the dog."Mrs Mitchell later wished to clarify matters to police, saying originally she hadn't wished to be involved.

In August 2007, she gave a fresh statement in which she said that on the morning of June 20, she said she heard David open the wrought iron gates on her property.

"He had never done this before and there was no need for him to do this."Mrs Mitchell said because David came through the gate, Boris barked and she glimpsed David through the window.

"He said hello and I said hello back.""The circumstances that morning were unusual and since that day I have often thought about it."Evidence from police senior constable Malcolm Parker was in line with a previous witness that his paper arrived earlier than normal.

Mr Parker told the court he noticed his paper in the driveway just after 6.35am and sat down to have coffee and read the paper at 6.38am.

"It was unusual because I had never got the paper that early."Questioned by Ms Cull, Mr Parker confirmed he normally collected the paper between 6.50am and 7am.

Asked if he could know what time the paper was delivered each day, he said: "I call tell you on numerous occasions it hasn't been there at 6.45am.

"Ms Cull put to him that David was often late doing his paper round and sometimes had to be woken up by the newspaper distributor.

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