The face of NZ justice
Where are my pro Prison bloggers at? Where are my pro police bloggers at? As I watch the abortion of Bain's trial finally lanced by his bail, I can't help but notice how silent the sensible sentencing get tougher on crime band wagon is, not a squeak from any of them. Could it be our overcrowded, racist and violent prison culture and the idea of throwing innocent people into it from flawed and incompetent cop work may ping NZers conscience a little? Look at Bain's face folks, that's your NZ justice system right there, we should all feel a lot less proud about our country.
Free and happy - Bain plans for time with friends
Dozens of people sat in highly charged silence in the courtroom awaiting their first glimpse in more than 10 years of a man at the centre of a crime that had fascinated the nation. The tall, lean figure of 35-year-old David Bain strode quietly into a courtroom focused entirely on him, with his head held high. Clean shaven and dressed in a neat black suit jacket and trousers, a crisp white shirt unbuttoned at the neck and well-shined black shoes, Bain was a far cry from the awkward, acne-faced young man photographed in loose woollen jerseys after he was charged with murdering his family in 1994. Yesterday in the High Court at Christchurch, Bain's brown hair was cut short and had thinned heavily on top. His metal-rimmed rectangular glasses gave him the image of a well-groomed professional. He walked slowly into the court from a side door and smiled briefly at supporters as he took his seat. He sat bolt upright in his chair alongside a prison guard, his hands clasped in his lap, staring straight ahead at Justice John Fogarty. Stony-faced through most of his bail hearing, he occasionally allowed himself a hint of a smile as things appeared to be going his way. It was not until the judge confirmed he would be allowed bail that his face lit up in a huge smile. Asked later what was going through his head as he listened to the judge, he replied: "Nothing. Just trying to keep going minute by minute by clasping on to the strength that Joe [Karam] has given me over all of these years." Outside the court, Bain told the crushing throng he didn't really expect the hearing to go his way. "I was preparing myself for the worst," he said. On the steps of the court building, Bain thanked all the supporters who had kept faith in him. "I have had a lot of friends that have kept me going. They have all kept me going." He made sure he exercised the night before the hearing "and got myself tired so I could get some sleep". Bain was heading to the upmarket Clearwater Resort, 15 minutes from central Christchurch, for his first night of freedom after more than 12 years behind bars.
Tariffs at the resort start at $436 for a lakeside room. Last night, while inmates at Christchurch Men's Prison ate spaghetti bolognese with two slices of bread and a piece of fresh fruit, resort guests could choose from entrees of Cleveland Coast oysters in a crayfish bisque at $21.50 and pasta mains with green beans, gourmet potatoes, chopped parsley and basil pesto with shaved parmesan at $27. Bain said he wanted a "nice salad" and time with friends for his first night away from prison bars. Earlier, in court, Bain's supporters broke into applause as it became apparent the hearing was going in his favour, prompting Justice Fogarty to ask for quiet. "This is a very difficult job to do," he said. He suppressed all submissions relating to the Crown case. Both tiers of the public gallery were packed with more than 200 Bain supporters, police and court security officers. About 30 journalists filled the jury box, the court dock, and extra seating lining one wall of the room, with another 20 stationed outside. As the hearing ended and Bain turned to his supporters, the public gallery erupted. Bain embraced his chief supporter Joe Karam in a bear hug, before being led out of the court. His first taste of "freedom" was being met by by reporters, photographers and camera operators all jostling for position. He appeared calm and composed. Asked what this whole experience was like, he replied, "pretty scary", and gave a nervous laugh.
- Additional reporting NZPA