Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Robin Bain case: so much for the fingerprints.

Among the hysterics than inundated the Bain case were arguments regarding fingerprints on the murder weapon, David Bain's rifle. No argument that the rifle was used but a simple question as to whom used the rifle was made complex by first a desperate prosecution and then, in turn, by the largely defunct hate-siters who sprang up to support the 'memory' of the late Robin Bain. One of the hate-sites particular area of anguish was that 'nobody spoke for Robin Bain.' I have written about that here earlier, making it clear that it was the prosecution that took up Robin's case, against much evidence that pointed to Robin but which resulted in first a conviction against his son David - that was later deemed an actual Miscarriage of Justice, then finally with the Crown case shredded, resulting in the full acquittal of David at a retrial. The Crown decided to have the retrial rather than accept the evidence had always been that Robin was guilty of killing his wife, 2 daughters, younger son,  and in so doing: leaving clear evidence of his own suicide which the police interpreted, in some mind boggling fashion, as proof that Robin's eldest son, David, had killed not only Robin but the rest of the family.
This prosecution despite, that Robin's blood was found deep inside the rifle - indicating a close contact shot with an upward trajectory. In fact complete evidence which has now been independently analysed, and peer reviewed internationally, revealing that Robin's death was 98% probable suicide. How did a police force get it so wrong?
Firstly, they overlooked the obvious - blood and injuries to Robin's hands. Simple common sense dictates that a murder victim does not have signs of having been in a fight after which he or she is passively accepting being killed by lying his or her temple against the firearm by which they were despatched. It doesn't happen. But with a willingness to overlook the obvious David Bain was subsequently sent to prison, serving 13 years before his conviction was quashed by the Privy Council along with less than subtle advice that he should not be tried again. David Bain had no injuries to his hands despite that his younger brother Stephen had fought for his life, as it now prevails - resulting in the injuries to Robin's hands, probably a nose bleed to Robin all of which was presented as highly visible to investigators who for some reason kept the most experienced forensic pathologist away from the scene for hours, to protect the evidence, while in fact allowing a veritable horde of inexperienced investigators to trample through the house gathering evidence - literally by throwing potential evidence in blankets and carting it away to the police station.
When the Pathologist, Dr Dempster, was finally 'permitted' entry, much evidence had been moved and tampered with. Critically, a magazine from the rifle had been moved to allow it to be photographed in different positions without it's original position being noted. Police had even moved the body of Robin Bain in what clearly looked liked a suicide scene. Dempster considered it to be probably suicide in his preliminary work. By then however, Police had decided that it was David. Yes before the scene had been properly examined, potential evidence tested, in fact within hours of arrival to a slaughterhouse where one person was dead beside a rifle with an upward shot having entered his brain, David was being stripped searched for evidence of being involved in the deaths of his family. This strip search was conducted by a police surgeon Dr Pryde who filled out the prescribed form for such procedures and who was careful to warn David that any evidence found during the search, despite that David had not been charged, and would not be charged for several more days, could be used as evidence against him. It was important later for the police to claim that no such strip search had taken place and it would only be years later that ex Detective Sergeant Doyle would admit to the searches and their intrusive nature. Of course the point the police tried to make in vain, was that David was never suspected, therefore he was not strip searched. Following the claim that he was not 'suspected' was to lend weight to the claim that evidence against Robin had been carefully scrutinised.
The careful scrutiny would be exposed as a sham when photos were revealed from Dempster's file of blood wash on Robin's palms. Yes Robin had been washing or diluting blood off his hands before his death. He also had blood spatter on  one of his shoes 'occluded' from having come from his temple wound. In a few more years a Waikato farmer David Giles would examined a photo inadvertently supplied by one of the hate-siters which showed imprints on Robin's thumb exactly matching the lips of the magazine that the police had moved around the morning of killings. Robin had loaded the gun which had killed him. The 'Bain case' is far more expansive than which can be discussed here. In fact in the interests of keeping it simple and not launching into the convoluted mire of the Crown case I've simply spoken about some of the forensic evidence that proved beyond doubt Robin's guilt and David's innocence. Included in this of course is evidence key to the final death scene. Part of that evidence was 'non evidence.'
The 'non evidence' was the 'lack' of prints from Robin on the rifle. When this not existing evidence was presented by the police or hate-siters it was said to 'prove' David's guilt. In fact for decades the misapprehension by the public generally about prints on guns has been well known to investigators, and, in the Bain case, used to confused a Jury while convincing public opinion that 'non evidence' was in fact evidence against David. The paper clipping at the outset makes a lie of the police proposal about evidence that didn't exist - the best that could be said is that there were no identifiable prints belonging to Robin on the rifle, though there were unidentifiable prints and partial prints of both of his sons one of whom owned the rifle. This was touched upon in the unsuccessful Crown retrial. Prints can exist in pristine condition for years, moreover prints that the police destroyed could under current technology exclude known suspects. Not that Robin could ever be excluded from having killed his family, but the destroyed prints, despite their smudging may not have excluded him from having handled the rifle, for which Gile's evidence shows, Robin loaded the magazine, and which an International Forensic Science paper reveals 98% positive that Robin Bain also used to kill himself.
The Bain case will continue in the new year in a fashion little to do with the fact it is reconciled, scientifically, that Robin Bain killed himself after killing 4 of his family - but more to do with keeping the NZ public, and international interest from the truth. Much the same way Dunedin's most experienced forensic investigator was left in the cold the morning Robin shot himself when police first began the attempt of putting a square peg in a round hole.

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