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Two Courts Set Aside For Bain Jury Selection

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
David Bain
David Bain

Christchurch, March 6 NZPA - Two High Courts have been taken over for the first morning of the retrial of David Cullen Bain on charges of murdering five members of his family.

Counsel and media have set up among the historic wood panelling of High Court No 1, while the 80 members of the jury panel are assembled in the courtroom next door for the jury selection.

By 10.25am, three jurors had been selected, with several others ruled out by challenges by the legal teams.

There was tension around the Court House today with the three-month trial about to get under way before Justice Graham Panckhurst.

A few members of the public had arrived in the main court's mezzanine public gallery, but they may see little for hours until the jury selection is over.

It is hard to say how long or complex the process will be.

The process starts with Bain, 36, being placed in the dock where he will enter his not guilty pleas to the charges of murdering his father, mother, brother and two sisters in 1994, at the family's home in Every Street, Dunedin.

A relaxed and smiling Bain arrived at the Court House about 9.30am with his legal team and chief supporter Joe Karam. He made no comment as they made their way through the waiting media scrum to the building's main doors.

Security was in place at the building today -- as it has been this week -- with people going through an airline-type x-ray and metal-detector system before being allowed inside.

When jury selection is complete, the trial venue will move next door to the main courtroom where it is hoped that opening addresses by the crown and defence counsel will be presented to the jury later today.

Earlier Arthur Allan Thomas, pardoned for a 1970s double murder, arrived to support Bain through his retrial.

Mr Thomas, 71, a Waikato dairy farmer, was wrongly imprisoned for nine years in the 1970s for a double murder.

He received a pardon after a royal commission of inquiry found police had planted a bullet cartridge used to convict him.

Bain, now 36, was sentenced to life imprisonment and served 12 years of his 16-year non-parole term after a jury in the High Court at Dunedin found him guilty on all five charges of murdering his family.

Two years ago, the London-based Privy Council quashed his convictions for murder and ordered a retrial, ruling a substantial miscarriage of justice had taken place.

Mr Thomas met Bain last year, and last week said he wanted to support him through the retrial.

Yesterday trial judge Justice Graham Panckhurst relaxed an earlier ruling on the issue of internet video coverage of the trial.

During Bain's original three-week trial in Dunedin in 1995, no cameras of any kind were allowed in the courtroom.

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