The Bain Family Massacre


“On the morning of 20 June 1994, five members of the Bain family were shot dead. The dead were Robin Bain (58), his wife Margaret (50), their daughters Arawa (19), Laniet (18) and son Stephen (14). David called 111 at 7:09 am, seeming very distressed. He had completed his paper round; what else happened that morning has been disputed.

Four days after the murders, David Bain (then aged 22) was charged by the police with the murder of his family….

He was convicted in May 1995 of the murders of his parents and siblings in Dunedin on 20 June the previous year, then was found not guilty when retried on the same charges 14 years later.

Bain served 13 years of a life sentence before successfully appealing his original convictions to the Privy Council in May 2007. Finding there had been a substantial miscarriage, the Privy Council quashed his convictions and ordered a retrial. He was bailed pending the retrial which began in Christchurch on 6 March 2009 and ended 5 June 2009 with his acquittal on all charges.

This has been one of New Zealand’s most complex and controversial murder cases. Aside from the debate about who murdered the Bain family, questions have been raised about the police investigation, juror conduct, court decisions about the admissibility of evidence, and decisions by the New Zealand Court of Appeal.”