Collins slammed by Supreme Court Judge | The Jackal

12 Dec 2012

Collins slammed by Supreme Court Judge

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

David Bain is asking the Ombudsman to intervene in his claim for compensation to direct that Justice Minister Judith Collins release the confidential report by former Canadian judge Ian Binnie to him.

That way his team will be able to assess whether Mr Binnie made errors in law, according to Mr Bain's lawyer, Michael Reed, QC.

Ms Collins' predecessor, Simon Power, commissioned the report after Mr Bain claimed compensation in 2010.

Yesterday she trashed Mr Binnie's report and explained why she believed it needed to be peer reviewed by New Zealand QC and former High Court Judge Robert Fisher.

"My concerns are broadly that the report appeared to contain assumptions based on incorrect facts, and showed a misunderstanding of New Zealand law," Ms Collins said. "It lacked a robustness of reasoning used to justify its conclusions."

She said she was not prepared to take the report to the Cabinet without being peer reviewed because she did not believe it would stand up to public scrutiny.

She rejected any notion that she was "shopping around" for an opinion she liked.

That's exactly what it looks like to me... The accusations she has made against Judge Ian Binnie are serious and effectively say he's incompetent. There's no way to verify if her accusations are true or not because Judith Collins has kept the Bain report secret.

Judith Collins' accusations would reflect very badly on Judge Binnie if they were allowed to go unanswered, especially for people who don't realise that Collins is as manipulative as they come. Thankfully the highly respected and Supreme Court Judge Ian Binnie has stood up for himself and clearly won't be bullied by a rabid dog like Crush-less Collins.

Today, the NZ Herald also reported:

From Geneva, Justice Binnie today released a statement from Geneva hitting back at her criticisms.

"The language of the press release shows it to be a political document which, given that the minister is engaged in a political exercise, is not surprising. "However I expected the minister to follow a fair and even handed process leading up to that political decision," he said.

In his statement, Justice Binnie also said it was unfair his report had not been shown to "the party most directly affected" - David Bain.

"The minister of course is free to seek advice wherever she wants but if she wanted input from the actual parties to the compensation inquiry (as distinguished from input from her colleagues or other persons with no axe to grind) she should surely have sought input from both sides. There may be much in my report that Mr Bain disagrees with. He doesn't know because he hasn't seen it."

New Zealanders had strong views about the David Bain case and most would want his compensation claim for wrongful conviction and imprisonment dealt with in an even-handed and fair way, said Justice Binnie.

In response to claims his report contained assumptions based on incorrect facts and a misunderstanding of New Zealand law, Justice Binnie said he received input from a "distinguished and totally independent New Zealand lawyer".

"Whatever else New Zealand law states, it is certainly well established that it is most improper for 'a client', especially a legally trained client, to attack publicly a lawyer's advice while simultaneously claiming privilege to protect from disclosure the advice that is being attacked. I would expect that the Minister, as a former Auckland tax lawyer, would be well aware of this principle."

It appears that the Minister of Justice's comments about Judge Binnie are completely unfounded. Clearly the esteemed Judge Binnie is highly annoyed by Judith Collins' unscrupulous accusations that question his conclusions and malign his reputation...

Claiming that Binnie hadn't adhered to New Zealand law in making his findings that Bain should be compensated is obviously incorrect. Saying that the report "lacked a robustness of reasoning" is like calling Binnie a senile old fool, an insult Collins has made simply because the conclusions in the Bain report didn't match what she was wanting and perhaps expecting.

The cost of the crowns mismanagement of the Bain saga will be astronomical, and Judith Collins' attempt to further delay any compensation payment to Bain is yet another costly maneuver by the state to punish somebody for a crime they've been found not guilty of. This fact should make many New Zealanders question whether Collins is fit to be a minister of the crown at all.

In my opinion, Judith Collins should release Binnie's report immediately to see whether it stands up to public scrutiny or not. If she truly requires a second opinion, she should use somebody who's not biased in any way. Getting her pet Judge to provide recommendations suited to her beliefs in this matter is so horrendously wrong that it beggars belief.

Perhaps Ian Binnie might again be available to provide an unbiased and independent judgement, but I think Collins has well and truly burnt that bridge she was trying to stand on.

Listen to a podcast with Judge Ian Binnie here.