A senior retired Australian judge has been appointed to head up the inquiry into David Bain’s compensation claim, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced today.
Hon Ian Callinan AC QC, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, has been appointed to conduct a fresh inquiry into Mr Bain’s claim for compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.
“Mr Callinan is a distinguished and highly respected member of the Australian legal fraternity. He brings a diverse mix of experience and expertise, following an exemplary career of nearly forty years practice as a lawyer and nine years on the bench of the High Court of Australia,” says Ms Adams.
The appointment of Mr Callinan follows Cabinet’s decision in February 2015 to set aside all previous advice relating to Mr Bain’s claim and conduct a fresh inquiry. A fresh inquiry was considered necessary because Cabinet did not have the information in front of it on which it could reasonably reach a decision.
“Mr Callinan’s appointment is a significant step in progressing Mr Bain’s claim for compensation and bringing some finality to the case,” says Ms Adams.
Ms Adams selected Mr Callinan from a shortlist of retired judges with extensive criminal experience from both New Zealand and overseas jurisdictions.
“I consider Mr Callinan to have the right breadth and depth of experience. There is also merit in having an inquirer from outside New Zealand to remove any perception of influence of public opinion. Mr Callinan will bring a fresh perspective and dispassionate view to the inquiry,” says Ms Adams.
Mr Callinan’s role is to provide advice on questions relevant to Cabinet’s determination. Initially, Mr Callinan has been asked to advise whether he is satisfied that Mr Bain has proven that he is innocent of murder on the balance of probabilities and, if so, whether he is also satisfied Mr Bain has proven he is innocent beyond reasonable doubt. Mr Callinan is being asked the latter question at this stage because Cabinet has previously treated innocence beyond reasonable doubt as an example of “extraordinary circumstances”.
Cabinet will consider Mr Callinan’s advice on these points before any further advice is sought.
Mr Callinan will start work immediately and expects to be able to report back to the Justice Minister within six months.
Biography: Hon Ian Callinan AC QC
Hon Ian Callinan was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland in 1960 and a barrister in 1965. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1978. He was President of the Queensland Bar Association between 1984 and 1987 and President of the Australian Bar Association between 1984 and 1985. Mr Callinan’s practice as a lawyer was diverse, and included high profile criminal matters for both the defence and prosecution.
He was appointed straight to the High Court of Australia in 1998, and retired in 2007. Since retiring, Mr Callinan has undertaken a range of work such as the review of the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, and a report to the Victorian Minister of Corrections and Crime Prevention on the state of the parole system in Victoria.
In 2003, Justice Callinan was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) for his services to the law, arts and the community. In January 2014, Mr Callinan became an ad hoc Judge of the International Court of Justice.
Mr Callinan comes with the recommendation Hon Murray Gleeson, former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia.