Trial by Ambush - impressions, questions, things I want to share on first reading

I've just started reading Trial by Ambush and am finding it interesting. Having read part 1 of 5 and studied the photos I have placed about 20 stickits in the book already and so decided to record why at the end of each part.

Firstly interesting to me the photo of DB's room in TbA is similar to the one in D&G but taken from a different angle. The pillow on the floor behind the bed is in a totally different position in both photos.

Pg 12 description of scene in lounge with RB's body - no mention made of cartridge case on floor.

Pg 13 LOL "Up until that moment, life had been busy and normal for David Bain. The budding classical singer, university student, keen runner and member of a loving if disorganised family had had an active weekend."

Pg 13 Still a video they were "shooting" rather than CD they were recording on the Friday night. For someone who is so picky with police errors would've thought this would be a quick fix for Mr K.

Pg 14 CHECK "and went downstairs to the room that combined the bathroom, laundry lavatory and washed then in cold water and soap over the hand-basin."  I thought the laundry was in the kitchen area rather than in the bathroom area. If he went to do the laundry I'd say it would be more likely he would have washed his hands in the laundry sink and this could explain why the bloodstains in the basin were not washed away.

Pg 14 Apparently he sorted whites from coloured that morning and put them in the machine. Picture of laundry on line shows whites and coloured on line. There was nothing on line to begin with.

Pg 15 Thought this was a post-karam trick - "David had difficulty talking; Dunne recorded that he seemed to have lost his voice.

Pg 17 Interesting that "David became deeply distressed seeing and reading the grisly details of his family's demise." Funny this didn't trigger the memories of going into his sibling's bedrooms that morning. 

Pg 18 "The police belief was revealed in an instant : David killed his family after returning from the paper round, in the period of time that he was not able to account for." I think by this time they had already realised that the washing machine had been switched on before he left for the paper round as there was no noise coming from it when they first entered the house, so it was probable that most of the murders had been comitted before the paper round.

Pg 19 INTERESTING - I always wondered what the other five questions that were put to David were. The ones that Guest told him not to answer.

1. A lens from a set of glasses you have been wearing was found in Stephen's room. [Presumably he was going to be asked for an explanation for their presence]

2. Did you tell Val Boyd [David's aunt]: 'It could have been me. I don't know if it was me or Dad'?

3. A piece of skin similar to the one missing from your knee was found in Stephen's room; can you explain this?

4. A computer message was typed at 6.44 a.m. after you got home; did you type it?

5. Did you shoot and kill te members of your immediate family?

Pg 20 Aha - wonder if Dempster had seen the beginnings of markings on DB's chest? "Then Croudis asked if a medical examination could be conducted on David, saying that he wanted the general practioner to view injuries observed on Monday to establish further bruising and to examine the soles of his feet. Guest again, on David's behalf, declined."  

Pg 20 Karam quotes from a book, Presumed Guilty by Miriyana Alexander  - might read this

Pg 21 A moment of insight??  "five people, slain in the dark of night in their own home, in one of Dunedin's better suburbs."  Dunno if you can slay yourself Joe

Pg 21 Yeah Right   "Only one surviver, who presented as helpful, articulate, intelligent, diligent and who had nothing in his past to suggest that he would be capable of or have reason to commit this slaughter of his entire family." Head in the sand stuff here!!!!

Pg 26 Discussing the 111 call and how he said they were ALL dead - "This was construed as a lie, a belated attempt to cover up the deed, one of those elementary giveaway mistakes that even the most sophisticated of felons always makes."  Exactly Joe.

Pg 31 Talking about the extended families feelings on the Friday night of the arrest  - "On the other hand, maybe there was also some relief. Rather that a long drawn-out investigation with the intense media scrutiny, perhaps resulting in unpleasant revelations about the lives of their brother and sister, at least under these circumstances they could begin to move forward."  Duh - if it had been a clear cut murder/suicide there would have been no need for a long drawn out investigation. The money would have gone straight to DB and there would have been a lot less for the family to worry about.

Pg 32 "Should they support their surviving blood relation or should they support the police against him and stand by their own brother and sister, David's parents?" Or Joe, should they follow their gut and the evidence?

Pg 32 I thought the police hadn't done their job properly Joe. "Already a  shambles before the tragedy, the house was now vertually uninhabitable. In the process of the scene inquiry collecting evidence it had been virtually wrecked. doors had been removed and sent to the ESR for examination. Whole door frames lifted off and so the old wooden structure was reduced to its bare bones." So the police had gutted it and then he says on the decision to have it burnt down "From the executors' point of view it may have been the prudent decision, but it certainly did not help David." And how exactly would leaving it standing have helped David??

Pg 34 After giving the lowdown on Guest's background "David of course knew none of this..." Maybe because it hadn't happened yet!!

Pg 35 Aha was Guest JK's rolemodel?? "Left a clear impression of obfuscation by quantity of words, rather than the truth by simple narration of facts...







This is great! WELL DONE.

It was my understanding that hre family AND David asked for the house to be burnt down.

Pg 21 Yeah Right   "Only one surviver, who presented as helpful, articulate, intelligent, diligent and who had nothing in his past to suggest that he would be capable of or have reason to commit this slaughter of his entire family." Head in the sand stuff here!!!!     Oh good joke, Joe. Wait, he was serious?????? Not bloody likely Mr Ostrich.


Pg 15 Thought this was a post-karam trick - "David had difficulty talking; Dunne recorded that he seemed to have lost his voice.

I see he hasnt got it back yet either



Interesting is the fact that David wanted to celebrate Arawa's birthday in the house after the funerals, Would have been draughty it seems. 

I have just started reading the above book,and I will also make some comments.
As I have mentioned on another thread Karam now says Tania Clark saw Bain prior to 6.40am. In David & Goliath he said she saw Bain at 6.40am. And the distance has come down from 300m to 280m. But he still has it wrong. It is around 240m from Heath Street to 65 Every Street. I don't know how far past Heath Street Bain was when he looked at his watch.
I was interested to read again that the light switch in David Bain's room was the old-fashioned pull-cord variety.
Karam talks about how long it would have taken Bain to get from Heath Street to home. He mentions that Peeters' fast jog took three minutes but than when Thompson timed himself it took 2m15s and 2m16s. He says something is seriously wrong with these timings. If he was so worried about those timings why didn't he go out to Anderson's Bay when he was in Dunedin and time himself over that distance? Maybe he did. If he did I bet it took him well under three minutes. I am sure that timing of Peeters was just an estimate.
That list of questions that Croudis put to David were on page 19 of the PCA report. He aked him if he was prepared to answer them and Bain replied"No". He was asked to read the questions and indicate if they were accurately recorded and he replied "Yes". He was asked to sign the page to that effect but Guest intervened and David declined to sign.



Well done Blossom I find this bit very interesting indeed its nice of Karam to give us further evidence against David {Pg 20 Aha - wonder if Dempster had seen the beginnings of markings on DB's chest? "Then Croudis asked if a medical examination could be conducted on David, saying that he wanted the general practioner to view injuries observed on Monday to establish further bruising and to examine the soles of his feet. Guest again, on David's behalf, declined." }

Its very interesting because it seems to prove that before Friday David did not have a strip search, it seems that was just another invention by Read for the defence, David would not agree to the medical examination on the Friday either but the prison guard Thomas Samuel noticed the marks on Bains chest after he was arested later on that Friday.

I will be investgating this further and will add it to one of the evidence items---Thanks Joe.

After he has finished his rehearsal David Bain went to the Museum cafe to wait for Arawa to finish at 5.45. He then says "we picked up stuff from Laniet's flat." Funny how he doesn't say he picked up Laniet,but of course we all know she was picked up because a witness testified that he spoke to Laniet when she was on her way home to her flat after working at the cafe and she told him David was calling to pick her up. He doesn't say who was driving the car.He says after picking up that stuff we[that would be him and his two sisters] went to Countdown,did some shopping and then went home. Then he went out with Laniet to get fish and chips. He says he was driving the car. He says everyone was watching TV and then they watched a video movie for an hour,then switched it off so his parents could watch a film.
So here we have David Bain driving without glasses,then watching TV and a video without glasses. Is this the same bloke who couldn't drive home after he damaged his glasses on the previous Thursday?
Is this the same bloke who said ,when he took the stand at the first trial,that he had worn his mother's glasses for watching TV when his were not available?
And yet Karam still will not accept that he was wearing those glasses that were found in his room because nobody saw him wearing them. I would put it to Mr Karam that five people did see him wearing those glasses,those people being Robin,Margaret,Arawa ,Laniet and Stephen Bain.

Note. Edited on 9 June.


Who brought in the ODT?
When David was asked about the newspaper  he said he didn't bring it in. He said it was normally delivered at a quarter to six. He said he would normally bring it in,but if he walked his paper run his father would get it at 7am.
I find that interesting. It appears that some days David wasn't home until after 7am. And on those days his father picked the paper up at 7am. So maybe that is when his father usually came into the house. If the paper wasn't there he went out and got it.
Karam doesn't discount the likelihood that David brought the paper in,and neither do I. But then you have the problem as to which door Robin came in. Barbara Neasmith said that he came into the house by the back door,then up the stairs and into the lounge. Maybe he did the same that Monday. At 7am. When the neighbour heard Kaycee start barking.

Jan Clark's testimony re glasses.

Q. At sometime there was a discussion about the glasses.
A,  Yes,later after David got up [this was on the Tuesday morning after the murders when David was staying with his aunt and uncle] David got up and had some breakfast we were sitting in the lounge,David,Heidi [ a daughter] and myself and David sort of rubbed his eyes like that ,you know,and I said "Oh,are your eyes troubling you dear?"
Q. When you say rubbing his eyes you're [demonstrating]
A. Yes,it was sort of a movement like that ,just as though his eyes were troubling him.And I said "Are your eyes troubling you dear " and he said "yes they are a bit I really need my glasses". And I went up to go and get them saying,you know,"Where are they?" and he explained his own glasses had been broken the previous Thursday when he was leaving his music lesson and I asked him how he had been managing in the meantime and he said he had been wearing an old pair of Margaret's glasses.
Q. Just on that,did he indicate how much assistance or lack of assistance they gave?
A. Yes,he said well they weren't perfect but they got him by. And then he said his own glasses would be ready at the optician's on the Thursday and could we perhaps organise to have them collected and I called Bob [Jan Clark's husband] in.

Bob Clark's testimony.

I was called into the lounge where my wife had been talking to David and was informed that would I go and pick up the glasses on Thursday,which I did.
Q. Was anything said about the accused's glasses,apart from that,or his eyes,on the Tuesday?
A. He had been talking to my wife and my wife repeated to me that his glasses had been broken and that he had been wearing a pair of his mother's glasses,which he said were not 100% ,but were sufficient for him to get by with.

Now what does Karam have to say about this. He says that the interesting thing about this evidence was that it was not part of her extensive testimony at the first trial. The first time she mentioned it was in a statement she gave the poilice five years later. Is it possible that her recollection five years later could be wrong? She was adamant it wasn't. But as the extensive reseach on memory recall shows ,people's memories can be influenced by later information having a suggestive impact on the recollection,as genuine as that recollection may be.

Ok,Joe. So what did David have to say about his aunt's testimony? You don't tell us that in your book. Why not?
And why do you find it so interesting about this evidence not being part of her testimony at the first trial? Why would that be part of her testimony?  The Crown had been told by David Bain's lawyer that he would be admitting to wearing those glasses. They would have known Jan Clark had not seen David Bain from the Thursday until the Monday afternoon,so why would they ask her anything about those glasses?.
Joe,has it ever occurred to you why David Bain decided to lie about those glasses when he took the stand? Or why he told his lawyer he was going to admit to wearing them? This is what I reckon ,Joe. David Bain knew he had told his aunt he had been wearing those glasses. So he decided he would admit to wearing them. Then he found out that his aunt had not mentioned that conversation,so he decided to lie on the stand. What could she do about it?
And Joe,just because Mrs Clark didn't come forward until five years later doesn't mean she recalled that conversation five years later. I would suggest that when she was at the trial and heard David lying about those glasses she made a mental note there and then to discuss the matter with her husband that night. Then when she heard there was going to be an appeal she came forward. And that is why her recollection is so good.

Target found in room.
In his evidence in chief David Bain said that it was his father who drew up that target and put rabbit ears on it when they went to Taieri Beach to sight the rifle in.
So what happened to those rabbit ears? They weren't on that target that was found in David Bain's room. And why would his father draw five targets on that piece of cardboard when there was room for six?
I believe David Bain was telling the truth about those rabbit ears. But his father drew them on another target,not that one.
And there were 29 bullet holes in and around those targets. When you are sighting a rifle in you only need about four shots. The bullet holes on that piece of cardboard are all over the place.

Mike I think the testimony about the dog barking came from a young girl neighbour of the Bains she said she heard the dog barking its head off and said it had never done that before maybe the dog was present when Robin was shot or nearby I know that some dogs certainly do start barking when shots are fired especially when hunting.


Yes,the neighbour had heard the dog bark before,but only once or twice at a time. That morning it kept on barking for about 15 minutes.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Karam says that David's two sisters were working at a cafe in town on the Sunday so after the rehearsal at about 5 o'clock he joined them. Well,David might have gone inside to wait for Arawa ,who he said finished at 5.45. But Laniet had already left and gone back to the flat.
The witness who saw Laniet heading back to her flat said he was having a smoko break from a production he was in and that she stopped to share a cigarette. It was around 5 o'clock. Laniet told him she was in a hurry to get home because she was going to be picked up by David. He said his sister wanted to catch up with her but she said not tonight because David had called a family meeting and she was about to be picked up from her flat.

Karam says that in his evidence Doyle confirmed that Dr Pryde strip-searched David Bain. Doyle did no such thing.
He said that Bain was not considered a suspect at that stage so there would be no reason for him to take that test.
[Meaning the test that included a strip-search.] Karam says that there is a standard police form which includes a diagram of a male torso,front and back,on which the doctor marked matters of interest. He noted the bruising on Bain's head and the graze on his knee. He also noted a tattoo on the left arm above the bicep.
But Dr Pryde could have noted all those marks without actually carrying out a strip-search.
Karam goes on to say that when Dr Pryde strip-searched Bain DS Dunne and Constable Van Turnhout were present. He said at the retrial ,because Dr Pryde was dead and could not give evidence the opportunity was available for them to deny that the doctor had strip-searched Bain or,alternatively,to say the scratches were there but that the doctor failed to record them. He has a point.
But one could also ask the question as to why the defence did not ask Dunne or Van Turnhout if they saw Dr Pryde strip-search Bain. Why did they not ask that question?
We know those scratches were there on the Wednesday after the murders because Bain showed them to a female companion. He told her he didn't know how he got them,but referred to the "missing" twenty minutes after he got home from his paper round. So he obviously could not think of how he could have gotten then at any other time.

Police officers are taught as part of their training to not offer explanations. All witnesses are told to answer questions only. If the two police officers were not asked about the strip search then they would not mention it. The female witness whose evidence was suppressed was classic stop the answer. You are asked to explain something then quarter way through you are interrupted by another question very disconcerting but happens a lot as people who are nervous ans scared keep talkinng as they forget the intruction not to answer fully.  

Yeah,but as I have said before,why didn't the Crown Prosecutor ask Dunne and Van Turnhout if Bain was strip-searched? If they had said he hadn't been,then Karam would not be able to say he was.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Karam is writing about the washing.
" push the dial in to get the old tub started [Bain turned the dial] and it was back upstairs to his bedroom. He noticed a light coming from his mother's room and thought he might make her a cup of tea ".

David Bain's account was that when he came home he walked in the front door and noticed at that stage his mother's light was on because he could see it over the curtain. He went into his room and took his paper bag off and put it behind the door. [For some reason he didn't pull the light cord that was behind the door,even though it was pitch black in his room]. Then he took his shoes off in front of the cupboard and took his walkman off and put it on the bed.
Then he washed his hands in the sink[not hand-basin,as per Karam same page].
So nothing about that cup of tea. He must have remembered that years later. And obviously Karam must have misunderstood what Bain told him,unless he was fudging.
As we know, at that conference Bain said he thought he would make his mother a cup of tea when he saw her light on before he went downstairs,not after he came back upstairs as per Karam. Big difference.
Edited 11 June. I see Bain said he took his shoes off in front of the cupboard. I wonder what cupboard he is referring to. I have seen two photos of his room. In one there is an odd pair of shoes in front of the wardrobe and in the other there is a pair of Lazers[the shoes he said he was wearing] in front of a set of drawers. Now you might call a wardrobe a cupboard,but you wouldn't call a set of drawers a cupboard.  The police found some blood on those shoes in front of the wardrobe,but as they were not mentioned in the deposition hearings,the police had to ask Guest if they could include them as evidence and he declined,saying he didn't have time to prepare his cross-examination.
But I am forgetting that it was pitch black in his room because he hadn't turned the light on. So maybe he didn't know what piece of furniture he had removed his shoes in front of.

Mike I think the answer to your query about the prosecutors asking about the strip search is they didn't want to know, either because they could discredit the question on re examination. Or they knew he had and not noticed the marks. Either way they were picking the defense would not ask when its likely the strip search was not done as David was not a suspect and the defense knew that. I think the refusal by Guest was ill advised as he should have known a strip search would be done next door at the prison where David would be held not in the police cells, and the doctor or nurse there could examine without permission.


Linz,if the prosecutor knew that Bain hadn't been strip-searched,then why not have Van Turnhout and/or Dunne confirm that?  I can understand the defence not wanting to ask that question,if they knew no strip-search had been carried out.
Re Guest. I thing Guest did the right thing. He no doubt knew about those marks. And the police did not follow up. Bain was not examined in prison. The prison officer who saw those marks only came forward in 2007. The strip-search he carried out was only to check for hidden drugs and/or weapons. He just happened to remember noticing those marks.
It would appear that the police were not aware of those scratches until Rebecca Hemming mentioned them in September 1994. She drew a sketch showing where they were. The police obviously did not think of checking with the prison officer who they should have known would have strip-searched Bain.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale




To be quite honest Mike I believe the police were overloaded with evidence against David Bain, and were lulled into a false sense of security because of that "they did not foresee a totally win at all costs obsessed supporter coming to Bains rescue, I believe even Adolf Hitler may have had a chance of escaping justice with his help. Any police force around the world would have been relaxed with bloody fingerprints on the murder weapon bruises all over his head and scratches on his chest and broken glasses he was wearing beside a victim as well as numerous to much to mention other evidence, and on top of that zero support from any family members who escaped his hail of bullets.


Yes,I agree,Bill. The police had enough evidence to convict,and the jury agreed. Who would have thought someone like Karam would come along later to dispute virtually every piece of that evidence. Someone who still will not accept that Bain had been wearing those glasses that were found in his room. Someone who still will not accept that those scratches on David Bain's torso got there by any other reason than the obvious one. Etc.,etc.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Karam refers to Casey as being the family dog. I suppose that is fair enough,though Kaycee was actually Arawa's dog. In David & Goliath he said Casey was David's dog.

Karam says David Bain joined his sisters at the cafe where they were working at about 5 o'clock on the Sunday afternoon prior. In fact David Bain had arranged to meet Helen Saunders there at 4 o'clock. She stayed for an hour and left at 5 o'clock.

The strip search would have been to prevent sucide mainly and  DB would have been segregated. police at thime were still in the old station and did not  routinely hold prisoners in the station cells [which now are used as a  storage area for a prominent  Dunedin Barrister] 

You raise good points regarding not asking the two officers about the search and I can only guess it was a strategy decision to not ask. I would have thought it better to ask but perhaps the didn't think the defence would frame the cross examination of the DSS as they did. I think Guest  done the same thing in the first trial, so perhaps thought the defence would do it differently.

I don't have a very high opinion of Kerian Rafferty as a prosecutor. He was part of the prosecution team in R v Watson  as a junior and didn't seem to learn much from Davison as to being devious and well a liar lwhich is probably good]. He is a very poor imitation of Bill Wright  


One really good question one could have asked david Bain if he had the balls to testify would have been "David were you strip searched and if you were when and who was preasent" 

In reply to by Bill Rodie


I don't know if Bain could have been asked that question, I mean the police already knew the answer. But I find it interesting that Karam has made that point about those policemen not being asked that question by the Crown prosecutor. Because the same point could be made about Michael Reed. Why did he not ask that question? I believe the defence knew Bain wasn't strip-searched, but they could say he was because the Crown didn't prove he wasn't.

Mike lawyers have a couple of unwritten rules about questioning witnesses   1/ Don't ask a question if you don't what the answer will be  2/  Don't ask a question if you know your not going to like the answer, just hope the other side don't ask it either.

Michael Guest and Bill Wright understood each other and worked together to get the right result [and we'll never know what they considered that to be]  but DB threw a spanner in the works when he changed the agreed answers to the glasses questions.  

Ok. Both Dunne and Van Turnhout gave evidence about that examination by Dr Pryde. Pryde asked Bain if he was ok with a test for gunshot residue being carried out and Bain said "Yes". Pryde asked if it was ok for him to take some blood and body samples and Bain replied "Yes". At the time Pryde carried out the examination Bain was wearing a Queen's baton relay sweatshirt,bike shorts,black shorts and white sox. Pryde noted those bruises on Bain's head and asked him if he had any other bruises and he replied "No".
At no time did either Dunne or Van Turnhout say that Bain was strip-searched and neither the prosecution or defence asked them if he was.

still not sure what the "body" samples would be for blood is standard,  though I have a feeling the GSR would be skin scrappings  from the back of both hands  and having wasfed his hands why would he worry. 


Karam says that there is no doubt that David Bain was not wearing glasses on the Friday night or all day Sunday. He says that Bain said he drove to get fish and chips with Laniet on the Sunday night without glasses and there is no evidence disputing that.
No-one knows whether David Bain wore those glasses when he was driving the car. Nobody came forward to say they saw him driving the car. He could have said he was wearing glasses when he was driving the car to get those fish and chips and no-one would have disputed that. The only person that saw him driving the car was Laniet,but she was not able to give evidence as to whether David was wearing glasses or not,because she had been murdered. It is quite posible that David Bain was wearing those glasses when he drove to get the fish and chips. He told his aunt he had been wearing his mother's glasses that weekend. That was probably one of the times he was wearing them.
And to say that there is no doubt that David Bain was not wearing glasses on the Friday night is stretching things a little.
He was not seen wearing glasses that night. He could have worn those glasses to watch television before he went out.
Karam knows,as do we,that David Bain,apart from telling his aunt that he had been wearing a pair of his mother's glasses,also told his lawyer that he would be admitting to wearing them. Karam is in denial so far as those glasses are concerned.

So far I have not been able to find where Karam has referred to Simom Schollum's evidence re that lens found in Stephen's room. Schollum was the police officer who put all the photos in chronological order.
He gave evidence that a photo taken in Stephen Bain's room before his body was removed showed that lens at the toe of an ice skating boot [which happened to be where Weir pointed to it in that photo]. He said it was not a specular effect as was first thought [and accepted by Weir]. He said the lens was on it's smooth shiny side. He said he agreed with the defence as to where the lens was discovered,some three to four inches away. It would appear the lens had moved after that photo was taken,not surprising taking into account the amount of movement that would have taken place in that room,such as the removal of Stephen's body,etc.
If I do find a reference to Schollum's evidence later I will edit this comment accordingly.

:-) do you mind if I don't hold my breath Mike waiting for your edit.  A quick check with a friend  confirmed my thought that photos were not kept in sequenial order if the police camera did not have a time stamp capability or if it did not all developing machines were compatable.

The photos taken by police of Scott Watson were only sortable by day taken and then only because there was only two days when photos were taken  January 8  and January 12.  on the 8th some 20-30 pictures were taken, on the 12th somewhere between 150 and 200 photos. Even now Chris has not been told how many were taken or why so many.  The other 14 montage photos used were all of Nelson men who had not been at Furneaux. That was a breach of the police manual, all should have been of men who had been at the Lodge. Scott had been under questioning for 5 hours on the 12th and was none to pleased and unco-operative by then as his questioner was goading him as he was shown his vessel on the back of a truck being paraded through Picton uncovered.   

Oops forgot this bit

I think Simon Schollum done an incredible job in returning the photos into the sequential order they were shot, no mean feat

Yes, it was quite a feat by Schollum,one he said took him many,many hours. Just a pity that Weir wasn't aware he had put those photos in order. Had Schollum been called to give evidence before Weir that would have taken the sails out of some of the defences cross-examination of Weir.

P 427 is the first page of Appendix B showing the submissions prepared by Karam for the Privy Council listing errors and omissions in the Court of Appeal decision.
Court of Appeal para 34. That Robin had come to learn of the existence of the spare key "is no more than a speculative possibility".  Karam says "Keys tend to come in sets. It is not unlikely that Robin had access to it. If he did not,what is the explanation for the 20 spent cartridge shells found in his caravan".
Here is an explanation. David Bain had access to that caravan when his father was at school. His father was away from home on Mondays,and again from Tuesday morning through to late Friday. There was nothing to stop David from using that caravan to shoot at possums. He could have even used it to fire at that target that was found in his room.
In fact there is no evidence that Robin Bain ever fired that rifle. He didn't own a rifle after he returned from PNG. Maybe he didn't even own one there. When David Bain first started shooting rabbits he used a borrowed rifle.

Robin Bain was wearing clothing less smart than the clothing he normally dressed in to go to school. Karam asks "If he was intending to go to school why was he not dressed accordingly".
It was David Bain who said his father was usually more smartly dressed. So that could be a lie. But even if it was true,at what point was his father more smartly dressed?  Perhaps he didn't change into his work clothes until after breakfast.
Maybe he had a shower before changing into his work clothes.

Court of Appeal para 40. His[David Bain's] trackpants had been through the wash.
Karam says those track pants belonged to Robin Bain. I would like to know how he knew that.
Para 40,continued. The track pants may have been worn over the black shorts,allowing only a small amount of blood to seep through.
Karam says that "if there was that volume of seepage ,you would expect the cycling shorts that David wore under the black shorts to have blood on them . They did not".
But they may have had blood on them. No results were obtained from a very small smear of possible bloodstaining on those cycle shorts.
Karam goes on to say "In fact ,the single drop of blood on the black rugby shorts is entirely consistent with accidental contact". But it wasn't a single drop of blood. It was described as being about the size of a twenty or fifty cent piece.
A smear of blood that size is not consistent with accidental contact.

Court of Appeal para 53. The court criticises the fact that David Bain was unable to explain how the frame from his mother's glasses and the right lens came to be in his room.
Karam says that one explanation is that he simply didn't know.
But David Bain did know,and Karam knows that. David Bain told his lawyer pre-trial that he would be admitting to wearing those glasses. And he also told his aunt that he was wearing a pair of his mother's glasses after damaging his own.
He had been wearing those glasses yet he couldn't explain how they came to be in his room. No wonder the court criticised him.

Well .I don't know who those track pants belonged to and I don't believe Karam does either. I can't find where David Bain ever said who they belonged to.

Mike as far as I know Robin was not going to school on the Monday morning as he had an apointment elswhere. So of course did not need to be any hurry to put on better clothes.

Someone mentioned that Robin Bain had an appointment in town that morning with a member of thr Education Board. It was supposed to be at 9.30. But there has never been any confirmation of that,. The assistant teacher never said anything about that appointment,and he would have told her,so that she would have known he was going to be late. And no Education Board official ever confirmed that,so far as I am aware. I think it might have been just a chinese whisper.

Mike it wasen't a chinese wisper it was fact! Ingrid Dunckley, a psychologist working with troubled children for the Ministry of Education, told the court in 2009 that Robin Bain telephoned her on June 17, 1994, in relation to money available for teacher aides at Taieri Beach School, where Robin was principal. She said Robin arranged to bring collated information about his pupils to her on the morning of June 20. He did not turn up, and Ms Dunckley said she got a call from the school informing her about his death.

Thanks for that Bill . I don't remember seeing that article. I have now checked further and I see that no time was made for that appointment. Robin Bain was going to collate the information that was required and just take it in. Dunckley said she and Robin had a friendly chat on the phone,had a few laughs. I would assume Robin would probably have collated that information over the weekend and taken it in before going to school to save having to come back in to town. Maybe that is why he hadn't bothered to get dressed for school as early as usual. And he may have come into the house a bit later than usual and kept David waiting.
I see you have included a photo of the newspaper in that blog. Do you still think Robin Bain brought it in? David didn't actually say he didn't bring it in,he said he couldn't remember bringing it in. He said he would normally have brought it in,unless he walked the paper round.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Karam writes "They both described David as wearing an anorak or a sweatshirt with a hood.Actually ,they did not. The two witnesses are Richardson and Clark. Richardson said David was wearing an anorak and washed out shorts. In cross-examination he accepted David was wearing a red sweatshirt without a hood. Clark said the person she saw was wearing a black or navy blue sweatshirt with a hood and dark coloured long trousers. she did not see his face.She did not see his newspaper bag".
On page 115 Karam says that Guest showed the red sweatshirt that David had said he had worn to Mr Richardson and that Richardson agreed that could have been what David was wearing. At the retrial Richardson was shown that sweatshirt and he said it might have been what Bain had been wearing.
 Clark said she saw David Bain's dog,as per usual. Karam does not mention that.

It is interesting to note that Richardson referred to that garment as an anorak and Clark said it was a sweatshirt with a hood,which is what an anorak looks like. David Bain he put the red sweatshirt he was wearing in the wash after he got home because he had been wearing it for a week. But he also said he wore the anorak on his paper round on the Friday prior. I wonder if he was wearing that anorak on the Monday and not the sweatshirt. I still havn't figured out how he could have put that sweatshirt in the wash when he got home. He was away from home for almost an hour. The washing machine,when tested ,took an hour to go through it's cycle. So it could hardly have been going when he got home.
The police found that anorak in Robin's van on the day of the murders. Why did David Bain never mention that the gun key that he wore around his neck was in that anorak?  The police found it on 24 June.


It was interesting to read the statement given by John Letts. He said he usually drove down Every Street a few minutes after seven o'clock and he would see the paper boy who he knew was David Bain.
At the retrial Letts said that in the year prior to the murders he would see Bain four or five times a week,usually between Somerville and Heath Streets. So it would appear that Bain quite often did not arrive home until after seven. Letts said he left for work pretty much right on seven,and it took him a couple of minutes to get to where he usually saw Bain.
If David Bain usually arrived home after 7am,then that would mean his father usually brought the paper in. So Robin could have been in the habit of going out to the gate every morning [when he was at home]before entering the house,in which case he would probably come in through the front door.
I wonder where Tania Clark usually saw him. Malcom Parker,who lives in Somerville Street,reckoned Bain was at least ten minutes early. I reckon Bain started early,ran like hell,and finished 15/20 minutes early.

I was interested to read Mrs Mitchell's evidence at the first trial. She said that David would bring the paper right up to the balcony for her and when he did her dog would bark. She said she didn't see him but knew he had been because her dog barked.
But in a new statement she made in 2007 before she died she said she glimpsed David through the window and he said "Hello" to her and she said "Hello" back. She also said he hadn't come up on her balcony for over a year,and that there was no need for him to come through her gate that morning.
She said the reason why she didn't say that at the first trial was because she didn't want to be involved. The judge made a point of telling the jury about how much her evidence had changed over time.
I seem to remember reading somewhere that she had asked David not to come up to her balcony because it made her dog bark, but I can't find a reference to that.

Karam writes "At the retrial Dempster described this wound as having occurred between the time of Robin Bain's death and 12 hours before. This assessment was put to to the other Crown pathologist Dr Thomson who agreed with Dr Dempster.So here we have two Crown pathologists giving evidence at the retrial that Robin Bain suffered a significant injury on the fist of his right hand ,after nightfall,between about 6.30pm on the Sunday night and his death on the Monday morning"
Now I could say this was a complete fabrication.But I will give Karam the benefit of the doubt and just say that he was confused by some clever cross-examination by Michael Reed.
Here is how that cross-examination played out.
In answer to a question by Reed about that injury Dempster replied "I can't exclude that it is a recent injury.Determining the age of injuries either by examination with the naked eye or microscopic examination is quite difficult. I would accept that it and the surrounding bruise are relatively recent ,within the last hour or the last 24 hours.
Then Reed put it to Dempster that to be reasonably accurate with abrasions and bruises you need to do a histology to which Dempster replied "Well,that's debated".
Dempster was then asked if even with histology we probably can't tell whether it is within a few minutes or 12 hours,we just don't know,to which Dempster replied "That's correct".
And that is where that reference to 12 hours came in. Dempster was agreeing with Reed that even with a histology it would not be possible to tell if that bruise had occurred within a few minutes or 12 hours. But as he had already said  he accepted that it was between one hour or 24 hours old. Karam was confused by Reed's cross-examination.
When Reed cross-examined Dr Thomson,the second of the two pathologists that Karam mentioned he said
"Dr Dempster was asked if even with histology we probably can't tell whether it is within a few minutes or 12 hours ,we just don't know,and his answer was 'That's correct'.Would you agree with that?"
To which Thomson replied  "I would agree that within the last 12 hours you really can't be precise".
So Thomson did not say that abrasion had occurred in the last 12 hours. All he said was "within the last 12 hours you can't be precise".
So Karam got that completely wrong. And he also made mention to that 12 hours in his debate with Michael Laws.
Justice Binnie will have read the retrial transcript,and he will also have read Karam's book. I am sure if a layman like myself can pick up that error he most certainly will. Specially as he is being paid $450 an hour.



Mike I believe Joe Karam really has little confidence in the stance he has taken these days. I have no doubt that these days he is just trying to make the best out of a bad situation and is in damage control mode, I believe he knows in his heart that he should have called it quits with defending David Bain years ago, the reason I say this is because it is clear to me that he is not confident about David's innocence why else would he say on public radio in 2010 when debating with Michael Laws that [Karam quote] David Bain did faint, when he fainted he crashed down between, and banged his head, the officer Andrews who was with David when David fainted and crashed down behind the bed saw David crash down behind the bed and it was the constable Andrews who gave this evidence about him crashing down and banging his head on the wall by the window sill in his bedroom on the right side of his face, now that's the evidence in the trial. [End Quote] When clearly we know, and he certainly should know that this is total misinformation, proven as shown in the newspapers and as documented in the court transcripts where the officer Andrews says nothing of the sort in fact when asked if he observed Bain hitting his head or any part of his body Constable Andrews emphatically said "no I didn't".



Karam mentions the washing machine cycle. When the washing machine cycles were tested the normal cycle was tested twice .One test took 59m54s and the other took 61m11s. The special cycle took between 61m and 62m. The washing machine serviceman said he would expect a machine to fill in 5-7m whereas the Bain machine took 14-15m. He suspected the longer time was due to corrosion in the pipes between the washing machine and the street connection.
Karam does not mention this. Nor does he mention that David Bain ,when he was being cross-examined at the first trial said that he set the machine at the start of the super wash cycle,which he confirmed was a full cycle and that it took between 3/4 to an hour to complete. Karam ignores that. He says that the whole cycle could have been completed in 36 minutes. Wouldn't David Bain ,who did the washing most days,have a much better idea how long the cycle took than Karam?
It is the same with the time it took for Bain to walk from Heath Street to home. Bain said it would have taken him 2/3 minutes yet Karam said it could have taken him 6 minutes or more. Wouldn't Bain,who walked that walk six times a week,have a better idea how long it would have taken him than Karam?

Karam is writing about those bloody gloves that were found in Stephen's room. He says the Crown advanced the argument that because they were David's gloves he must have been the wearer of them. He says that is no more than speculation.
He says that an impartial observer might think ,that if David Bain planned the killings,as alleged,he might have worn his father's gloves,rather than his own,if he was on a premeditated course to implicate his father.
But would an impartial observer had even known that any gloves were worn if everything had gone to plan.? If after David had murdered his family  those gloves were still in pristine condition wouldn't he have just returned them to the draw from whence they came?
I think it would be fair to say that once those gloves became part of the evidence an impartial observer would wonder why Robin Bain would bother to wear gloves if he was going to commit suicide.

Karam writes "What can be said with a degree of certainty is that whoever is responsible for killing those four members of the family was wearing the green V-neck jersey that was found in the washing machine. That green jersey got blood on the right arm or shoulder region during the shooting of Stephen".
I agree about the killer wearing that jersey because fibres from it were found under Stephen's fingernails. But I can't remember any blood being found on that jersey. Perhaps someone else who has seen evidence of blood being found on the right arm or shoulder region of that jersey would care to enlighten me.

Karam writes" we can say with certainty that the killer must have at some stage removed at least his socks and the green jersey".
Obviously the killer removed that green jersey. And I believe he also removed his socks,or at least one sock. There was enough blood on the sole of one sock to leave footprints. The killer must have removed that sock,at least. One of the socks David Bain was wearing had a couple of spots of Stephen's blood on it ,but that couldn't have been the sock that left those bloody prints. So either that sock was one of the five socks in the wash or it was disposed of elsewhere.

Karam writes "There was no blood on the insides of the running shoes David wore that morning".
No-one knows for sure what pair of running shoes David Bain wore that morning. There were two pairs of running shoes in his room. One was a pair of Lasers,which he said he wore,the other was an odd pair. The odd pair were found in front of the wardrobe.The Lasers were found in front of a set of drawers. Bain said he took his shoes off in front of the cupboard.

Well I've reached the position with this that Karam is a bullshit artist.  He has run a totally dishonest campaign.  He has made no attempt to be objective and he has vigorously distorted every fact he can find in an attempt to create a picture that exonerates David Bain.  Pure and simple.  I'm sick of beating round the bush.  There is no logic in Karam's argument.  No training or discipline, just grasping at straws.  It's pathetic.

Karam is writing about that wound to Robin Bain's head that Dr Dempster said was a contact wound. He said that Dempster volunteered at the retrial that contact wounds to the front of the head are almost exclusively determinative of suicide. But the front of the head is known as the forehead,the part of the face between the eyebrows ,the normal hairline and the temples. Robin Bain was shot in the left temple.

Karam is writing about that injury on Robin Bain's hand again. He says "It will be recalled that for the retrial he produced a photo from his own collection of a wound on the back of Robin Bain's right hand. He aged this injury as happening between just minutes before death up to a maximum of 12 hours. At the first trial he said all the injuries to Robin Bain's hands were at least 24 hours old".
But as I have already explained Dempster did not age that injury as happening just minutes before death up to a maximum of 12 hours. He said he would accept that it was within the last hour or the last 24 hours.
And one has to remember that when Dempster aged that injury at the first trial he was going by what he actually saw. At the retrial he was looking at a photo. And who was it said "The experts all agree that looking at photos is fraught with danger" ?. None other than Joe Karam in that debate with Michael Laws.

near contact and contact wounds to the front of the head make up less than 5% of longrifle suicides and have a very high failusre rate, the frontal lob of the brain can suffer quite severe harm with out resulting in death. front of head often have entry and exit wounds as do temple wounds because of the head naturally at the wrong angle to do fatal brain injury.

Mike you wrote

Karam is writing about that wound to Robin Bain's head that Dr Dempster said was a contact wound. He said that Dempster volunteered at the retrial that contact wounds to the front of the head are almost exclusively determinative of suicide. But the front of the head is known as the forehead,the part of the face between the eyebrows ,the normal hairline and the temples. Robin Bain was shot in the left temple.

The statement is probably technically correct  but the addition of  the word failed in the phrase ''front of the head are almost exclusively determinative of [failed] suicide''  This change would make the statement more factually correct.

Karam is writing about those glasses that he won't accept that David Bain had been wearing.
"The Crown's theory is that those glasses were knocked off and then trampled on or otherwise subjected to pressure causing the lens to fall out and the metal frame to be severly twisted on one side. Sanderson said that would take quite some force.yet not a skerrick of blood or anything else was found on those glasses.
Then,with his hands saturated in his brother's blood after taking off his gloves,David is supposed to have taken the frame back to his room .Apart from the obvious question of why he would do this,how come there is no blood or hairs or anything on them? Did he pick them up with tweezers,which have never been found?"

Karam is assuming that David Bain picked up that frame when his hands were saturated with blood. Isn't it much more likely that he would have left the frame where it was until after he had completed his killing spree ? He quite possibly picked that frame and lens up after he arrived home from his paper round. After all he did have 20 minutes he couldn't account for. And why would there necessarily have to be any blood or hairs on that frame or lens? Karam asks the question as to why David Bain would have taken that frame and lens back to his room. Who knows why he did that?. But he could hardly have left them in Stephen's room,because at some point the police would have found out that he wore those glasses when his were unavailable. As for those tweezers,now there's an idea. Karam said those tweezers have never been found. I am sure there were some tweezers in the house. But that mention of tweezers is just a red herring. When David Bain picked that frame and lens up he would have clean hands,because he had washed them.
Karam cannot understand why that frame and those lenses had no blood on them. So I guess he is also puzzled as to why Robin's Bain's watch had no blood on it,seeing as he is so sure that Robin Bain probably had Stephen's blood on his hands.

Karam is writing about those bruises on David Bain's head. Interestingly enough he doesn't claim that Constable Andrew saw Bain hit his head as he did in that debate with Michael Laws.  He now says " Andrew admitted at the retrial that he would not have noticed if David's body had contacted something as he was pulling him round the foot of the bed into the recovery position ".
Then he goes on to say that bruise on Bain's head was not noticed until 8.47,when Bain complained of having a sore head,and Constable Van Turnhout had a close look at his head.
Well,it's not surprising that bruise wasn't noticed earlier. Karam has already mentioned that the lighting was so poor in that room that a constable thought the light was off,and turned the switch off when he thought he was turning it on.
Karam is correct in saying that Constable Andrew  said he would not have noticed if David Bain's body had contacted anything.
Under re-examination he was asked "It was put to you that David was wedged between the wall and the bed.Was he wedged?
Answer. "No,he came out quite easily,I didn't have to yank him,I just lifted him slightly."
Q. Did you observe any part of his body bang against anything?
A. No.
Q. Would you have noticed had there been such contact?
A. To be honest,no.

Karam says that part of the Crown case was that David Bain shot his father from close range [a contact wound to the temple] without the benefit of glasses even though he couldn't see clearly beyond 30cm. And yet Karam seems to have no problem with David Bain driving the car when he couldn't see clearly beyond 30cm.

I havn't been able to find any reference to that family meeting that David insisted Laniet attend. It would appear Karam has put that in the too hard basket. Joanne Dryden,Marcella Nader-Turner and Kelly Gillan all gave evidence that Laniet had told them that David wanted her to go home the Sunday night prior to the murders to attend a family meeting that he had called,but not one of those witnesses rates a mention in Trial by Ambush,so far as I can see.

That's the great thing about a fantasy story Mike you can leave out the awkward bits twist and smudge other bits and speak with forked tongue about all the other bits Karam is ideally suited for this sort of fantasy story telling.

There is no doubt Karam has left out some of the awkward bits. And saying that two crown witnesses said that bruise on Robin Bain's hand was no more than 12 hours old is a clear misreading of the facts. Whether it is a misrepresentation of the facts one cannot say for sure,but I would have thought Karam would have had understood how Reed managed to bring that reference to 12 hours into his cross-examination.and why he did it.
And you have to admire how Karam sidestepped Janis Clark's testimony re those glasses. He is saying her memory might not be too good after five years. But he doesn't know whether or not she and her husband discussed those glasses on the day she heard David Bain lying on oath about not wearing them. I understand she attended much of the retrial. I would very much like to know if she was there that day. I believe she was,and the reason she came forward five years later was because she had heard there was going to be a Court of Appeal hearing. And of course Karam would know that David Bain told Mike Guest that he would be admitting to wearing those glasses during the weekend prior to the murders. So,even though he knew that,he still suggests Jan Clark's memory might be at fault.
Then we have Karam's numerous references to a strip-search that he says Dr Pryde carries out. From what I have read in his book all I can see is that Dr Pryde noted on a diagram that David Bain had bruises on his head, a piece of skin off his knee ,and a tattoo on his bicep. Now Pryde could have seen all those things without having David Bain remove the  T-shirt he was wearing.
Dr Pryde never said he strip-searched Bain. The only person who said he he strip-searched Bain was a prison officer,and that was after Bain was arrested.
Overall I found Karam's book quite interesting. I thought it was a much better effort than David and Goliath.Anyone who has read it and who wasn't aware of all the evidence against David Bain could quite well believe Robin Bain committed suicide.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


The reference you make is one Justice Binnie is well qualified to spot and correct in his own mind. It will be interesting to see if Weir and Doyle do speak to the Justice . . . And what they say


I believe that both Weir and Doyle are morally obliged to speak to Binnie,even if they can't actually be compelled to speak to him. I hope that Weir will suggest to Binnie that he reads a copy of his book,or at least the manuscript,if no copy has actually been printed.

I have always been puzzled as to how David Bain managed to get that sweatshirt he was wearing into the washing machine while it was still going. It is more or less accepted that he left home at around 5.45. If he arrived home at around 6.42,which is when I believe he did, surely the washing machine would have stopped by then?.
Of course no-one knows for sure that he was wearing that sweatshirt on his paper round. One witness who saw him said he thought he was wearing an anorak. Another witness said he was wearing a black or navy blue sweatshirt with a hood and  that the hood was up. The third witness who mentioned what he was wearing said she thought he was wearing a light coloured top.
David Bain's reason for putting that sweatshirt in the wash that morning was because he had been wearing it for a week and that it had become sweaty. Well, it would have become sweaty,alright. By rights he should have washed it a few days earlier. I wonder why he didn't wash it on the Friday,when he said he was wearing his anorak? Or even on the Sunday,when he didn't need it for his paper round. I really do wonder if he actually wore that sweatshirt that morning. By the same token he would have had to have been pretty clever to have said he put it in the washing machine just to make it look as if he did the washing when he returned home. But he was pretty clever,we know that.

I find it interesting that Binnie wants to interview these two at all.  I would have thought that reviewing the evidence would consist of just that, reviewing the evidence.  Neither Milton nor Doyle are parts of the evidence.  They are simply mediators of the evidence.  This suggests that Binnie is investigating past the evidence itself into the murky political world of how it was interpreted by various parties.  Hence he has read JK's books. 

No doubt Binnie has been asked to determine innocence or not on balance of probabilities but he has also probably been given some flexibility with respect to jurisdiction.  In other words it is possible he is equipping himself to write a much broader analysis of the Bain trial process, than just the question of balance of probabilities.  I've had a brief glimpse at Binnie's CV and he looks like the kind of person to take it upon himself to delve deeper and to provide judgments with far wider implications than expected. 

I like to think I am a logical rational thinker but of course its not up to me to make judgments about that, having said that my view about the chances of David Bain getting compensation are simply to say that he has no chance whatsoever of gaining compensation, there are to reasons why he should never get compensation firstly ‘because of the mountain of good evidence against him, but far more importantly the simply impossible task of finding on the balance of probabilities that Robin was the killer, that's it end of story it cant be done, the only smidgen of a chance for David Bain is if logic and rational thinking is not used by the $450 an hour man.

Like you Mike I believe there is a moral obligation but also I think both will take the opportunity to set a few matters straight as they see them. For Weir there will be an opportunity to reply to the claims made without foundation in the first book when the change from truth to honest oppinion was made. Doyle apart from the lawsuit I cannot see what he done wrong.

The decision to arrest was not a police alone decision, there was heavy involvement by Bill Wright and he had to believe there was evidence he could legitmately place before a jury that was compelling. That part of the  equation seems to be overlooked in all that I have read and hearc and he was involved from Day one.

David Bain was seen at Heath Street just before 6.40am. He looked at his watch a few seconds later and it read 6.40am exactly,according to him,and he never said his watch was inaccurate. He said it would have taken him 2/3 minutes to get home from where he looked at his watch and nobody would know that better than him. A policeman walked the distance twice and it took him 2m15s and 2m16s. A Dunedinite was asked to walk that walk and it took him 2m20s,and that was from Heath Street. Others have walked that walk in well under 3 minutes. I wouldn't be surprised if Karam has walked that walk in well under 3 minutes. So Bain should have been home just after 6.42.
Denise Laney saw him at his gate at 6.50 by her car clock ,which she said was about 5 minutes fast. The police checked her car clock the following week and it was 5 minutes fast.
So it would appear that Denise Laney saw Bain at around 6.45.
Why was there about a 3 minute difference between when Bain should have been home,and in fact said he would have been home,and when Denise Laney said she saw him? 
I am aware that Denise Laney now says that no-one should rely on her time. But I reckon that is because she doesn't want to be the one person who can possibly give Bain an alibi.
I am also aware that it has never been proved what time the computer was turned on. But I would still like to know why there was around a 3 minute time difference. I know Karam reckons it was caused by a fattish unfit dog that wanted to stop at every lamp post,but Kaycee the dog was neither fat nor unfit,and David Bain never said the dog slowed him down.

I will be rather suprized if Weir does not speak to Binnie the reason I say this is because he has nothing to fear, all he has to do is tell the truth in regards to the glasses etc, Bain on the other hand will be forced to lie once again to try this tme to get some blood money.

Karam is writing about the green towel.
"Exhibit 520: The green towel.
This towel in the laundry was said to be heavily bloodstained. This was put to David on the day of his arrest as an incriminating piece of evidence against him. DNA testing was carried out in 2003 and it was found that blood contained Robin Bain's DNA. It is no wonder David could not provide an explanation."
 Well,if David Bain cannot provide an explanation then who can?  Apart from the gunshot wound there were no other wounds of any note on Robin. Robin could not have wiped blood off himself after he was shot. So the only person that could have put his blood on that towel was David. I agree with Karam. No wonder David could not provide an explanation.

Karam is writing about those bloody footprints. He says that in 1997 the defence decided to measure David Bain's feet and they were found to be 300mm in length.

ESR scientist Peter Hentschel said at trial that he had measured both Robin and David Bain's socks and the inside of their shoes and the measurements were 240mm and 275mm respectively for Robin and 270mm and 304mm for David. So you have a 35mm difference between sock size and inside shoe size for Robin,and a 34mm difference for David.
A man's foot can continue growing until they are 25,so it is possible that David Bain's feet were a few millimetres longer in 1997 than they were in 1994,at age 22.


Mike it is rather incredulous that Karam says that green towel was heavily blood stained and that Robins DNA was in the blood off it, he may as well say David killed Robin because as you say Robin had no injuries apart from the ones inflicted by the one who deserved to stay.
I knew about the green towel and that Robins blood was on it but I did not know it was heavily bloodstained.


Sorry,Bill,Karam actually wrote "The towel from the laundry was SAID TO BE heavily bloodstained". I have edited that post. But it would appear that Karam must have read that somewhere,otherwise why would he have written that?

I dare say Robin did have a bit of blood on his hands from the spouting and roofing from Sunday and may well have done what I often do and wipe blood off my hand with a dry cloth or towel when he finished the night before That the blood was Robins exculpates him not inculpate him unless of course he wiped his hands after he shot himself and before he hit the floor. but that does not explain his lack of Stevens blood on him or that he still had rust and dust under his fingernails. Thinking is fine but the thinking has to include ALL possibilies even those most unlikely. That is one of the major issues that have to be addressed in forensics, its often total lack of scientific method, the tests are assumed to be correct when in facts when subjected to the rigors of scientific scrutiny the assumption is fount to be wrong. Microscopic hair comparisons is one so called science found to be fatally flawed when experts were tested and were unable to match hairs from the same head  and some failed to even match the same hair cut in half!! Race and area of body can be distinguished with almost 100% certainty



cross-examination: MR REED 

Q. Just one quick question to start please Mr Croudis. In these questions and answers you’ve just referred to, there’s one question that you put there where you said, “There’s blood on a large towel hanging in the bathroom, a considerable amount of blood. How did that get there, David?” Do you remember that question? A. Yes I do. Q. And he answered, “I don’t know.” A. That’s correct. Q. We do know now though, don’t we, that the blood that was analysed on that towel was in fact Robin Bain’s blood? A. Yes, I believe so. Q. That’s exhibit 520. And the problem we had, which I know you’ve acknowledged in the past, is that when you asked these questions you didn’t have any forensic results in by then, did you? A. I had preliminary examinations from Mr Hentschel and Mr Jones. Q. Yes. A. But not full forensic reports. Q. And like this one of the towel, you had no idea his blood was on it did you? A. Absolutely not. Q. But when you asked him, “How did it get there?”, he said, “He didn’t know”, as it turns out, of course, he couldn’t know because it wasn’t his blood. A. Well that’s not essentially correct. He may still have known. Q. But – A. That was his answer. 



Read says  

 as it turns out, of course, he couldn’t know because it wasn’t his blood. I say what an absolute load of rubbish, because if David did kill his family "which the evidence certainly suggests" he would have known whose blood was on that towel and Robin certainly did not have any injuries that could account for the considerable amount of blood on the towel as mentioned by Read.


Linz,Robin Bain had only some very minor abrasions on his hands. There would not have been enough blood coming from those abrasions to leave a large amount on that towel. But you do wonder how that blood got on to that towel. If David Bain got his father's blood on his hands wouldn't he have just washed them? Why would he wipe them on that towel first?

Bill,if you really do want to read Trial by Ambush you might be able to pick up a copy off the shelf at the local library which is what I did.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Karam writes " Doyle confirmed in his evidence that Dr Pryde strip- searched David". No he didn't.
This is what he said when he was being cross-examined.
Doyle. The tests are required by a doctor ,he has a procedure which is an agreed procedure,he follows that procedure.
Q. In a homicide that includes strip-searching,swabs of intimate body parts.
A, There are a number of tests,all of those are included.
Q. All of those are done?
A. Yes.
Q. You could've politely asked to test his arms and hands [for GSR].
A.Well, as he was not considered to be a suspect there would be no reason to take that test.

So Doyle did not confirm that David Bain was strip-searched. He couldn't ,anyway,because he wasn't in the room when Dr Pryde carried out his examination. 


According to an ESR scientist there was extensive bloodstaining on both sides of that green towel,some of which tested positive for Robin Bain's DNA.

Also,there was no blood detected on that green jersey,which is contrary to what Karam wrote on p255. "That green jersey got blood on the right arm or shoulder region during the shooting of Stephen" he wrote. I wonder how he knew that?
And I find it strange that Karam has a photo showing only one bloodstained glove. One would think that if Robin Bain's left hand had blood on it  from wearing a bloody glove,then surely his right hand would have had blood on it also from wearing an equally bloody glove. Or did he somehow manage to wash his right hand better than his left hand ? 

Thanks,Bill,I don't remember seeing that particular photo showing the paper bag. There is a photo in David and Goliath that shows the wardrobe door open and the trigger lock with the key in it. That odd pair of shoes is not the pair that David Bain said he was wearing,though he did say he took his shoes off in front of the cupboard. I can't see any light switch or cord. I cannot believe Bain did not switch his light on. There is such a mess he surely would have stumbled over something if he hadn't.
Talking about that odd pair of shoes,I wonder what the story is there. I mean who wears an odd pair of shoes?

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Karam is writing about Daryl Young.
"He [Young] said that Robin Bain came out of the back of the van completely naked with just a towel wrapped round him. The reference to 'back of the van ' is not the actual back door,but the sliding door in the rear section of the van as opposed to either the passenger or the driver's door".

Nice try,Joe,but no cigar. First of all you are not completely naked if you have a towel wrapped round you. Young said "Robin Bain came out of the back of the van and he was wearing a towel".  He did not say he was completely naked with just a towel wrapped round him.
Young also said "I thought I would just knock on one of the back doors to see if anyone was there ,so I knocked on the back door".
Q.What happened next?
A. The door opened and Robin Bain came out of the back of the van and he was wearing a towel.
Young never mentioned a sliding door. He said the back door. He said one of the back doors,which means he knocked on one of the two back doors. Not one of the two sliding doors. He said Robin Bain came out of the back of the van,not the side of the van.
Gee whiz,if I didn't know better,I would say that is a classic Karam fudge.

Karam is writing about Robin Bain making preparations. He writes
"The review of the research literature found that many men who commit familicide/suicide make preparations. Cancelling appointments,etc."
He mentions a relief teacher,a meter reader and a dairy owner. But he doesn't mention that Robin Bain phoned Ingrid Dunckley on June 17 1994 and arranged to bring her collated information about his pupils on the morning of June 20.
Another point. The defence have always maintained that Robin Bain killed four members of his family and then committed suicide after Laniet came home that weekend and told her family that he had been molesting her. So why on earth would he have been making any "arrangements" prior to that? Was he psychic?

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Mike I think the reason David said that he did not turn on the light is because if he did turn on the light he would not have had an excuse for not seeing the trigger lock etc which of course would mean he would not have been able to say he went and did the washing, its only after the washing he says he came back saw the bullits and triger lock on the floor and went to his Mothers room.

I agree,Bill. I am sure he turned his light on. He did not do the washing when he came home,but he had to say he did,so he had to say he didn't turn his light on,because if he did turn his light on he would have seen the trigger lock and bullets and he wouldn't have done the washing. Of course he didn't need to "see" the trigger lock,etc,seeing as he put them there in the first place.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


It's a trick of the light making them look different  just as police told the few who saw the photo of Scott Watson on NYE1997 clean shaven and short hair it was the flashlight on the camera that blew his hair and 2-3 days growth off.  Perhaps he did wear odd shoes when getting ready for his run and in a hurry after the happenings took longer than anticipated.


You could be right,Linz. David would want to get out of the house as quickly as he could so as to be back early. His room was pretty messy,maybe he just grabbed the first two shoes he could find.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


And Mike the reason they found no blood inside those shoes is because David had put on new socks after puting the other pair of bloody sports socks in the wash, then when he got back he got blood also on the new socks probably when trying to find that missing lens in Stephens room.

Bill,there was blood in and on those shoes. Forensic examinations in April 1995 identified blood on the laces of the left shoe and heavy bloodstaining was visible on the inner edge of the big toe area of the right shoe,possibly consistent with the wearer bleeding from the foot/big toe. Light bloodstaining was also visible back to the area beneath the end of the lace holes. But there wasn't enough blood for grouping purposes. The Crown asked Mike Guest to allow that evidence to be presented at the trial but he refused on the basis that he did not have time to prepare for it.
Because they were not part of the Crown case those shoes were destroyed and are no longer available for re-examination using today's advanced techniques.
When interviewed David Bain said he wore his new Laser running shoes on his paper round that morning. At the original interview he said he usually took his shoes off by the door in front of the cupboard. The odd shoes were the ones just inside the door whereas the Lasers were found next to the bed some distance from the door.
You are probably right about those socks. I don't know why that scientist originally said that blood could have gotten on to one of those socks he was wearing from above. As if he somehow ended up on his back when fighting with Stephen. That makes no sense to me. At the retrial he accepted that those bloodspots could have gotten there by David walking in blood. And he may have walked in that blood while searching for that missing lens that fell out of those glasses he told his aunt[and lawyer] that he had been wearing.
Those sports socks in the wash could have been the ones he had on in his struggle with Stephen. But I am wondering if he disposed of that bloodiest sock on his paper round,and that was the reason why there was a fifth sock in the wash. That could have been the other sock he was wearing.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale



Karam is writing about David Bain's fingerprints on the rifle.
He says "The main point of his [Kim Jones's ]evidence came right at the end when he stated 'When I first examined the rifle on 21 June 1994 I was alerted to the fact that they were prints in blood by the mere fact that they were red in colour ,the red pigment,and that alerted me to the fact that they were bloody fingerprints'".
Kim Jones also said that when he carried out a visual examination of the rifle in room light in the laboratory on 21 June 1994,he located four fingerprints on that rifle. He said that they were visible as red pigment and that they appeared to be in blood.

Karam says that Jan Clark's recollection of that conversation she had with David on the Tuesday morning after the murders,when she said he mentioned that he was wearing a pair of his mother's glasses while his were being repaired after he had damaged them on the previous Thursday could be wrong because it wasn't until five years afterwards that she came forward.
But he doesn't say that Daryl Youngs recollection of seeing Robin Bain coming out of the back door of his van wearing only a towel could be wrong,and Young did not come forward until around 15 years later.

Karam writes"His[David Bain's'] hands were black with printer's ink". In that photo that shows the ODT on the hall table the paper looks to be in pristine condition. No sign of any smudges. So one would think that David Bain did not bring it in.He did say he couldn't remember bringing it in,and he also said his memory was good up until he saw his mother.
So that means Robin Bain probably brought the paper in. We don't know when he brought it in,but bit does seem very strange that he would bother to bring it in at all if he was going to commit suicide.
David Bain said his father brought the paper in at around 7am if he [David] walked the paper run. This statement in itself is a bit of a puzzle. How would Robin Bain know whether David walked the paper run or not? Perhaps he always went down to the gate,when he was at home[Saturday,Monday and Tuesday mornings] just to see if the paper was there.
But why would he do that? Even when he walked the paper round David appears to have arrived home shortly after seven. So why would his father go down and pick it up? He wasn't going to read it until after he said his prayers. But maybe he didn't say his prayers every morning. Maybe he read the paper instead on the days he was home. Maybe he went down and picked up the paper that morning and came back into the house,saw the light on in the lounge and went in,wondering why the light was on if David had arrived home. David then confronted him. Maybe David wasn't hiding behind the alcove curtain.Maybe that bullet casing just happened to go between the gap in the alcove curtains. Maybe Robin Bain was standing when he was shot,as an ESR scientist suggested ,as well as the defence. I realise that's a lot of maybe's ,but whose to say that isn't more or less what happened.


Mike it does say on the Brian Bruce doco that David said he did not bring in the paper presuming BB has that right it means for sure Robin brought it in, which in itself says he is not the killer never mind all the other much more compelling stuff.

Mike I will take BB word for it so its up to you to prove him wrong.  BB stated on the doco that it was in police statements that David said he did not bring in the paper. And in mask of sanity it says that it was Robins routine to bring in the morning paper.

According to Rosemary McLeod,in her piece called "Joe Karam's Magnificent Obsession" she asks the question "What would it have taken for Robin Bain to have committed the killings?".
Amongst other things she says he would have "First brought the newspaper inside[David does not remember whether he did]".
So I will bet my money on Rosemary McLeod . With all due respect to Bryan Bruce I think McLeod's research would have been better than his. Up to you to prove her wrong,Bill.

What we have to remember is that we don't know who usually brought the paper in. Like so many other things we are only going by what David Bain has said,and we know he lies. On top of that we are only talking about who brought the paper in on the mornings that Robin Bain was home. I believe we have to accept that David Bain would have brought the paper in on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Another point. If,as David said,his father brought the paper in when he walked the round,how would his father know whether David had walked his round or run it.?
And what are all those other papers doing on that table? If Robin brought the paper in at  around 7am,he would hardly have had time to read it before going to school. The police have said that Monday's paper didn't look as if it had been read, but how can anyone be sure of that?
I believe that Robin Bain did bring the paper in that morning. If he brought it in after David arrived home that means David left it in the box. Seems a rather strange thing to do. But I don't believe David brought it in. He never mentioned it. He said he took off his paperbag,his Walkman and shoes. He never mentioned putting the paper on the hall table.


Mike I don't know if Rosemary McLeod had access to court transcripts and statements but I do know that BB did, he investigates the whole case just as any police officer would do maybe even more thorough. Robin would have had time to read the paper because remember he was not going directly to school because he had that appointment in town at 9.30am. Then it also makes no sense for David to bring in the paper as he had other more pressing things on his mind whereas for Robin it was just another Monday, also on page 158 of Mask of Sanity McNeish says "He Knew dads routine-that he would go to the gate, collect his newspaper, bring it back. So more confirmation there from McNeish that that was Robins habit also I believe Barbera Neasmith also said that Robin would collect the newspaper then sit on the bean bag and pray with his hands on his head.


Maybe Milton Weir told Rosemary McLeod that Bain said he coudn't remember bringing the paper in. She spent some time interviewing Weir. And while I don't take too much notice of what Karam says,he confirms what McLeod said.
Where did you read that Robin Bain had an appointment at 9.30am that Monday morning? From what I have read no time was stated.
It was the Crown prosecutor who said David Bain knew his father's routine,but he was only guessing as to what that routine was. The only living person who knew Robin's routine was David. And all he has said,according to "Trial by Ambush" was that his father picked up the paper when he "walked" the paper round.
And I can't remember Barbara Neasmith ever mentioning the paper. She did say that Robin Bain came in from the caravan and went up the front steps and into the lounge to pray [Mask of Sanity p74]. So she had him coming in the back door. She didn't say he collected the paper.
The way I see it is that the Crown wanted to make out that Robin collected the paper because that would make it much more unlikely that he would have committed suicide. Karam, of course would rather have David picking up the paper,for the same reason. He doesn't want Robin picking it up.
As I have already said,I believe Robin Bain did pick up the paper that morning,but when did he pick it up? If it was still in the box when David arrived home why didn't he bring it in?

Mike you are right there was not a time arranged for 9.30 with Ingrid Dunkley my mistake, but if Robin did come in at 7am he certainly had time to read the paper as he did not have to be at school early because of that appointment in town. You say [ If it was still in the box when David arrived home why didn't he bring it in?] Why the heck would he Mike?? the last thing David would be thinking about is bringing in the "newspaper". As far as I am concerned Brian Bruce has investigated this case for years has also made 2 documentaries and he states categorically that David said in his statement to the police that he did not bring in that paper also McNeish has investigated this case in great detail even more thorough than Karam he also states it was Robins routine so I will back what Brian Bruce says about those police statements what more can I do. Unfortunately the complete police statements made by David Bain were not made available at the trial in 2009 so all we can go by is top investigator Brian Bruce.

Bill,how do we know that Robin Bain wasn't going to go to school first and then coming back into town?  However one would think he would have gone in to see Ingred Dunckley before going to school to save himself another trip.
And yes,he would have had time to read the paper that morning,if he wasn't going to school first,but what about those other times that he brought it in?
So far as McNeish is concerned,he was only writing about what Wright said in his summing up. He didn't know what Robin Bain's routine was. How could he know? Only the family would know. Plus Barbara Neasmith,but she never mentioned the paper.
I believe one of our members has contacted Bryan Bruce in the past,so I will check to see if he is prepared to contact him again. That is the only way we will find out for sure if David Bain actually said he didn't bring the paper in.
You say the last thing David Bain would be thinking about is bringing the paper in. I say what's to think about? If he usually brought it in if it was still in the box it would be an automatic thing to do,regardless of his state of mind.
After all he delivered all his papers ok,even though he had more things on his mind.
However,I do not believe he brought the paper in that morning. And if he was in the habit of bringing it in when it was still in the box why didn't he bring it in that morning?

Mike its good to debate these evidence items because it keeps us on our toes, as far as I am concerned getting as close to the truth of the matter is paramount. You say [So far as McNeish is concerned,he was only writing about what Wright said in his summing up.] well if Wright also said Robin brought in the paper that is further evidence saying he did, but I agree asking BB whether he has made a mistake by saying that David said in the police statements that he did not bring in that paper may be the only way to confirm.


Yes,Bill,debate keeps us on our toes.
I decided to have another look at what Karam wrote. You will be pleased that I did.
DS Dunne questioning David Bain on 21 June.
Q. When you came home did you bring the paper with you.
A. No.
Q. Is one delivered ?
A. Yes,it is delivered by Kieran Garbutt. He's usually past our gate at quarter to six.
Q. Did you take that paper inside on Monday from the letterbox?
A.. No ,I didn't. I havn't thought about it till now .I normally would take it in but sometimes ,if I walk my run,Dad may get it at 7am.
Q. Do you remember if the paper was in the letterbox?
A . No I don't.
So there you have it. Bryan Bruce was spot on.
Karam goes on to say that "we will never know for certain who brought in the newspaper,but personally I don't discount the likelihood that David himself brought it in as he usually did,and simply and understandably had no recall of doing so in the aftermath of what happened next".
But of course Karam would say that.
If Robin Bain brought the paper in then it doesn't look good for David Bain.
I don't believe David Bain did bring the paper in. I am starting to think it was still in the box when he came home. It might have been part of the plan. Perhaps Robin Bain had some way of working out if David was home or not. Maybe if there were some lights on in the house. If he didn't see any lights on then instead of going in the back door he continued on down to the letterbox and picked up the paper and then went in the front door. At 7am. When the dog started barking.


In reply to by Mike Stockdale


More debate Mike can you show me where David said he can't remember about bringing in the paper? and please don't tell me its in Karams book because as we all know he gets a lot of things wrong, and thats being ver polite, others would say he's full of bull.

Bill,I was checking that out before you sent your message. It took me a while to find the page. You will see I have now edited that post. I have just seen your latest message,so I don't need to answer it in any detail as my edited post tells you all that you need to know.

Thanks for that Mike, looks like we have settled another little evidence item, and its funny how all the little bits “not to mention the big bits” always look bad for David, he confirms twice in that statement that he did not bring in that newspaper which means he had other things on his mind, and the fact that Robin brought in that newspaper confirms to us that he was just being completely normal that morning bringing in that paper to read no doubt over a cup of tea after prayer. Why does it always look bad for David? [Answer] because he is the killer.

I have added these questions from Detective Dunne to the evidence item about the paper


There are some snippits in Trial by Ambush that make it worth reading. I am pretty sure no-one in our group knew exactly what David said about the newspaper,but now we do.
But even though David Bain said he didn't bring in the paper we still don't know what his father's normal practice was.
David said he usually brought the paper in but that sometimes his father would. So we can't say that it was Robin's normal practice to bring the paper in. And we don't even know if he prayed every morning.
But I agree that by not bringing the paper in David has some hard questions to answer. Why didn't he bring it in if it was his normal practice to bring it in if he ran his paper round,as we know he did that morning?
Why didn't he take it out of the letterbox? According to him his father only picked it up when he walked his paper round.
This is what I am thinking. Maybe Robin Bain had some way of knowing that David wasn't home before he entered the house. Maybe he knew he wasn't home because the laundry/kitchen lights weren't on. So instead of entering the house by the back door on those occasions he carried on down to the letterbox and picked up the paper,came back to the house and entered it by the front door,placed the paper on the hall table and then went into the lounge for a short prayer.
Or maybe he left the paper on the hall table,went down to the toilet,made himself a cup of tea and then brought it back into the lounge with him to drink while he was reading the paper. There might not have been any praying.
All David Bain would have to do that morning would be to make sure he didn't turn on any lights.Maybe,as he said, he didn't turn his bedroom light on when he arrived home. So his father would think he wasn't home and go down and pick up the paper. He puts the paper on the hall table after turning on the hall light and then is confronted by David,and that is why his bladder is full. He doesn't get the chance to go downstairs to the toilet which may have been his normal practice on the mornings he brought the paper in. On the mornings he didn't bring the paper in he probably came in the back door and went to the toilet before going upstairs.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Over the past 40 years, various collection techniques and analytical procedures have been developed and refined. Today, large numbers of samples can be examined quickly to help investigators answer these difficult questions.

 Degradation of GSR

Particles of GSR are very durable particles composed of heavy metals that originate from the ammunition components. The inorganic particles that are examined can last in a normal environment indefinitely. Although the actual particles do not degrade under normal conditions, they may not remain on the hands or clothing of a subject over time, because of the physical activity of the subject.   [I understand Robin was not very active after the the GSR was released]

 Transfer of GSR

When the firing pin of a firearm strikes the primer cap of the ammunition, a rapid high-temperature burning of the primer mix takes place. This event occurs in a fraction of a second and creates what we refer to as GSR, as well as other things. Particles are deposited on the hands, clothing, and surrounding areas on or near the shooter. The basic principle of trace and transfer evidence is the Locard Exchange Principle. This principle states that when two objects come in contact with one another, an exchange of material takes place.



David L. Exline and A. J. Schwoeble

CRC Press 2000

Print ISBN: 978-0-8493-0029-5

eBook ISBN: 978-1-4200-4257-3

I don't know why Reed asked Doyle that GSR question, because David Bain's hands were tested for GSR.
Doyle said that because Bain wasn't a suspect there was no reason for him to take that test.
Which just proves that Doyle did not know what tests Dr Pryde carried out. The same as he did not know if Bain was strip-searched or not.

That David had washed his hands was never in Question and I find the deversionary tactics of hand bagging ETC just so much hot air if the was GSR on Robins hands it was not going any where  hands in bags or not the residue is solid hard metalic that is for a very short time gaseous till it cools and reforms the metal it  was before becoming a gas in the heat of the propellent discharge. To catch it as a gas you'd have to be superman that the metalic compounds return to the solid state is evidenced by the need to clean the 'dust from the rifle barrel after firing a shot.

And you're point about Doyle is correct on Monday David was victim number 6 it was not until Wednesday at least that police becane to seconsider the initial assumption as preliminary results started to come in that things changed and Bill Wright the prosecutor would have been involved as it was he who had to take a case to Court not Police. 

The Arrest of Ewen MacDonald would have been made with input from the prosecutor. 

One thing did surprise me a little  was the statement by police that they could not drain the sewerage ponds. When I was in the fire servive we drained ponds at a freezing works using ejector pumps onto screens and back into new ponds. Ejector pomps have no moving parts consisting of a water jet through a venturi which causes suction in a solid hose in water and the atmospheric pressure pushs the foul water up to and through the venturi. Ejector pumps used to be standard equipment on a fire Appliance and were used to drain flooded basements and in Invercargil pump out Lake Hawkins where the air port is after flood water inundated it.The great advantage is the pumps have nothing to obstrct the flow of water and Gunk through them



Hentschel gave evidence that he tested a swab taken from David Bain's hands for GSR so I am not sure why Reed asked Doyle that question. As it happens Reed didn't get the answer he wanted.

Re the police draining those ponds. What they actually said is that the equipment they would have had to use to drain those ponds would have destroyed those boots if they were in one of those ponds.
And it was too dangerous to send divers in.

In reply to by Mike Stockdale


Yes I understood that about Divers it was just the pumping out I don't get as they are designed for exactly what the police required draining ponds etc where there is a danger something required being damaged. Then again maybe they are considered antiquated now and no longer carried on appliances.

We carried them as we had a major port in our coverage area and our most common use was pumping fishing boats and the very infrequent ship fires pumping bilges to maintain stability