This page responds to Flaw No.5 from the pamphlet Innocent published in 2000 by Joe Karam
Karam insists that we have to identify a motive for David to have to killed his family. Since we have not identified a motive then he cannot possibly have done it. If you google the phrase "doesn't know why he killed" you will bring up dozens of examples of known killers who do not know why they killed. So Karam is wrong to think that David has to have a motive. Karam is not a forensic psychologist and is not trained in any area of social services so his understanding of human behaviour would have to be considered to be lacking.
On the basis of this lack of knowledge, Karam goes ahead and claims that if David Bain was the murderer he would not have told the police that it was he who put the washing on but rather said that it was already on when he arrived. No doubt David had a plan to commit a crime during his paper run, this was testified by Mark Buckley on Close Up following the retrial. In the execution of that plan David could have done a lot of things better in terms of not incriminating himself but he was obviously limited in his foresight, leading to a bungled attempt at establishing his innocence, a fact which led to him being incarcerated for 12 years.
Contrary to what Karam claims, David Bain was not a prosperous youth with a great future ahead of himself. Two years prior he failed every subject he took at University. This intellectual failure attests to the possibility that his mental functions were insufficient for him to carry out the perfect crime and he unwittingly incriminated himself over and over in the execution of his plan. Following University he had a year on the unemployment benefit. At age 22 he was living at home and his only means of income was the paper run, something which most young men stop doing when they are 15-16. His relationship with his family was strained, one witness testifying that he theatened family members with his gun and it seems obvious that he was having immense difficulty individuating from his family, going out into the world and becoming a self-sufficient and productive member of society.
Again contrary to Karam's claims Robin was not estranged from the family. He was living in Taeri because that was where he worked and it was far enough away to make it sensible only to come home at weekends.
Karam also claims that Robin was depressed. For someone to be diagnosed with depression they have to visit a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist. At no stage had Robin presented himself to any medical professional for psychological help and at the time he was working full time and indeed was the main income earner in the household. Sure he was a little untidy and there were no doubt stresses in his life, including his daughter, Laniet, and no doubt his son, David. Just prior to the murders David caused the following stresses in his parents' life:
- David had an argument with both his parents about the possibility of him moving out of 65 Every St. For someone as bound to his family and with so little self-sufficiency as David, the thought of moving out was, (to quote testimony of a witness) "out of the question". Imagine being a parent and faced with this from your 22 year old son!
- David took a motor cycle for a test run and did several thousand dollars of damage for which he was billed. He had no way of paying for it apart from asking his parents who may have refused to pay and suggested he get a full time job.
If Robin looked depressed to some people at the time then events happening in his family life could help explain it. The stress would be exacerbated by
- Having to commute so far to work and be separated from his family during the week.
- Being in the process of tearing down the old house, deciding on plans, materials, subcontractors and stresses of building a house.
The irony is that Robin's appearance of depression may have been partly caused by the very son who so much wants to implicate him for murder on the basis of hearsay allegations that he was depressed!
By far the worst part of Karam's Free David Campaign are his claims that Robin was in an incestuous relationship with Laniet. Karam screams these allegations to the world as if they are fixed doctrine in the bible. These claims have not been made by any reliable witnesses prepared to stand up and repeat what they said. Instead they were semi-coherent mumblings made early on by a witness (Dean Cottle) considered too unreliable for the first trial, that Karam has rewritten in bold and which have taken on a life of their own. Karam has since found some nameless dairy owner who has since moved on to reiterate these claims, and if Karam had his way every shadow behind every corner would be whispering out: "I heard Laniet say that she was in an incestuous relationship with her father".
If our law enabled dead people to sue for defamation then Karam would have been well and truly sued by now, in the same manner which he sued Women's Day and North and South over supposedly defamatory statements about himself. But our law doesn't, so Karam has been able to slander the reputation of a dead man who otherwise has left an unblemished record in society and served for most of his life in a selfless position as a teacher in a third world country.
Karam claims that Laniet told Dean Cottle this information the Friday before her death. In his intent focus on this hearsay evidence he fails to acknowledge that another more reliable witness testified that David Bain forcefully demanded that Laniet spend Sunday night at 65 Every St rather than at Taieri Beach which was where she normally stayed. He insisted that there was going to be a family meeting and her presence was required. As it turned out no such meeting took place and David's parents watched a movie. One has to consider the possibility that David Bain used the story of this meeting as a premise to make Laniet stay at Every St so that she could be there to fulfill his plans.
It is also relevant that David Bain did not make any testimony to support the possibility that his father was in an incestuous relationship with his daughter. His first lawyer once stated that David Bain indicated to him that it was unlikely to be true. This claim, then, is entirely of Karam's invention, in an effort to damage the image of the man whom he hoped to implicate as a mass murderer.
Karam claims that Robin was estranged from his wife and his family. While there were strains in their relationship that had been in place for a number of years, Robin and Margaret were in the process of having the house demolished and rebuilt together. If Robin was truly estranged why did he not spend all his time out at Taieri Beach? Why come into Dunedin on a regular basis? While it is true that he did sleep in a caravan parked outside, the plans for the new house included two master bedrooms beause Robin and Margaret's relationship required that they have their own private sleeping spaces. Since there were insufficient bedrooms in the house at 65 Every St, Robin slept in a caravan parked outside.
Karam's claims of Robin Bain's life falling apart are based on his interpretation of why Robin spent the week nights in Taieri Beach and why he slept in the caravan. They are opportunistic attempts at gathering evidence for his obsessive belief that David Bain is innocent.