Explanation of Extraordinary Circumstances

The meaning of extraordinary circumstances in the claim for compensation for wrongful imprisonment has been explained.  In David Bain's case, he is not even likely to pass the extraordinary circumstances test because his case has to fit with one of the following criteria:

  1. unequivocal innocence - cases in which it is demonstrable that the applicant was innocent beyond reasonable doubt, for example due to DNA evidence, strong alibi evidence.
  2. no such offence - the applicant has been convicted of an offence that does not exist in law
  3. serious wrongdoing by authorities - a judicial admission or official finding of serious misconduct in the investigation or prosecution of the case.  Examples might include bringing or continuing proceedings in bad faith, failing to take proper steps to investigate the possibility of innocence, the planting of evidence, or suborning perjury.

It must be noted that In New Zealand, there is no legal right to compensation for wrongful conviction and imprisonment.  Compensation may, however be paid, at the Government's discretion on an ex gratia basis in accordance with a framework agreed by Cabinet.  To receive compensation, claimants have to establish their innocence on the balance of probabilities.

The above has been supplied by Simon Power from the Ministry of Justice in the letter attached.  The final words in the letter are:

"I can assure you that a thorough assessment will be undertaken before Cabinet considers paying any compensation".

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