Around and around I go. My head is so full of spin after the Laws-Karam debate that I fear it may be wrenched from my shoulders at any moment. A second listen to the debate has brought many issues to the fore for me: embellishments, exaggerations and misrepresentations overshadowed Karam’s lack of hard evidence. It’s easy to see how people get sucked into his vortex so easily... and once in, the centrifugal force traps them there forever.
Unlike one caller to the debate who had attended the trial several times, and whose remarks were rather scathingly dismissed by Karam, I attended the trial every day. Surely this makes me a more valid commentator. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the trial transcripts. I think any of the exaggerated points below that can be verified by other Counterspin members will help demonstrate Karam’s continued spin, and will provide further ammunition (so to speak) in Vic and Kent’s defence.
1. Karam’s most obvious misrepresentation was his repeated claim of “blood smeared all over” Robin’s hands. Karam repeatedly pushed the “blood” on Robin’s shoe and the “blood” and bruising on his hands, as definitive proof that he was the murderer. In the video of the debate Karam indicates with one hand swinging over and around the other that blood covered an entire hand and forearm of Robin Bain. This is a blatant lie, which Michael Laws called him on but let him continue to repeat ad nauseam. In fact:
a. The red substance was never tested, so Karam cannot conclusively claim it to be blood.
b. Robin’s hands were not “smeared all over” with anything. We all know from the photographs that these spots of “blood” were so insignificant that they’re almost pointless to discuss, particularly since all the actual blood on Robin’s clothing that was tested was his own. Even Karam himself refers in his closing statement to “discreet areas of blood staining and smearing” one minute, then returns to “blood all over his hands and under his fingernails”. He can’t have it both ways.
2. To explain the bruising on David’s face (which happened to be the same side as the missing glasses lens), Karam said Detective Andrew’s testimony was that David “crashed” down and “banged” his head. I don’t recall the detective saying any such thing. I believe the detective actually said David “fell backwards.” And as far as we know he was already in a sitting position in a very cramped space between the bed and the wall, so it would have been difficult to “crash” and “bang” from there.
3. Karam said Robin’s bank account was “completely cleaned out” on the Sunday night by Margaret, save for $20. Did the jury ever hear this figure? I don’t believe it will be found in the transcripts. (If it wasn’t presented as evidence in court, is that statement even true?)
4. Karam claimed that the prosecution’s own washing machine witness said there was “ample time” for the washing cycle to have finished by the time police arrived. I don’t think this is true at all. I think the witness was actually at pains to demonstrate that the cycle would NOT have finished by the time police arrived.
5. Karam’s suggestion that David could not have left the note on the computer because its style wasn’t consistent with communication in “the internet age” is ridiculous. There was virtually no “internet age” in 1994... it would be years before people began to write paragraphs with no indents and spaces between. Karam’s argument was that, being a teacher, this would have been the style used by Robin in all correspondence. At the time of the murders David was a university student. Presumably he had to write papers and essays for his studies. The indented paragraph was certainly the required style in academia.
6. When talking about “inadmissible” evidence, Karam gave the impression that the judge believed the STORY about Arawa. I’d be willing to bet this is another misrepresentation. I think the judge probably believed the WITNESS was credible. This isn’t the same as saying, “Yes, I believe the story you’re telling, about a conversation you had with Arawa Bain 25 years ago when you were both 10 years old, is completely true and accurate.” It would be interesting if someone could check this out, since promoting that “evidence” was especially despicable on the part of Karam.
7. Several times Karam promoted statistics as evidence. For example he said that, according to Dr Dempster, 90% of contact wounds are suicides. I don’t recall Dempster saying this but, even if he did, it still means 10% of contact wounds are NOT suicides – not an insubstantial proportion, and hardly evidence of Robin’s guilt.
In addition to the above, there were several more general statements by Karam which I question:
8. Karam said the PCA report had been discredited. Really? By whom?
9. When telling the story of the encounter in his hotel room with Martin van Beynen, Karam asserted that van Beynen was unable to come up with an explanation for the injuries to Robin’s hands. He then appeared to promote this as further proof that Robin was the perpetrator.
10. Likewise, Karam promoted a concession by Drs Dempster and Elliott to a hypothetical premise – that if the “blood” on Robin’s hands had been found to be Stephen’s, then it would completely change the material facts of the case – as further evidence against Robin. Of course they had to agree with his premise, but they weren’t saying it WAS the case. After all, it hadn’t even been established that the red substance was blood.
In my opinion the sum of all these arguments is still miniscule in the face of overwhelming physical evidence pointing to David as the perpetrator. Yet they are all important threads in Karam’s defence of David, which he continues to spin in the public arena.
Item 2: It never occurred to me that the lens was from the same side of the db's injuries.
Item 3: From memory the "clearing out" of the bank account was $200 and this was found on Margrets bedside table.Also wasnt this "clearing out" a regular event? To pay Laniets rent or something else completely innocent?
Item 8: The PCA report was "discredited" by jk in Bain and Beyond!! I do not recall reading any other person discreditting the report
Item 9: MVB phoned in to counter that claim but was not allowed to get a word in. I still wonder whatever came over MVB to turn up at jk's hotel at 2am??Surely it was not to discuss injuries to Robin's hands?
Very intelligent blog. Thank you.
Im sure others will comment.
Yes excellent piece anon.I have been doing a reread of Rosemary Mc Leod's highly perceptive and incisive article in North and South.She is the one who was able to discern and uncover Karam's methodology and thought process that has lead him ,in my view, to play fast and loose with notably the critical and damning forensic evidence. This hype and spin since "The investigator" and Radio Live debate is a logical continuation of the process Karam began after a mere 15 min interview.
jk claims the PCA report has been "completely discredited".
the only place I have seen anything that attempts to discredit this report is in "Bain and Beyond" so today I borrowed it from the libary again.As if reading the other one wasnt harmful enough!!!
jk lists an item then answers it with the title "New Evidence".
Heres an example of "New Evidence". The statement it refers to does not matter but all can be found on pages 11 to20 of the book.
New Evidence: "Data from the USA and Australian experts proves that it is very rare", "There is compelling new DNA evidence","Possible traces of blood","independant experts from overseas","eminent forensic psychiatrist", "A linguist consulted","expert forensic psychiatrist", "Expert pathological evidence from overseas", "expert scientific photographer" etc etc etc
My point is that not one of these "experts" is named!! Not one of the sources of "better information from overseas" is presented!!
Just believe him!!! YEAH RIGHT!!!
Interesting points Vic but hardly suprising that Karam anywhere faiiied to cite his sources with a list of citations or at the very least an appendix or bibliographical guide at the end of the book. Pretty slap dash, in my view ,from one who felt he deserved a Montana book award .This is not systematic,logical and meticulous research but mere spin and propaganda where Urban myths are cultivated and propagated Again, my opinion.
The bit about the lense may not be correct: It was the left lense that was found in Stephen's room and the injuries were on the right side of the face were they not? This kind of detail does not mean anything in particular anyway. DB could have been knocked on the right side of the face in the struggle sending the glasses off his face towards the left and thus landing on the ground on their left side whereby the left hand lense comes out. This area though is completely speculative. Nothing should be made of any connection between the side of the face the injuries were on and the side of the glasses that the loose lense belonged to.
This is such a full post, I have printed it out and will study it before adding my final comments. In the meantime isn't it interesting how Joe Karam is ready to scathingly dismiss a caller who had attended the retrial "several times" as against Karam's "every day" when Karam wrote two books, which he claims are the final word on a trial which he never attended not even for one lousy hour (the first trial). He also had the unmitigated gall to say, in David and Goliath that, after meeting David Bain once, he decided that David "was the only witness that had told the truth" (out of over 100 witnesses whom he had never met).
7. Several times Karam promoted statistics as evidence. For example he said that, according to Dr Dempster, 90% of contact wounds are suicides.
Karam quoted Dempster quite a number of times, as if Dempster was on Karams side but in reality the truth is a little different, for instance Dempster said in his opinion Robin did not commit suicide, he also said in regards to Laniet, that the first shot would have been through the cheek and was not an instantly fatal shot: also contrary to Karam and the defence.
Karam asserted that van Beynen was unable to come up with an explanation for the injuries to Robin’s hands
Well maybe van Beynen did not know that Robin had been replacing old rusty spouting around his house in the days before his death, have done that job myself and you get plenty of cuts and injuries to your hands.
Just to expand a bit on point 5 re the nonsense about the computer message that Karam raved on about .Yes David was a University Student an in 1994 and was enrolled in Classical Studies ,University Depts that were sticklers for correct grammar,punctuation, essay formating etc.Furthermore Robin and Margaret were themselves highly likely trained and taught in more traditional grammatical and writing conventions which they would surely of passed on to their children.
I now read that Manlove did ,in fact,find three drops of blood on Robin Bain's right shoe.This is the high impact,blood splatter that Karam referred to in the Karam/Laws debate.But what is interesting is that the blood was on the right shoe.Now the defence came up with a number of scenarios,four I believe,as to how Robin Bain could have committed suicide.If one looks at the photos there is no way blood splatter could have got on to the right shoe in three of those scenarios.