Recent Analysis Reveals the Lens in the Photo

Recent analysis of the photo of what was identified by Milton Weir as a lens that was the cause of much controversy after the first trial and led to a defamation case against Joe Karam, has revealed the possibility that it was indeed the lens.

From a report on the evidence given in the 2009 retrial:

In a stunning development today Simon Schollum told the High Court in Christchurch that using modern techniques he examined over the last six weeks an image of a lens found in the bedroom. The image had been discredited as showing a trick of the light and not an incriminating lens but was in fact correct, he said. The trick of light was actually the lens.

David Bain is charged with the murder of his family on June 20, 1994.

Schollum's evidence relates to a lens found in Stephen Bain's bedroom after the murders. The Crown says the lens came from a pair of glasses worn by David Bain when he fought with his brother before shooting him in the head.

Schollum said he based his conclusion on images taken of the bedroom while Stephen Bain's body was still in the room. He was able to see the lens before the body was removed and the lens was clearly moved to the spot in which it was found when items were moved aside to remove Stephen's body.

Schollum earlier told the court he had considered the 800 or so original negatives from Every Street and the videotape taken of the scene. He was able to recreate the correct chronological sequence of the images taken of Stephen's bedroom.

Images which were suggested to show clothing had been moved to plant a lens actually showed very little change in the items in the relevant area. A suggested change was due to the amount of light projected by the camera's flash into the area and the angle of the camera.

In cross-examination by Michael Reed QC, Schollum said his latest examination in the last few months showed what was accepted as a trick of the light by both the Crown and the defence, and therefore not the lens, was in fact the lens from the glasses allegedly worn by David Bain during the murders.

Taken from:


Where was the lens

On reading that evidence again I would probably have to agree that what an ESR examination done at the request of the police concluded may not have been correct.Their conclusion was that it was not a lens,but was a shadow cause by a curved piece of paper and the reflectivity was caused by an overlying plastic bag.Personally,I am quite happy to go with what Milton Weir wrote on his jobsheet.But I appreciate if this new evidence is correct,then it does have the effect of taking away the stigma cast on Milton Weir.

I think this item, like many

I think this item, like many others illustrates how different experts can come up with differing testimony about the same phenomenon.  There is a certain problem with Schollum's testimony in that it appears as though he deliberately sought to find an explanation that described the evidence in a way that suited the Prosecution. I would hazard a guess that many have been frustrated by JK's successful attempts in this regard: scouring the world looking for an expert to back up his point of view.

Yes,I agree

That is my thinking also,Kent.That is why I prefer to go by Weir's notebook,it is all there in black and white.And at the end of the day,all that really matters,so far as I am concerned,is that the lens was found in Stephen's room.I don't care if it was found UNDER the toe of that ice skating boot or NEXT TO the toe of that ice skating boot.Milton Weir does say that Schollum is very highly regarded as is an expert in his field.

Simon Schollum

I had a most interesting chat with Simon Schollum today.There has been quite a bit of chat about those marks on Robin Bain's hands,and I wanted to get his opinion,plus I wanted to know if he had ever carried out a photographic update on that bruise on David  Bain's head.I sort of wondered if there was any evidence on Bain's face to show that he had been wearing glasses just before the murders.I mean we all know he was,but it doesn't hurt to get more confirmation.

I have to say I was surprised how eager Schollum seemed to want to talk.I was on the phone for over an hour.I didn't really find out anything new,but it was still an interesting conversation.He said that he was probably the only person in the world that had seen all the crime scene photos and videos,and he had put everything in chronological order.He was only called in to give evidence at the last minute,he said he could have given much more evidence,but by the time he was called in the trial was nearly over.He was pretty disappointed about that.


He told me that nothing he said was confidential,but I am only going to mention what he said on here.

For example he told me Stephen's body had moved quite considerably from one photo to the next,because one of the policeman moving the body had slipped and fallen.

He told me the clock in the caravan had moved between one photo and the next.

He told me Robin's body had moved more than once.Once was because a policeman lifted Robin's head so he could see the label on his shirt.

He has no doubt that David Bain is guilty.he does not think he will get any compensation.He said if the defence could prove that the Police had done something illegally,then there could be a case for compensation.This is probably why the defence still tried hard to get someone to say that lens was planted.But they failed to do that.

Just thought you might be interested.

That's very interesting Mike

That's very interesting Mike I have often thought about contacting someone like Simon Schollum, but I get the idea that they wouldn't talk, and I think in most cases they wouldn't, this case is different I think people are keen to talk because they know an injustice has happened, Mike the next time you contact someone like this can you let us know, it would be nice to be able to get you to ask them a few select questions on our behalf.

Bob, if you do contact

Bob, if you do contact Schollum, ask if he'll provide a copy of the booklet he prepared.  It appears there were several copies of this since Reed was referring to it and the jury must have had copies as well.

copy of the booklet he prepared

Kent is that a booklet containing all the photos of the crime scenes etc.

No Bob, just the photos

No Bob, just the photos relevant to the reinterpretation of the lens. There was a booklet he put together.

Photos relevant to the reinterpretation of the lens; must get

Yes I certainly know about his evidence, it maybe very enlightening indeed to get the photos relevant to his testimony, think we got to ask him for a copy.

I only say it because

I only say it because Schollum probably has a number of copies floating around not being used, but I might be wrong.

Re Schollum

I'm wondering if it might not be better to write to Schollum.I could do that,seeing as I have already spoken to him.He was only called to give evidence about the lens at the last minute,he said he should have been involved from day one.He has enhanced photographs of the bullet wounds,all sorts of things.If anyone wants anything else apart from what might be in that booklet,let me know.He will need to be reimbursed for his time and any expenses.I can handle that.


OK,bob,but this was very much a spur of the moment thing,something I do on impulse.But I take your point.

I would say if you give it a week or two you could give Schollum a call yourself,he certainly seems happy enough to talk,specially about photography.He works out of the Timaru Police Station,but I just phoned the local station and they put me straight through to him.

When I have phoned other people,as soon as I mention the Bain case they can become a little bit reticent,but not Schollum.

I prefer not to phone a person more than once.I have done,but I prefer not to.

Asking questions.

I think I can remember Mike you got in touch with Alec Dempster and he was understandably cagey about talking about  the trial.After all he was a key crown witness.i guess he must feel the need to be  seen neutral or impartial otherwise there is the chance the defence would leap at it with the compo claim in mind.I note how in David and Goliath Karam similarly reports his vist to Dr Dempster and he also felt uncomfortable about his questioning.Of course Karam attributes sinister motives by his retiicence as though he may have something to hide.But it could simply do with the fact the need to simply retain scientific detachment,neutrality , objectivity etc and not get embrioled in post trial contrvoversies..


Yes,that's right ,Ralph,Dempster wasn't all that forthcoming,and one can understand that.The first thing I always tell people is who I am and why I am phoning them,and then I ask them if they are happy to talk to me.Nobody has turned me down flat.

The only person who didn't want to talk was a lady I phoned about that Power Plate franchise,all she said was that she wished she had never heard of Karam,and that was about it.

But Schollum was just the opposite,I could hardly get a word in edgeways.