1. No, I was not forewarned that the Minister intended to issue the press release and had no advance notice of its contents.
2. The press release refers to "robustness of reasoning" which seems to be code for "reasoning" that supports the Minister's preferred disposition of the Bain claim.
3. The language of the press release shows it to be a political document which, given that the Minister is engaged in a political exercise, is not surprising. David Bain is seeking a discretionary payment from Cabinet and Cabinet is a political body that makes political decisions. However I expected the Minister to follow a fair and even handed process leading up to that political decision. She is, after all, the Minister of Justice. The purpose of this email is to give people the facts to enable them to determine for themselves whether or not the process has been even-handed.
4. The press release states that my Report was referred to the Solicitor General for "advice”. This makes it sound as though the Solicitor General is some sort of independent official whereas, in fact, his office attempted for almost 17 years to uphold a conviction of David Bain that New Zealand’s highest appeal Court decided in 2007 was a miscarriage of justice -- a conclusion reinforced by Mr Bain's acquittal by a Christchurch jury in 2009. The Solicitor General was and remains part of the prosecutorial team. The opposing parties in the compensation inquiry were David Bain and the Crown Law Office. At a January 2012 meeting held at the Ministry of Justice for me to obtain the views of the Crown Law Office as to how the inquiry should proceed (a similar meeting was held with the Bain people) I was introduced to the then Solicitor General, David Collins, who had unsuccessfully argued the case against David Bain before the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. He was not, and did not pretend to be, independent. For present purposes the Solicitor General is equivalent to the Crown Law Office.
It would seem from the tenor of his statement that Justice Binnie has a very strong view about the Bain case. For a supposed neutral, it is an extraordinary response.
If anything, Justice Binnie's response reinforces our initial conclusion that Judith Collins' decision to have his report peer-reviewed to ensure that its contents were factually and legally robust was the right call.