The blog of Dr Glenn Andrew Peoples on Theology, Philosophy, and Social Issues

Shallow threats against David Bain’s accusers


I figured this sort of empty threat would be made, which is why I posted my earlier blog entry on David Bain, Reasonable Doubt and Defamation.

As is no secret, not everyone agrees with jury verdicts. The David Bain trial is no exception, and some people still believe that David Bain murdered his Family. Some of them have even started a Facebook group  called “David Bain is Guilty” for people who think that this is true.

Apparently some media law experts think that this makes those people vulnerable to a defamation suit. Their reasons for saying so, however, are not at all compelling. According to media law lecturer Ursula Cheer, even a small note on a person’s facebook account indicating that they were part of this group could be an act of defamation. Wellington media law lecturer Steven price had this to say:

“The main defence would be, is it true? And if David Bain wanted to test that in court he could sue for defamation.”

The person making the claim would then have to prove on the balance of probabilities, that Mr Bain did it, Mr Price said.

“And that’s very different from a standard of reasonable doubt.”

Yes, it is a different standard from reasonable doubt – and that works in favour of the person making the accusation. It means that a person making the accusation doesn’t have to prove David’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt. It means that they would only have to show that it was more probable than not, which is a lighter burden of proof. Saying “and that’s a very different standard from a standard of reasonable doubt” as though that should be a daunting thing for the accuser is just strange. But secondly, that’s not the main defence at all. As I noted in my earlier blog on the subject, the accuser does not have to show that it’s true at all. All he needs to show is that it’s a belief that he reasonably holds, which is a much smaller burden of proof again.

These threatening sounding warnings carry no real weight. If you really do think that David did it, then as long as you hold your belief reasonably, you are allowed to say so in whatever forum you like.

Glenn Peoples


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  1. {Tim}

    Reading the quote from Price on its own, my first impression was that he was agreeing with you. Which is strange, since the full story makes it clear that he DOES think it would be defamatory.

    What interests me in this is where the line falls between people’s right to state their opinions, versus a person’s right to not be treated as guilty after being found not guilty. For instance, a business owner refusing to employ him “because I still think you did it” is going a lot further than just holding an opinion, but where exactly IS the line?

  2. Tim, the line is a pretty unfortunate one really, and it’s here: The line is when you’re not able to afford to defend yourself in court.

    When I called these threats shallow, I mean that they are shallow in that they are trading on the falsehood that just to say that you disagree with a jury is itself defamatory towards the acquitted. It’s not, provided that your claim can be defended on the grounds of truth or reasonably held belief. So in that sense the threats really are shallow, and pretty oppressive in my view. But unfortunately, even a lawsuit brought against you on false grounds can still be impossible to fight when you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend defending yourself.

  3. Barry

    1.It was a lucky guess when David Bain told 111 ambulance officer they are all dead, despite later saying he only saw two bodies
    2.Again a lucky guess hen DB told police officer they are all dead
    3.The 25 minute gap between DB finding his family dead and calling 111 is in no way connected with trying to wash clothes and removed blood.
    4.The bruise on David’s head and scratches on his chest and graze on his knee – none of which he could explain, were just a coincidence
    5.The lens from his glasses found in Stephen’s room happened weeks ago and he never noticed OR someone else had borrowed the glasses
    6.The lack of fresh injuries on Robin despite the massive struggle with Stephen is just the product of healthy living
    7.David’s finger prints on gun are from a previous time
    8.David telling a friend he had premonition something bad was going to happen was a genuine psychic experience
    9.Stephen’s blood on David’s clothing was nothing to do with the struggle – OR someone else borrowed his clothes
    10.Robin managed to execute his family on a full bladder
    11.The lock and key to the rifle being found in David’s room is not relevant as they were obviously placed there
    12.Robin decided to wash David’s green jersey to remove blood and the fibres from jersey found under Steven’s finger nails
    13.David’s bloody palm print on the washing machine was from him checking the bodies
    14.The Ambulance officer was wrong when he said in his opinion Bain was pretending to have a fit
    15.Robin Bain would logically wear gloves to prevent fingerprints despite it being a murder-suicide
    16.That Robin Bain would type a message on a computer for David telling him he is the only one who deserves to live, instead of writing a note. A hand written note incidentally would have cleared David.
    17.Also that having just shot his family, and knowing David was due home, that Robin would wait 44 seconds for the computer to boot up to leave a message
    18.Robin would decide David deserved to live, but go out of his way to frame him for murder
    19.Robin Bain placed fibres from Davids jersey under Stephen’s finger nails
    20.Robin Bain would shoot himself with a gun in the most awkward way possible?
    21.That Robin Bain changed jerseys after he had killed his family and in particular Stephen Bain, washed the jersey, hung it on the line and then change into a brown jersey before killing himself?
    22.That there is a logical reason that David Bain can not account for the injuries on his face, the bruise or the scraped knee, yet knows he did not have them during his paper run.
    23.That Robin Bain put blood on the inside of David’s duvet and on his light switch
    24.That there is an innocent explanation for why David says he put on washing before he discovered the bodies, yet there is a blood print on the washing machine.
    25.That Laniet was being paranoid when she told friends she was scared of David
    26.That the “family meeting” David called the previous night and insisted everyone attended was not a way to make sure everyone would be at home to kill.
    27.That Robin Bain would wear a hat while shooting himself in the head.
    28.That even though David told a relative he hated his father, his father did not know this and deliberately decided David was the only one who deserved to live
    29.That David either imagined hearing Laniet gurgling or she gurgled 20 minutes after death
    30.That Laniet allegations of incent with Robin was true, as was her claims she had given birth three times by the age of 12 and a half.
    31.That Robin Bain managed to kill four family members without a single trace of his blood, skin, or DNA being left at the scene.
    32.That it is a coincidence that on the morning of the murders Bain took his dog onto a property, ensuring he would be noticed to give him an alibi.
    33.That the magazine found balanced on an edge next to Robin was not placed there by David but fell onto its edge from Robin’s arms.
    34.That a sickly Robin Bain managed to overpower his teendage son who put up a furious fight
    35.That Robin Bain went and got the newspaper from outside, despite planning to shoot himself

  4. Barry, those claims are a matter of public record already, as they are claims accepted by the jury. As such posting them constitutes the claim that the jury is correct. Either that or you’re posting them because you’re being cynical about the jury’s acceptance of those claims. If the latter, then what you’d need to do if accused of defamation is to argue that such cynicism is a justifiable stance, whether David is innocent or not.

  5. Pythinia

    Glenn how clever you are – why don’t you just admit – that you believe in the innocence of Bain Jnr and you have jury’s verdict to prove therefore you do not want any opposition to your view – because it may hurt?

  6. Pythinia – who says that I think he is innocent?


    Maybe Robin shot the family, while wearing David green jersey and gloves then waited for David to come home and David overpower his father and shot him out of rage.

  8. light switches should be made from oxygen free copper so that they last longer`-:

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