Home > People Being People > Duelling Bainjoes…

Duelling Bainjoes…

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Letters to the Editor, in the Dominion Post

Firstly  from Mr Girardin, published on 2 July;

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Despite the police’s best efforts at messing up the original investigation into the Bain murders, new evidence comes to light showing that it’s likely that Robin Bain loaded the rifle’s magazine. True to form, after some thought, police say the marks on his thumb could be anything – for example, cuts from working on his roof. They left out that he could have made them while shaving. If they’d done the most basic procedures – that is, bagging Robin Bain’s hands – there would have been no trial and no debate now.

Instead, they were too busy finding Margaret Bain’s glasses and saying they were David’s. The Keystone cops were investigative geniuses compared to this crew.

After the convictions of Arthur Allan Thomas, David Dougherty, Peter Ellis, Scott Watson, David Tamihere and others, plus the Urewera and Dotcom debacles, who could possibly believe a word these self-serving incompetents now say? A shake-up at police headquarters, or a decapitation, is long overdue.

LOU GIRARDIN

Stoke, Nelson

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Which prompted this reponse from a David Did It respondant,

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Is Lou Girardin (Letters, July 2) a former detective, private investigator, or just a CSI-type programme devotee? He criticises police investigations into the Bain murders and their responses to fanciful media revelations.

Police entered a shambolic hovel in Every St, Dunedin, in 1994 to find five Bain family members shot dead. Many, including Ms/Mr Girardin, I suspect, assumed that Robin Bain was the deranged killer.

He was so deranged that he typed, rather than scribbled, a note to his surviving son, leaving none of his fingerprints or blood on the keyboard. He then contorted himself to shoot himself through the temple, with the silencer still on the rifle. Why risk a non-fatal wound?

It wouldn’t have mattered to him (and any of the corpses) if that last shot were heard; a barrel in the mouth would have been more certain.

Then, after shooting himself, he either removed his rubber gloves or wiped his incriminating fingerprints from the murder- suicide weapon – deranged but clinically efficient?

In my view, it’s an open-and- shut case. Your letter-writer deserves a Tui.

PHILIP LYNCH

Elderslea

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That was a tad too denigratory, I thought, and dripping with sarcasm and derision hardly seems a fitting way to conduct a debate when what we need are facts.

So not one to be left out, I offered my own 10 cents plus 15% GST worth,

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No, Mr Lynch, Lou Giradin is not a “CSI-type programme devotee” (Letters, 4 July). Criticisms  that the police investigation in to the Bain murders was bungled is generally well known and accepted.

The most criticised aspect of the investigation is that neither David nor Robin Bain’s hands were tested for gunpowder residue; Robin Bain’s hands were not covered in plastic to protect valuable evidence; and scrappings were not taken from beneath Robin Bain’s finger nails.

However, the marks on Robin Bain’s thumb and finger are a clear indication of gunpowder residue left by re-loading the magazine clip. The measurements match.

As for Mr Lynch complaining about a lack of finger-prints on the murder/suicide weapon, in fact there were many prints, but most were smudged beyond identification.

I refer Mr Lynch to an article on fingerprinting guns, ” Factors Affecting the Recovery of Latent Prints on Firearms”, which states, “…successful development of latent prints on firearms is difficult to achieve. In reality, very few identifiable latent prints are found on firearms.”

The article refers to people who, watching too many TV crime shows, expect pristine prints to be easily recovered from weapons. Unfortunately, this is far from the case.

A Tui to Mr Lynch.
FRANK MACSKASY

(address & phone number supplied)

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The issue of fingerprints is a vexing one.

Because most people’s knowledge of finger-prints in criminal investigations comes from television crime dramas, we have a distorted view of  how easily (or otherwise) they can be retrieved.

This piece offers a clear insight as to the real difficulties involved in retrieving identifiable prints from a firearm,

Latent fingerprint examiners generally know that even when cutting edge technology such as cyanoacrylate fuming and laser/forensic light source examination are utilized, successful development of latent prints on firearms is difficult to achieve. In reality, very few identifiable latent prints are found on firearms, a fact that has been discussed in both the literature [1,2,3] and the judicial system [4]. Fingerprint Specialists at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms San Francisco Laboratory Center have had, however, some success in this endeavor1.

In the examination of 1,000 firearms from February, 1992, through August, 1995, 114 identifiable latent prints were developed on 93 firearms. Although successful recovery occurred in approximately one of ten firearms, it should be understood that not all identifiable latent prints may have been left by an offender. Some developed latent prints, for example, are subsequently identified as belonging to a person involved in the collection of the evidence2.

Jurors have been inundated with fingerprint information from television, movies and newspapers and feel that latent print evidence is a reliable means of establishing positive personal identity [5]. However, jurors are generally under the impression that every item that is touched by fingers or palms will be left with an identifiable latent print impression [6]. If an offender is arrested for possession of a firearms, jurors therefore expect his/her prints to be on it. In fact, most of the time, fingerprint specialists find no identifiable latent prints on firearms. Accordingly, attorneys often call on the fingerprint specialist to explain to the jury the many reasons for the absence of identifiable latent prints. The following reasons make latent print recovery from firearms difficult and when they are recovered, the time of deposition can seldom be determined. The purpose of this paper is to provide information to both technical and non–technical users of fingerprint identification services about what factors affect the recovery of latent prints on firearms.

Source: Factors Affecting the Recovery of Latent Prints on Firearms

(This article appeared as a Technical Report in the Mar/Apr 1997 issue of the Journal of Forensic Identification.)

http://www.scafo.org/library/130303.html

– See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/06/27/a-state-that-cannot-sin/#sthash.HGkSpO3H.dpuf

    Latent fingerprint examiners generally know that even when cutting edge technology such as cyanoacrylate fuming and laser/forensic light source examination are utilized, successful development of latent prints on firearms is difficult to achieve. In reality, very few identifiable latent prints are found on firearms, a fact that has been discussed in both the literature [1,2,3] and the judicial system [4]. Fingerprint Specialists at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms San Francisco Laboratory Center have had, however, some success in this endeavor1.

    In the examination of 1,000 firearms from February, 1992, through August, 1995, 114 identifiable latent prints were developed on 93 firearms. Although successful recovery occurred in approximately one of ten firearms, it should be understood that not all identifiable latent prints may have been left by an offender. Some developed latent prints, for example, are subsequently identified as belonging to a person involved in the collection of the evidence2.

    Jurors have been inundated with fingerprint information from television, movies and newspapers and feel that latent print evidence is a reliable means of establishing positive personal identity [5]. However, jurors are generally under the impression that every item that is touched by fingers or palms will be left with an identifiable latent print impression [6]. If an offender is arrested for possession of a firearms, jurors therefore expect his/her prints to be on it.

    In fact, most of the time, fingerprint specialists find no identifiable latent prints on firearms. Accordingly, attorneys often call on the fingerprint specialist to explain to the jury the many reasons for the absence of identifiable latent prints. The following reasons make latent print recovery from firearms difficult and when they are recovered, the time of deposition can seldom be determined. The purpose of this paper is to provide information to both technical and non–technical users of fingerprint identification services about what factors affect the recovery of latent prints on firearms.

Source: Factors Affecting the Recovery of Latent Prints on Firearms

(This article appeared as a Technical Report in the Mar/Apr 1997 issue of the Journal of Forensic Identification.)

Ironically, when Mr Lynch derided Lou Girardin as a “CSI-type programme devotee“, it is actually those who demand perfect fingerprints on a murder/suicide weapon, who are more clearly influenced by such fantastical TV dramas.

In this matter,  life is not a TV programme.

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= fs =

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  1. Jo
    7 July 2013 at 11:31 am

    Frank I’m with you. It’s just sad the “David is guilty” camp refuse to see the truth.

  2. Sarah
    9 July 2013 at 4:44 pm

    The 7 Sharp program on the potential for gunpowder residue reignited the whole debate in my household but did little to present new evidence and did much to raise questions about “why wasn’t XYZ done?” The whole thing is a cock-up and while I don’t believe David Bain is a risk to society (unlike many we set free) but he’s a very long way from “innocent beyond reasonable doubt”.

  3. Graeme
    10 July 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Thanks, Frank, for this clarification re fingerprints on the rifle. Are they also hard to get off computer keyboards? Re Margaret’s glasses, David admitted he was wearing them the night before because his own were at the opticians. They were found by the ambulance staff broken and on the chair beside David while the missing lens was found in Stephen’s bedroom. Do you think Robin arranged that before he reloaded the magazine?

    • 11 July 2013 at 10:29 am

      Hi Graeme,

      “re fingerprints on the rifle. Are they also hard to get off computer keyboards?”

      The computer keyboard was not fingerprinted;

      No negligence in failing to fingerprint the computer keyboard. Fingerprinting was considered but the surface was not conductive to producing impressions.

      Source: http://www.crime.co.nz/c-files.aspx?ID=111

      They were found by the ambulance staff broken and on the chair beside David while the missing lens was found in Stephen’s bedroom.

      The missing lens was covered in dust, indicating they’d been in Stephen’s room for a considerable period of time. As optometrist Gordon Sanderson was reported to have told the police,

      Mr Sanderson said he also spoke with Mr Weir about the issue of dust on the lens found in Stephen’s room, but this never came up in evidence either.

      Dust could imply it had been there for longer than a few days. Mr Weir said this conversation never happened.

      Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10576700

      Detective Milton Weir testified that the lens were found under an ice skating boot under clothing on the floor of Stephen’s room.

      I’ve personally spoken to Sanderson and he confirmed to me that there was considerable dust on the glasses, and that he mentioned this matter to the Police.

  1. 7 July 2013 at 9:20 am

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