July 2, 2011

Using Trials As Teaching Materials

Rupert Macey-Dare, St. Cross College, Oxford, has published True Crime - Guilty or Not Guilty - David Bain. Here is the abstract.
This paper is a cut down version of Advocacy Masterclass – Retrial of David Bain, but with detailed analysis and answers removed. This shorter paper is designed for use in classroom teaching and examination of real courtroom advocacy, e.g. with students watching and discussing the video links and stepping in to read out trial transcripts and re-enact examples whenever necessary.

Early on the morning of Monday 20 June 1994, five members of the Bain family: Robin (58), Margaret (5'7 and their teenage children Arawa (19), Laniet (18) and Stephen (14) were slaughtered in the family home at 65 Every St, Dunedin, New Zealand. There was one survivor, the eldest son, David Bain (22), a student of music and classics at Otago University, who reported the scene of carnage after his morning paper round. Next year, on 29 May 1995, David Bain was himself convicted on all five counts of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment, without parole for the first 16 years.

Fourteen years later, on 6 March 2009, and after two references from the New Zealand Governor General, three hearings by the New Zealand Court of Appeal and a final, quashing review by the Privy Council, the stage was set for one of most notorious criminal cases in New Zealand and Commonwealth history, the retrial of David Bain.

How did the two sides fight this case? Who won the advocacy battle and what techniques, explicit and implicit, did they use? What was the verdict, indeed, what could or should it have been?
Download the text from SSRN at the link.

A jury initially convicted David Bain of the murders of his family in Dunedin, New Zealand, in 1995. He was retried and acquitted in 2009.

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