CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 15:  David Bai...

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Disclaimer – This is in no way a discussion about the David Bain case and specifically his guilt or otherwise.

That said I was a little uncomfortable to read this morning that Joe Karam, David Bain’s tireless supporter has received $330k in the past couple of years from legal aid – based on a $95 per hour rate.

When I saw the interviews with Karam and Bain post verdict, I felt a little nervous, as if Karam was carefully stage managing what Bain said and did. And then the fact that one of the defence lawyers is Karam’s son… also paid through legal aid.

Sure he’s put huge time into this fight but it all rests a little uncomfortably with me… anyone else?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

13 Comments
  • yep definitely uncomfortable but will we ever know the real truth? The answer to that is no.

    What makes me uncomfortable is not the legal aid – though that is high – but the obvious staged and scripted interviews….

    But then the balance is hes put a lot of time into it and deserves some benefit and David Bain is unlikely to be the most eloquent speaker given the last 15 years of his life

  • For goodness sake. What is it that makes you feel uncomfortable? He did a very selfless thing and virtually gave up 12 years of his life and devoted it to somebody else – that should be admired, not make you feel uncomfortable. Bain is clearly camera shy and understandably delicate at this point so Karam was probably trying to protect him and take charge of the media to stop a scrum. What about that makes you nervous? 2 years, $330k – so? He worked probably 80 hour weeks and considering he spent 12 years on this (not 2) we can hardly jump up and down in disgust.

  • Given the huge amount of resources that the Crown has access to, it only seems fair that the respondent be properly resourced as well. Karam is not a lawyer, but I think most people would agree that his depth of knowledge has been hugely valuable in the defence case and in pursuing the matter over a long period of time.

    There is much more to say on the matter, but best not shared in the public domain.

  • No. It’s simply one of the costs of a civilised society.

  • this is the man who invested all his own money for years, to the point of almost bankruptcy to get david bain a fair hearing.

    I am extremely sure he has been the person managing the case, all along. It’s not just about lawyers sitting down and delivering a case.

    Also imagine being david bain, he’s been in jail for the last 15 years, i suspect that makes him more than a little camera shy.

  • I agree. By all means use legal aid to fund a quality legal defence, but Karam is a crusader not a legal expert.

    Next we’ll have defendants hiring PR firms at the taxpayers expense to spin their stories.

  • Most likely the legal aid was paid to the legal firm representing David Bain and Joe Karam was paid as a consultant. Considering his many years of investigating the case he would be highly qualified to be paid as a consultant on this case, as for $95 as a rate, well I know 25 year old code cutters being paid more than that.

    This guy put in a load more than two years on this and I think if he got a bit back in the last couple of years then good on him. He lost a hell of a lot more than what he gained. Whether his complete determination was a little misguided is another question.

  • My understanding is that the legal aid money went to David Bain’s legal team, and that they paid Joe Karam to to legal work under their supervision for which they believed him to be qualified, and reportedly he has worked 70 to 80 hour weeks over several years (at least according to himself). I haven’t audited the expenses as to exactly what he did, but on the face of it that explanation seems reasonable to me.

    I’d feel different if Joe Karam had been paid to manage publicity and to be a face in the media beyond what a lawyer would normally do out of necessity. (ie. If Joe Karam didn’t do that, another lawyer would have to.) I presume he was doing all his extra interviews and media management unpaid on his own initiative and not charging to legal aid. If the legal team was paying him to do this they yes, I’d feel uncomfortable.

  • Lots of pro Karam remarks – why ? he alone decided to put his money and time into David Bain’s professed innocent back in January 1996 – so why should he get so many kudos. It has bought him celebrity and money – 100,000 dollar advance for his next book is not peanuts.

    His real artform was the New Zealand Justice System and Police Force, he certainly bulldozed his way thru them.

  • Interesting that the book will not be delayed supposedly for more research. The real reason might be we don’t want it.
    Yahoo poll yesterday- 10% would buy it, 10% would borrow , 34% not that interested, & 46% NO fan of Karam or Bain.
    Bet he didn’t see that massive shift of public opinion coming . Publishers will deeply regret advance money IMHO.

  • Gavin James |

    Hi people!

    Well, I would suggest that if you actually do the research, you will find that Joe Karam’s business was actually going backward before he found out about David Bain, and the reason that he is interested in him is as a money making exercise. I am also gob-smacked that a person with no legal qualifications was allowed in the courtroom at all, and was an obvious influence on the jury. As for him receiving remuneration, I find it totally galling.

  • Although I can relate to your article I can also see how the ‘No Win No Fee’ policies have developed. The certainty with No Win No Fee doesn’t need to exist with our qualification for Legal Aid.

  • Stuart Mathieson |

    Try reading through the evidence presented in the first case and then the second. Karam makes some people uncomfortable because he is a man of principle, something alien to many kiwis who would “lift” anything that wasn’t nailed down and feel “justified” on doing so particularly if it rips off the boss or the “suits”. Joe’s campaign according to some reports, has cost him 4 million dollars. In a market as small ad NZ his chances of one recovering that with books or films is about zero. There are a number of threads in the NZ character that contributes to the hostility toward Joe, the tall poppy syndrome and an aversion to deep seated moral principles and rigorous logic.

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