MARTIN VAN BEYEN - DomPost - 18/02/2012
To address this individual bias I have strived mightily to look at this book fairly. However, anyone who knows this case will, in my view, spot some shortcomings.
Karam makes no claim to have written an even-handed book on the strengths and weaknesses of the prosecution and the defence. But neither is there any effort to explain that he has devoted the last 15 years of his life to free Bain and therefore has a tremendous stake in convincing the public he has not wasted his time.
There is no doubt Karam has produced a persuasive book. It is well written, if somewhat repetitive, and very well edited. But it is only one side of the story and, in my view, an over-hyped one at that. Trial by Ambush is simply the defence case for David Bain written by a man with a visceral interest in being right.
Karam writes in a lawyerly way so that you could be reading the case for Bain's compensation claim, which is currently under consideration by retired Canadian judge Ian Binnie. The outraged personal tone of his first book, David and Goliath (1997), is replaced by a more measured Karam who says things like: "It is irresistible to refrain from the conclusion ..."
This might be because he has lived to regret some of his stronger statements. In David and Goliath, he writes, "I have no doubt that, if the blood staining on Robin's clothing had been analysed for blood grouping, it would have been found to be the blood of the deceased members of his family." The blood was analysed and it was all Robin's blood.
From the book we don't get an idea of what motivated Karam or the personal cost to him and his family. Where does his never-say-die pugnaciousness come from? Neither does the book contain a whisper from David Bain. Surely, aside from giving evidence at the retrial, Truth by Ambush was an opportunity for Bain to have his say and to inject some life into the book.
Another feature is the constant sanitisation of David Bain (who is 40 in March) as he was at the age of 22 in Dunedin. Karam describes him as busy and normal with a budding career as a classical singer and surrounded by a loving if disorganised family.
Full piece at DomPost.