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James McNeish comments
“My book is the story of a trial and an investigation of why the murders occurred. As far as I know The Mask of Sanity is the first psychological study of a convicted killer written in New Zealand.
I became interested in the case after I read in the newspaper that young Stephen had to fight with an older brother for his life – as it seemed. By then David Bain had been arrested. It didn’t make sense. I got churned up inside – I remember what I was like as a kid at Stephen’s age. I decided to attend the trial in Dunedin and subsquently covered it for a British newspaper. At the end of the 3-week trial nobody, least of all the jury, had any idea why the murders had occurred. Normally in a murder case the mechanics are clear at the outset – you know what happened, who did it and (usually) why. Here both the “who” and the “why” were a mystery. And the reason we didn’t know “who” was because we had no idea of “why”. I decided to find out why – the motive. That’s why I wrote the book.

Since publishing The Mask of Sanity, I’ve been accused of being “on the side of the establishment”. I find myself in an odd position. Most of my books and plays are about injustice – by nature I’m against authority and on the side of the underdog. But there comes a time when even the police need protecting. In the David Bain case there has in my view been no victimisation and no miscarriage – the police got it right, the judge got it right, the jury got it right.”

Crime.co.nz approached Mr McNeish regarding his book and we would like to thank him for his contribution and interest in our project.

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Why James McNeish wrote 'The Mask Of Sanity'.

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