Charge/s: Murder (two counts).
Appeal Type: Application for leave to appeal against sentence and appeal against conviction.
Facts: The appellant was convicted of murdering his estranged wife and her daughter in their home. Prior to the killings, the appellant made threats to his wife and to witnesses. These threats occurred in person and over the phone, resulting in a domestic violence order being served and two charges of using a carriage service to make threats. Several witnesses testified that the appellant made threatening remarks to his wife at the hearing for these charges. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on both counts of murder, with a 22 year non-parole period ordered, which was two years above the statutory minimum. The crime was also in breach of a domestic violence order in place to safeguard his wife.
Issue/s: Whether the circumstances of the killings warranted the non-parole period to be extended beyond the 20 year statutory minimum, so as to make the sentence manifestly excessive.
Decision and Reasoning: Leave to appeal was refused. In the appellant’s favour, the killing was not drawn out, there was no prolonged suffering and there was minimal planning involved. On the other hand, he killed not only his estranged wife, but a defenceless 14 year old girl in defiance of a domestic violence order which was intended for his wife’s protection. Also, the appellant displayed no remorse and pleaded not guilty which had made the process agonising for those affected. These factors warranted a strong element of denunciation and vindication for the victims in the sentence. The appeal against conviction was also dismissed.