Charges: Intentionally causing serious injury x 1.
Proceedings: Application for leave to appeal against sentence.
Facts: The male applicant pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife 5 times. There was no prior history of domestic and family violence. He was sentenced to a total effective sentence of 7 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 4 years and 6 months.
Grounds of appeal:
Held: Application for leave to appeal dismissed.
Ground 1: It was fortunate that the victim had made a good physical and emotional recovery but this did not negate that this was a serious example of the offence causing serious injury. The applicant’s moral culpability was also high.
Ground 2: Counsel for the applicant was plainly on notice that the judge was minded to apply the principles regarding victims’ forgiveness stated by Neave JA in R v Hester at . It was not open to argue he was denied procedural fairness.
It could not be reasonably maintained that the judge erred in failing to extend “mercy” to the applicant. This was a serious instance of intentionally causing serious injury, noting “[i]t would be most difficult to comprehend how mercy can be properly extended in a case in which a man has overpowered his wife in her home, and proceeded to violently stab her five times with a knife, thereby penetrating her vital organs and putting her life at risk” at .
While it seemed the sentencing judge incorrectly inferred that the victim had been persuaded by male family members to express forgiveness (with reference to Hester), that observation “could not materially have affected the question whether her Honour should have extended mercy to the applicant.” Further, the judge correctly took into account the relevance of the victim’s forgiveness to motivating the applicant’s rehabilitation.
Ground 3: Without the compelling mitigating circumstances present in this case, the sentence would have been properly characterised as lenient. Accordingly, the sentence appropriately reflected the mitigating factors referred to by the applicant. In light of the gravity of the offending, and the importance of general deterrence and denunciation, the sentence could not be said to be manifestly excessive: -.