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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gerard Baden-Clay's murder conviction downgraded

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal found there was not enough evidence to prove real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay intended to kill his wife in 2012, and his murder conviction was downgraded from murder to manslaughter.

His lawyers told the court that he could have killed his wife unintentionally during an argument and in a panic, he removed her body, dumped it near a creek, and pretended to be the distraught husband.

And that is why the judges involved in this case should be removed.

Scratches he said were caused while shaving

Thankfully, Acting Attorney-General Cameron Dick said he will take legal advice on whether the decision should be challenged.

"I have requested legal advice about the prospects of success of an appeal against the decision" he said in a statement.  "Once that advice has been received and considered, a decision will be made as to whether an appeal should be lodged.

But Justice Fraser wrote in a statement.  "Smothering the Crown thesis was a reasonable possibility but while there was also another reasonable possibility available on the evidence, the jury could not possibly have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the element of intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm had been proved" he wrote.

We remember well how Bayden-Clay played the grieving husband and father for weeks, right up until he was charged, and when he said the scratches on his face were caused while shaving, nobody believed him.

Last year he was convicted of murder and sentenced to a minimum of 15 years but if this downgrading to manslaughter stands, he could be out in no time.

Queensland Law Society President Bill Potts said the Court of Appeal made the right decision, however unpopular it may be. 

"Whilst they found that the judge had not misdirected the jury, they found that the crown, the prosecution, the people who bring the charge, had not excluded the reasonable hypothesis that Mr Baden-Clay had not intended to kill his wife.

"The difficulty is this...even though he lied essentially through his teeth about very important matters, showed no remorse and in fact callous actions so far as his wife, notwithstanding all of that, the jury still have to be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt, that there is no other reasonable hypotheses open."

".... This is not a court of popularity or of public opinion, it's a court of law, it's a court of justice" he said.  "The public can be well satisfied, whether they have a view as to his innocence or guilt...that our courts have looked at all of the facts and all of the evidence and have made a decision based on law, not on emotion."

Clever words indeed, but the public has already made up its mind which is unlikely to change - that this man is as guilty as sin and downgrading his crime from murder to manslaughter is an utter disgrace and a shocking miscarriage of justice.