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Monday, December 28, 2015

Will Gerard Baden-Clay get away with murder?

Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Justice Hugh Fraser and Justice Robert Gotterson downgraded Allison Baden-Clay's murder to manslaughter because they said there "was no evidence of a motive in the sense of a reason to kill."


Police think there was a definite motive to kill - one million dollars worth of motive.  The Prosecution knew there was a policy on Allison's life but they disallowed any suggestion that Gerard killed her to get his hands on the insurance money.

A few days before she died, Gerard called his wife's insurers but was told he couldn't be given any information because he wasn't the policy holder.  The jury was not told about this call.

Two days before her death, Allison emailed their financial adviser to cut her life policy by $200,000 to save on premiums.  The adviser contacted the insurer that day, but the cut wasn't acted on immediately.

So by killing his wife on 19 April, before the change could be made, Gerard got to keep the original $1 million payout intact and his dire financial problems would be over.

He had borrowed $270,000 from friends to keep his business afloat and could not pay them back. At home he told Allison to fire the cleaner to save money and he couldn't even afford to pay for his daughter's dancing lessons.

The day after Allison's body was found, Gerard phoned her insurers to lodge a claim, even before she was formally identified. He was very eager and anxious about receiving a death certificate so he could lodge insurance claims and asked they be expedited as soon as possible.

Yet the Court of Appeal wrote "It is important to note that the Crown did not at trial contend that the killing of Mrs Baden-Clay was in any way premeditated or that the appellant might have been motivated by some benefit he stood to gain from his wife's death."

So why did Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Byrne QC decline to tell the jury about Gerard's call to the insurance company a week before Allison's death?  Police thought it was vital evidence.  "I believe it was premeditated and still believe that" one officer said.

But there is even more evidence that Allison's death was planned, especially when we learn that Gerard was having an affair with Toni McHugh and wanted out of his marriage.  Gerard promised his mistress he would be free by July 1. 

And another coincidence - Allison and McHugh were due to attend the same real estate conference the day he reported her missing. 

Prosecutors argued it would have been "catastrophic" for his finances and image if Allison discovered the affair was ongoing and wanted a divorce and he could also lose custody of his daughters.

When you add it all up, there's no way this man's charge of murder should be downgraded to manslaughter and if this miscarriage of justice is allowed to stand, the Queensland justice system is broken.  
It's now up to Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D-Ath to put things right and appeal to the High Court and get the charge lifted back up to 'murder.'  She has until 5 January to do it.