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Adrian Bayley appeal refused as the 'gravity of the killing warranted a life sentence'

The three judges who refused leave to appeal the sentence earlier this year have explained the reasons behind their decision.

Image: Family Photo via Facebook

THREE JUDGES AT the Court of Appeal in the Australian State of Victoria have published their reasons for not granting Adrian Bayley leave to appeal his sentence for the murder and rape of Irish woman Jill Meagher.

The 42-year-old lost his appeal against a minimum 35-year jail term last month and, today, the three-judge panel gave the reasons behind their decision.

“The gravity of the killing warranted a life sentence,” concluded Court of Appeal’s Chief Justice, Marilyn Warren, and justices Marcia Neave and Paul Coghlan.

“The non-parole period fixed by his Honour was entirely within range in the circumstances of this offending,” they continued.

The judges said the circumstances of murder vary greatly but that the Supreme Court was correct to place the killing of the 29-year-old Louth woman in the same category as other violence and grievious deaths. Bayley was handed “one of the sternest sentences for this type of offending”, according to the judges.

“The applicant was a violent sexual predator who killed his victim,” they added. “In our view, the nature of the killing in this case preceded by the sexual attack was vicious and violent.”

At time of sentencing, Justice Geoffrey Nettle said he would have jailed Bayley for life without parole had he not pleaded guilty.

“We observe that the learned judge made limited moderation for the early plea and some remorse,” noted the Court of Appeal judges in their ruling.

“However, those matters needed to be put in context. Initially the applicant in the record of interview denied involvement. It was only when confronted by the evidence against him that he admitted guilt and assisted the police. Furthermore, the gravity of the applicant’s prior history – including 20 sexual assaults involving 17 rapes – were carefully laid out and considered by his Honour.”

Bayley had appealed on the grounds that Justice Nettle made a mistake by inferring he intended to kill his victim because she would have called the police or for some form of perverted pleasure; and that he placed excessive weight on the need for community protection.

Jill Meagher’s body was discovered in a shallow grave on 27 September 2012 about 55km from where she went missing six days previously.

She was last seen leaving Bar Ettiquette in the Brunswick area of Melbourne at around 1.30am local time and was reported missing at around midday the next day.

She had been socialising with work colleagues from ABC radio and was walking to her home which was about five minutes away when she encountered Bayley.

The court document, published today, includes the convicted man’s version of events from a police interview:

You know it wasn’t really my intention to hurt her, you know that? When we conversed, I swear to you man, I swear to you I’d – I’d – I’d – I just – I spoke to her and she looked – she looked distraught. Does that make sense?

***

And I spoke to – I spoke to her, you know and said, look I’ll just – I’ll – Ill help you, you know. That’s what I said to her and she was like, fu.. anyway. It doesn’t matter. She flipped me off and that made me angry, because I was actually trying to do a nice thing. You know that?

When – oh, man, I just – I just – she looked distraught, you know. She looked like she was lost. She didn’t – and I don’t know man, you know. Always try to do the right thing some – you know, most of the time and I didn’t take well to her response, you know.

I just don’t wanna go through it in detail…

***

POLICE: So you said she fobbed you off and you got angry. Tell me what happened then? Oh, I just got pissed off and I actually walked off and she followed. I actually walked in front of her and she followed.

***

And it just got worse.

POLICE: Tell me what happened.

***

So, fuck man. I’ll – I’ll – I’ll – I don’t wanna go through it in detail, but I’ll – I don’t even know if I can remember where I put her. Every day man, even before this, you know, was focused on me, I – I – I can’t believe that I’ve done what I’ve done, do you understand that?

Bayley was arrested on 27 September 2012 and following initial denials, he admitted to the attack and led police to the body.

He was sentenced on 19 June this year.

Download full judgement>

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