Gerard Baden-Clay: Threat of appeal looms over Allison’s family

Gerard Baden-Clay has 28 days to lodge an appeal for against his conviction and sentence for the murder of his wife Allison.

Baden-Clay was found guilty of murdering his wife at their home in the western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield on April 19, 2012, and dumping her body on the muddy banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead, about 14 kilometres away.

The 43-year-old, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, began shaking violently at the jury delivered its verdict about midday on Tuesday.Full coverage

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve a minimum of 15 years without parole.

However, the threat of an appeal looms over Mrs Baden-Clay’s family and friends and the homicide detectives who dedicated countless hours to gathering evidence against the former prestige real estate agent.

Baden-Clay’s defence solicitor Peter Shields would give no indication of a possible appeal when questioned by media outside the Supreme Court shortly after the verdict was announced.

“It would not be appropriate to comment on an appeal at this stage,” he said.

Justice John Byrne was scathing in his sentencing remarks about Baden-Clay and warned future prison parole boards not to be duped by the 43-year-old’s ability to lie.

“You are given to lies and public deception so much so that whatever you may say on any application for parole, 15 years or more hence, will need to be assessed with considerable scepticism,” he told the murderer.

Unlike during the trial of Brett Peter Cowan, who was convicted earlier this year of murdering Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, Baden-Clay’s defence team made no applications for mistrial.

Cowan’s lawyers made two applications for mistrial due to alleged ‘‘prejudicial publicity’’ about their client in the media on which they have since based an appeal.

Baden-Clay has no such application on which to rest an appeal.

The cases of Raymond Carroll and Graham Stafford are among the most high-profile, successful murder appeals in Queensland’s recent history.

Mr Carroll was convicted of murdering Ipswich toddler Deidre Kennedy and throwing her body on the roof of a toilet block 500 metres from her family’s home in 1973.

The critical evidence in the case came from eminent odontologists, who said it was Carroll who had made the bite marks on Deidre’s body.

However, Carroll was later acquitted, with the Court of Criminal Appeal putting considerable weight on what it regarded as discrepancies in the dental experts’ testimonies.

Mr Carroll was convicted of perjury in 2000 for lying on the stand at his trial when he claimed he had not killed the toddler.

But he was acquitted again, with the case progressing all the way to the High Court, meaning Mr Carroll could never be tried again.

Graham Stafford, a former sheet metal worker from Goodna, was convicted of murdering his girlfriend’s sister Leanne Holland with a hammer and dumping her body in Redbank Plains in 1991.

Mr Stafford appealed his conviction on three occasions, also claiming his innocence in the High Court.

His conviction was overturned in 2009, after the Court of Appeal found Leanne may have died the day after police alleged Mr Stafford killed her.

Under Queensland law, an appeal against conviction may involve a complaint regarding the way in which the trial was conducted.

The most common grounds for appeal against a conviction include: the verdict was “unsafe and unsatisfactory”, there was an error of law, or there has been a miscarriage of justice.

For its part, the Queensland government extended the non-parole period for murder from 15 to 20 years in August 2012, but the legislation was not made retrospective and therefore does not apply to Baden-Clay.

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