Queensland’s public prosecutor is reportedly planning to appeal Gerard Baden-Clay’s manslaughter conviction to the nation’s highest court.
Director of Public Prosecutions, Michael Byrne QC, recently informed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk he would lodge the necessary paperwork with the High Court in January, The Courier-Mail reported exclusively on Tuesday morning.
Family, friends and members of the public protested last month when The Court of Appeal downgraded the man’s murder conviction to manslaughter for the killing of his wife Allison.
Baden-Clay, a former Brisbane real estate agent, caused the death of the mother-of-three in April 2012 after an argument in their Brisbane home, then dumped her body in a creek, where it was found 10 days later, courts found.
A jury convicted him of murder in 2014, which means the jurors were convinced he intended to kill his wife. A judge sentenced him to life in prison.
In 2015, Baden-Clay’s legal team successfully appealed the murder conviction and jail term to Queensland’s Court of Appeal. They introduced doubt by putting forward the hypothesis that their client might have covered up an accidental killing out of panic.
The appeals court found there was insufficient evidence to prove he intended to kill Allison, saying it could not be ruled out that the woman fell and hit her head. It found the jury had reached the wrong verdict.
It was unclear on what grounds Queensland’s prosecutors might appeal the downgraded conviction.
The High Court must grant special leave based on a case’s perceived importance before it could hear such an appeal.