Gerard Baden-Clay launches appeal against murder conviction
Lawyers for Gerard Baden-Clay have filed an appeal against his murder conviction.
On Tuesday a Supreme Court jury found the 43-year-old Brisbane man guilty of killing his wife Allison in April 2012.
He was sentenced to life in prison, with a non-parole period of 15 years.
He has appealed against his conviction on four grounds, including that the verdict of murder was unreasonable, and that:
“A miscarriage of justice occurred because the jury should have been, but was not, directed that the presence of the deceased’s blood in a motor vehicle was only relevant if the jury was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the presence of blood was attributed to an injury sustained to the deceased’s body on the evening of 19 April 2012 or the morning of 20 April 2012,” the application reads.
“The trial judge erred in law in not directing the jury that they needed to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant placed the body of the deceased at Kholo Creek in order to use such a finding as post-offence conduct going to guilt.
“The trial judge erred in leaving to the jury that the appellant attempted to disguise marks on his face by making razor cuts.”
A Slide show covering the tragic events that resulted in Gerard being found guilty of Murdering his wife Allison
I have included the Allison’s family’s Victim Impact Statements in the GBC MENU or feel free to access each family members page and make a contribution here
Gerard Baden-Clay, on the night of 19 April 2012, you murdered your wife, Allison.
The killing was not premeditated. But it was violent. That night, you were under considerable stress.
Your financial circumstances were, as you confessed to police, dire. Your domestic circumstances were no better.
You had resumed your affair with Toni McHugh. You kept telling her that you loved her.
You led her to understand that you intended to leave Allison and to be with her.
That afternoon, you told Ms McHugh that Allison would be at the conference Ms McHugh was to attend in Brisbane the next day.
Allison knew nothing about the resumption of the affair.
You deceived her into believing that it had ended in September 2011.
If the two women were to meet the next day, the consequences could have been dramatic, as you realised.
Your unsuspecting wife was doing her best to maintain the marriage.
A relationship counsellor had devised a plan. It allowed for Allison to express to you her feelings about the affair in a brief session every second day.
You had agreed, reluctantly, to that.
The first session happened the night before Allison died; and it had turned into an interrogation.
Allison remained tormented by the affair. She pressed you for details. On the night she died, Allison again questioned you about the affair. All the pressures proved too much for you.
The prosecution suggested that you smothered Allison; and that looks likely.
But whatever the mechanism, your violent attack caused her death.
Her fingernails scratched your face – the act of a desperate woman struggling for life.
Those marks are only consistent with your guilt.
Your shameful conduct after murdering Allison bespeaks a profound absence of remorse.
You took her body to Kholo Creek.
There you disposed of her in an undignified way: dumping her over a ledge to leave her lying in mud, exposed to the elements, insects and wildlife.
Then you put in place – and persisted in – a deception plan.
You used a razor to cut yourself near where she had scratched you, trying to disguise the injuries she had inflicted in defending herself.
You drove around the streets of Brookfield pretending to look for her. You have insinuated that mental illness may have led to drug overdose or suicide.
And besmirching Allison’s memory in that way is thoroughly reprehensible.
You have no criminal history. But you are definitely not of good character.
You are given to lies and other 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.
The community, acting through the Court, denounces your lethal violence.
The impacts on Allison’s family have been grave.
Their victim impact statements poignantly express their pain.
You took a devoted, loving mother from her three girls, blighting their lives.
Pursuant to s.159A of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, I declare the
762 days spent in pre-sentence custody from 14 June 2012 until today to be imprisonment already served under the sentence.
The law provides but one penalty for your awful crime. I impose it.
You are sentenced to imprisonment for life.
Gerard Baden-Clay’s defence team made an application for the case to proceed as a manslaughter charge due to a lack of evidence showing intent to kill. Nine News
MAJOR YELLOW DAFFODIL UPDATE 11.53 AM 15/07/14
After more than 22 hours of deliberations the jury has found Gerard Baden-Clay guilty of killing his wife Allison Baden-Clay, the mother of their 3 children.
To the relief of everybody, the jury has seen through his mountain of lies and secrecy, the double life, the excuses and false explanations. Gerard Baden-Clay was the one and only suspect from the very first day and was doggedly investigated by the dedicated QLD Police Service.
How this poor excuse for a human being has manged to fool so many for so long is astounding, but it all came crashing down this afternoon not long after the jury handed in their verdict after they deliberated for over 22h hours.
Tweets by @TheMurrayD
Family, friends, detectives all gathered outside court for the verdict.—
Kate Kyriacou (@KateKyriacou) July 15, 2014
All previous threads and history including trial can be found clicking on link below http://aussiecriminals.com.au/category/gerard-baden-clay/
ANY EVIDENCE LIKE PHOTOS, VIDEO OR DOCUMENTS THE COURT RELEASES TO THE PUBLIC WILL BE PUBLISHED in the GBC Documents Page
RESERVED FOR UPDATES AFTER VERDICT ANNOUNCEMENTS
The statement made outside court by a family Representative
Here is Allison Baden-Clay’s family’s full statement courtesy of our friends at the Brisbane Times
“Today, we, Allison’s family and friends, are relieved that we finally have justice for Allison. The evidence presented at this trial has proven that Gerard Baden-Clay is responsible for the murder of his wife Allison.
It has been a long wait over the last two years, and this result today marks the beginning of our long journey towards healing, and finally allowing us to mourn and grieve for this beautiful woman.
Today is not a win for our family, for it will not bring our beautiful Allison back. However, it is the closure of another chapter in this journey for our family. We have lost Allison and nothing that has happened here will bring her back. We as a family will grieve her tragic death forever, the memories tarnished by the fact that she was taken from us in such horrific circumstances.
We would like to thank the Queensland Police Service and the CIB officers involved in the investigation, the SES volunteers who searched night and day in all weather, the scientific experts and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions who have all worked tirelessly to ensure that we have justice for Allison. We would also like to thank them for their compassion and support over what has been the darkest of times.
To all of our family and friends that have sat in the court each and every day supporting our beloved Allison, we thank you and hope that you too now find some peace from this result.
Throughout this time, those in the close knit Brookfield community and those in the media and wider public have shown us empathy and compassion for which we are enormously grateful. More so, however, we have appreciated your efforts to protect the privacy of Allison’s daughters.
Our primary concern has always been and remains the emotional and physical well-being of Allison’s three beautiful daughters. We will help them to rebuild their lives and ask for your support, cooperation and privacy in order to do this. We have a long way to go ensure that they will cope with a future without their mother.
Allison was a kind-hearted, generous woman, a loving wife and devoted mother whose legacy will continue if we all remember that life is precious and to take the time to be kind, smile at those who pass you by and live for today.
We, her family and friends, didn’t get a chance to say goodbye but Allison will always remain forever in our hearts.
Gerard Baden-Clay given life sentence for murder of wife Allison
Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay has been given a life sentence after being found guilty of murdering his wife Allison in April 2012.
A Supreme Court jury has convicted the 43-year-old of killing the mother-of-three at their Brookfield home and disposing of her body under the Kholo Creek Bridge, more than 13 kilometres away.
Allison’s family shouted “yes” as the verdict was read out, while security asked for a short break because Baden-Clay was struggling to breathe.
Baden-Clay, who had protested his innocence in the witness box, faces a non-parole period of 15 years.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Allison’s mother, Priscilla Dickie, said Baden-Clay had “betrayed” her daughter.
“We have all been robbed of Allison’s love,” she said. “The discovery of our darling daughter was absolutely devastating.
“The tragedy of it all is she had so much to offer.”
Allison’s father Geoff Dickie told the court he had been left “devastated by the murder of my precious, gifted and talented daughter”.
It was a case about sex, lies and murder that gripped the city of Brisbane for two years, and the ever-growing queues outside the Supreme Court were a testament to the public’s fascination with the sordid story.
In life, Allison Baden-Clay was a dancer, teacher, successful career woman, devoted wife and mother of three girls.
In death, she became well-known for all the wrong reasons.
Her disappearance in 2012 shocked the tight-knit affluent community of Brookfield. Well-wishers and concerned residents laid flowers at her home, not knowing what else to do.
At the same time, hundreds of police and State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers swung into action, combing surrounding suburbs for any trace of the missing woman.
“Please help us, because there are three beautiful little girls of Allison’s wanting to see their mother,” her father had pleaded.
Her mother urged: “Our lives will never be the same – we must, must find her – she’s so precious.”
Premier vowed resources to find Allison
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman vowed to commit whatever resources were necessary to finding her.
“I’m just very sad for the family and friends. It’s obviously just incredibly distressing,” he said at the time.
However, from the moment Baden-Clay reported his wife missing on April 20, 2012, police knew this was no ordinary missing persons case.
He had told them she went for an early morning walk and never returned home.
But marks on his face alerted police that something more sinister may have happened.
Hours turned into days, and on April 30 a lone kayaker discovered what was later confirmed as Allison’s body on the muddy banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead, about 10 kilometres from the family’s home.
That day, police refused to say whether Baden-Clay was a suspect.
On June 13, however, he was arrested and charged with his wife’s murder.
Crown case against Baden-Clay circumstantial
By its own admission, the crown’s case against Baden-Clay was a circumstantial one, but the accumulation of evidence was powerful.
A post-mortem examination failed to determine a cause of death due to decomposition, and apart from a chipped tooth and possible bruising, there were no fractures to Allison’s body.
But forensic pathologist Dr Nathan Milne believed Allison did not die from natural causes.
The crown said she died at the hands of her husband, the last person to see her alive.
At the time of her disappearance, Baden-Clay had marks on his face and body that drew the attention of police.
He had excuses for them, though: he had cut himself shaving in a rush; the marks on his neck were where he had crushed a caterpillar that had landed on him while he was watching one of his daughters compete in a cross-country race; and marks on his hand were from a screwdriver that slipped while he was helping renovate a friend’s house, but marks on his chest and shoulder could not be explained by him.
However, three forensic experts testified that marks on Baden-Clay’s face were likely fingernail scratches and Baden-Clay’s claim that they were from a razor was simply implausible.
They said marks on Baden-Clay’s body could also be from scratching, although they were less conclusive.
Then there was the dripping blood found in the boot of Allison’s four-wheel drive. DNA testing confirmed it was Allison’s.
Baden-Clay’s double life
The murder trial exposed a couple living very different lives publicly and in private.
On the face of it, the Baden-Clays were a successful family, running their own prestige real estate company.
But they were in deep financial trouble and Baden-Clay was having trouble paying off loans to friends.
In desperation, he had begged the state Member for Moggill, Dr Bruce Flegg, for a loan of up to $400,000, fearing he would go bankrupt without it.
Baden-Clay was also caught between two women: his wife and lover.
In marriage counselling, Baden-Clay had professed to want a future with Allison, but at the same time was vowing to leave his wife on her birthday for former employee Toni McHugh.
An email trail between Ms McHugh and a secret account set up by Baden-Clay under the name Bruce Overland portrayed a tumultuous affair, and growing frustrations from Ms McHugh about her lover’s unfulfilled promises.
“Well you’ll have to forgive me that I feel disappointed when this happens. I’m sick of hiding,” Ms McHugh wrote on February 20, 2012.
“I’m sick of being second best and having to take the back seat … all so she doesn’t find out.
“Why should I believe things are going to be any different than the past[?]“
Ms McHugh wrote on March 27 she had looked at rental properties.
“It would be so much easier if you did just move in with me,” she said.
“She can get her own place and the week you have the children you move back to the house.”
I’m sick of being second best and having to take the back seat – all so she doesn’t find out.Toni McHugh in an email to Baden-Clay
Baden-Clay wrote on April 3: “I have given you a commitment and I intend to stick to it – I will be separated by 1 July.”
He also wrote an email on April 11 – referring to Ms McHugh as GG – their names for each other were Gorgeous Girl and Gorgeous Boy.
“This is agony for me too. I love you,” he said.
“I’m sorry you hung up on me. It sounded like you were getting very angry. I love you GG. Leave things to me now. I love you. GB.”
Until April 2012, Baden-Clay had been able to keep his two worlds separate, but they were about to collide spectacularly.
On April 20, Allison and Ms McHugh were due to attend the same real estate conference.
In the witness box, Baden-Clay passed off his declarations of love to Ms McHugh as empty promises to appease a volatile, unstable and confrontational woman who was infatuated with him.
He portrayed himself as a philanderer, but no murderer: he had affairs with numerous women, but was never going to leave his wife.
Baden-Clay admitted he deceived Allison, Ms McHugh, his family and friends, and in return for his deception they gave him their loyalty.
“My intention was to end any relationship with Toni McHugh and solidify and continue my relationship with Allison for our future together,” he said in the witness box.
But the crown submitted Baden-Clay and Ms McHugh were very much entwined and his deceptive conduct showed what he was capable of.
Allison’s mental health raised at trial
The jury saw two faces of Allison. The defence painted a picture of a woman plagued by depression and unable to cope with the pressures of life.
They pursued the possibility that Allison could have taken her own life or wandered off into the night to her death.
According to testimony from Baden-Clay’s father, Nigel, and sister Olivia Baden-Walton, Allison was so incapacitated she could not get off the couch.
But her friends and family told a different story: she was a woman who was happy and feeling positive before she disappeared.
A GP, two psychologists and a psychiatrist who had treated Allison all said she was not a suicide risk.
Marriage counsellor Carmel Ritchie, who consulted with the couple just days before her death, also testified that Allison was hopeful for her future and wanting to make her marriage work.
One thing was clear, however: their marriage was in crisis. Allison’s journal revealed a woman tormented by self-doubt.
“I don’t want to be alone,” she wrote.
“I am afraid of being alone and lonely, maybe because I think I can’t handle it. I am afraid of failing – failing in my marriage and what people will think.”
Allison also had lingering questions about her husband’s affair with Ms McHugh. Some were answered, some were not.
Questions like how many times did they go to the movies together? How did they pay for hotels? Where did they have sex in her apartment? Sex in the family car?
“Did she ever say: ‘I feel bad because you’re married?’”
Three daughters left behind
The trial was the first time the public had heard the three Baden-Clay children speak about their mother’s disappearance.
Heartbreaking video recordings of police interviews with the girls, then aged 10, eight and five, taken on the afternoon their mother was reported missing showed their fear, distress and confusion at what was happening around them.
Baden-Clay wiped away tears while watching his daughters sob as they were quizzed by detectives.
Each described being put to bed by their parents. The middle girl remembered her mother singing Away In A Manger to her.
“Dad said mum had gone for a walk,” the eight-year-old said.
The youngest child said: “She was walking for a long time and we think she twisted her ankle.
“I didn’t get to see her at all because I was fast asleep.”
The eldest recalled seeing her mum on the couch watching TV when she got up to get a glass of water.
“Dad was trying to keep calm for us, but I don’t actually know what was going on in his head,” she said.
She saw “scratches” on her dad’s face, but none of the girls heard anything during the night.
The families and supporters of the Baden-Clays have sat through each day of the trial listening to evidence almost too painful to bear.
They are bound by grief, but divided by loyalty.
The guilty verdict gives them an answer – wanted or not.
But one question remains, and only Baden-Clay can really answer how he murdered his wife.
Amidst the murky personal drama are three little girls who lost their mother and will now have to learn to live without their father.
A JURY has found Gerard Baden-Clay guilty of murdering his wife Allison.
The former Brookfield real estate agent, 43, pleaded not guilty in the Supreme Court at Brisbane at the opening of his trial six weeks ago.
A jury of seven men and five women delivered its verdict shortly after 11.50am today after deliberating for 21 hours before reaching a decision.
Justice John Byrne asked the jury to retire to deliberate on Thursday at 11.10am.
Jurors lined up across one side of the court as they were asked by the judge’s associate: “Do you find the defendant Gerard Robert Baden-Clay guilty or not guilty of murder?’’
The family of Allison Baden-Clay, including her parents Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, who are seated in the packed public gallery of court 11, cheered as the jury replied: “Guilty”.
The accused was seated in the dock and stood to talk to his lawyer Peter Shields as the judge discharged the jury and thanked them for their service.
Justice Byrne told the jurors he was grateful for their service.
Gerard Baden-Clay appeal likely: legal expert
Wife killer Gerard Baden-Clay will almost certainly appeal his conviction and sentence, a Queensland criminal law expert says.
Professor Heather Douglas from the University of Queensland says Baden-Clay’s legal team will be poring over transcripts of his 21-day trial to find grounds for an appeal.
Baden-Clay has 30 days to lodge an appeal, or apply for grounds to seek an extension of time to lodge an appeal, following his life sentence on Tuesday for the murder of his wife Allison in 2012.
“There’s a very good chance he will appeal,” Professor Douglas said.
“I haven’t been through the fine grain of the transcript, so it’s very difficult for me to suggest that there are clear-cut unambiguous grounds that are likely to lead to success, but certainly that’s what the defence lawyers will be doing now.
“They’ll be looking at every word and every direction, everything the judge said and everything that was presented in the trial.”
Under Queensland law, there are three avenues of appeal, one being error of law, as in whether the judge has made incorrect directions to the jury.
Another is if it can be shown the jury reached a “dangerous” verdict out of step with the evidence presented.
The third avenue is miscarriage of justice, which can cover a variety of scenarios including whether jurors have been found to undertake their own research outside the courtroom or if any evidence presented was prejudicial against the defendant.
Professor Douglas believes Baden-Clay’s legal team could pursue a miscarriage of justice appeal because one juror had downloaded overseas’ material on jury deliberations.
She said this might be enough grounds for an appeal application, but his lawyers would then need to prove, for the appeal to be upheld, that the juror’s action impacted on the defence’s case.
“No trial’s perfect,” she said.
“It may be possible for Baden-Clay’s defence team to identify errors in the trial or problems in the trial.
“That will get them through to the appeals stage where they can then appeal against the conviction.”
Professor Douglas said she was not familiar with the entire Baden-Clay trial but had been impressed by Justice John Byrne’s handling of the matter.
“Justice Byrne’s a very experienced trial judge … he’s been very conservative in what evidence he’s allowed into the trial,” she said.
“He has excluded some relevant evidence on the basis that it would be too prejudicial in the circumstances. I think he’s been very careful with his management of the evidence.”