Mountains of stuff on here about the tragic death of Allison by her husband Gerard Baden Clay. To catch up here is a link to posts tagged with Allison below
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Gerard Baden-Clay, pictured with wife Allison, is fighting to have his murder charge downgraded to manslaughter.
GERARD Baden-Clay’s “cold-blooded” and “calculated” disposal of his wife Allison’s body, combined with his ongoing lies to police, point to a man more than capable of murder, a court has heard.
The Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions is fighting for the reinstatement of the former Brisbane real estate agent’s murder conviction in the High Court of Australia, after it was controversially downgraded to manslaughter on appeal last year.
The Court of Appeal ruled there was insufficient evidence to support the verdict of murder a Queensland Supreme Court jury reached in 2014, instead substituting manslaughter.
But on Tuesday, Walter Sofronoff, QC, for the Crown, argued that Baden-Clay’s cold-blooded disposal of his wife Allison’s body and the lies he told police and continued to tell throughout his trial made him a man capable of murder.
Mr Sofronoff said Baden-Clay also used one of his three young daughters in an attempt to conceal his guilt, telling her the scratches Allison left on his face as she fought for her life were shaving cuts, which he asked her to apply band aids to.
This image of scratches and cuts on Gerard Baden-Clay’s face was shown in court.Source:Supplied
“It’s not just the conduct itself but the character of conduct that might give rise to an inference of intention, Mr Sofronoff argued.
“His preparedness to use his children, one could conclude about him he is someone who is capable of murder.”
Mr Sofronoff argued the Court of Appeal erred when it considered a number of circumstantial factors that could point to an intention to kill Allison in isolation, rather than collectively.
He said pressure was growing on Mr Baden-Clay the night his wife died.
He had, without his wife’s knowledge, recommenced an affair with mistress Toni McHugh, who he had promised to leave his wife for by July 1, 2011, in the days leading up to Allison’s death on April 19, 2012.
He was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and had been refused loans by friends and acquaintances in the lead-up to Allison’s death, which had put him in danger of losing his real estate business.
There was also the looming prospect that the day after he killed his wife, she and his mistress were due to cross paths at a Real Estate Institute of Queensland lunch.
He said the Baden-Clays were undergoing marriage counselling and just a week before he killed Allison, he told Ms McHugh he loved her and that he had every intention of standing by his promise to leave Allison by July 1.
“It was clear the defendant had found living with his wife intolerable and unendurable,” Mr Sofronoff said.
“In the case of this woman he made a promise to end his marriage he described as unconditional.
“We have cited in our outline a number of cases that evidence of motive, including evidence that a man’s longing to be with another woman other than his wife could be evidence of intent to murder.”
Interactive crime scene photographs, shown in court during the murder trial, go inside the western Brisbane home, including the main bedroom where Allison was last seen alive.Source:Supplied
The photos were taken by Queensland police officers at the Brookfield Road house four days after Allison was reported missing.Source:Supplied
But it was Baden-Clay’s conduct after his wife’s death that most pointed to the killing not being unintentional, Mr Sofronoff said.
Under the cover of darkness, he dumped the body of the mother of his three children in a creek, 14km from the family home.
Forensics experts were unable to determine a cause of death and it is still unknown whether Allison was dead or fatally injured when her body was disposed of.
Baden-Clay hid the continuation of the affair with Ms McHugh from police.
He told them scratches on his face were from a razor, as he had told his daughter, in a bid to give greater credence to the tale.
In fact, medical experts were unanimous in their agreement that there were two sets of marks on his face, one from a razor being dragged across, rather than down, and one most likely inflicted by fingernails.
And when it came to his trial, he continued to maintain he had no idea how his wife died.
“Did you kill your wife?” he was asked.
“No, I did not,” he replied.
“A reasonable jury could conclude (this behaviour) was inconsistent with the notion of a man who unintentionally killed his wife,” Mr Sofronoff said.
For Baden-Clay, whose presence was not required in court on Tuesday, Michael Byrne, QC, argued, as he successfully did on the Court of Appeal that there was insufficient evidence to point to intent to kill.
Unlike in the Court of Appeal, however, at least two of the judges seemed unconvinced.
“There is no evidence available that the accused intended to kill or do grievous bodily harm,” Mr Byrne said.
“All the evidence goes to show is there was an argument, then maybe a fight and she responded physically and she was dead.”
He dismissed the argument his client’s conduct after Allison’s disappearance pointed to him being guilty of intentionally killing her, saying thought there were “aspects of callousness” it did not prove murder.
“It’s important to note there was simply no evidence of violence between them and that came from their three children,” he said.
Justice Patrick Keane, one of the five judges who will decide Baden-Clay’s ultimate fate, appeared unconvinced by the change of tactic from complete denial of involvement in Allison’s death at trial, to admitting there was sufficient evidence to convict on manslaughter at appeal.
“He has had the opportunity to give the evidence, he has given the evidence, it is inconsistent with any notion at all that there was an unintended killing by him,” he said.
“Once he swears the circumstances of events were such the possibility of an unintended killing occurred … the evidence is inconsistent.”
Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for the death of his wife Allison has been set aside on appeal and a conviction of manslaughter substituted.Source:News Corp Australia
An overwhelming body of evidence points to the fact it was he who took her life — the scratches she left on his face, the foliage from their garden found in her hair and the drops of her blood discovered in the family car he used to drive her 14km to a creek bed, where he dumped her body.
When Allison Baden-Clay was reported missing by her husband on April 20, 2012, suspicion fell almost immediately upon him.
It intensified 10 days later when her body was found by a kayaker on the banks of the Kholo Creek.
It took a further six weeks for detectives investigating the mother-of-three’s death to charge him with her murder, a charge he has denied since.
Baden-Clay continues to deny he had any involvement in his wife’s death. But after a Supreme Court jury found him guilty of murder after a six-week trial in 2014, his defence team mounted a controversial change of tactic in the Court of Appeal, arguing there was sufficient evidence to make a finding of manslaughter but not of murder.
In a sensational ruling in late 2015, the Court of Appeal, led by Queensland’s Chief Justice, Catherine Holmes, agreed with the defence, setting aside the murder conviction and substituting manslaughter.
It prompted a massive public outcry, culminating in a public rally attended by thousands demanding “Justice for Allison”.
In a highly unusual move, the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the downgraded conviction in the High Court of Australia.
A five-member judicial bench will hear his argument for reinstatement of the murder conviction and the counter-arguments of Baden-Clay’s defence team.
The High Court has reserved its decision for a date to be set.
Allison’s parents Priscila and Geoff Dickie.Source:News Corp Australia
Gerard Baden-Clay: DPP files final documents in murder conviction downgrade appeal
The Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has submitted its final documents in the appeal case of convicted wife-killer Gerard Baden-Clay.
Last year, the Queensland Court of Appeal downgraded Baden-Clay’s murder conviction to manslaughter, saying the jury could not have proved beyond reasonable doubt the former real estate agent intended to kill his wife, Allison.
The DPP later lodged an appeal in the High Court against the manslaughter ruling, which it agreed to hear.
Baden-Clay’s lawyers argued there was no direct evidence to suggest their client caused Mrs Baden-Clay’s death or that he did so with intent.
But in reply, the DPP’s documents on Friday said Baden-Clay’s lawyers did not offer any explanation for Allison’s death throughout the murder trial itself and that their argument was that he did not kill her.
They said it was not permissible to now bring up “other possible explanations” for how she might have died.
The full bench of the High Court will now hear the appeal in Brisbane later this month.
Gerard Baden-Clay: Murder conviction downgrade appeal approved by High Court
The High Court has agreed to hear Queensland prosecutors appeal against the downgrading of Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for killing his wife Allison.
The court decided today, in Canberra, to hear the appeal, at a date yet to be fixed.
The Director of Public Prosecutions argue Queensland’s Court of Appeal got it wrong when they downgraded the conviction to manslaughter last December, saying there was a strong motive for murder.
The former real estate agent had yearned to be with his mistress, and he stood to gain a life insurance payout, the director said.
Allison’s badly decomposed body was found in Kholo Creek in May 2012, over a week after she disappeared from the family home.
Baden-Clay was jailed for life in 2014 but that was quashed in December.
Allison’s cousin Jodie Dann watched the High Court decision from the public gallery, but would not comment afterwards.
Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath broke news to sitting MPs shortly after the decision was announced, but also would not comment further as the matter was before the courts.
There was huge support for the Director of Prosecutions to appeal, more than 73,000 people signed a petition and thousands rallied in Brisbane’s King George Square when Baden-Clay’s conviction was downgraded in December.
His lawyers argued there was not enough evidence to prove he intentionally killed Allison, who may have fallen and hit her head during an argument.
They then suggested a hypothesis that he covered up the death, by dumping it in a local creek, out of panic.
‘Let justice do its course’
Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said Queenslanders could be confident the High Court made the right decision.
“This decision represents the best interpretation of the law, unaffected by bias or the relentless press of the 24/7 media cycle,” he said.
“It is important now to allow the final chapter of the legal process to play out according to the practices and procedures of the courts, and without hyperbolic media commentary.
“We need to remember that whatever people think of the result, this is the final act of a tragedy in which three daughters have lost a mother, two parents have lost a daughter, siblings a sister and we should not, as a community, allow this to turn into a sideshow.”
- Gerard Baden-Clay found guilty but Allison’s family dealt ‘life sentence’
- Baden-Clay trial almost fell over 10 days in
- Timeline: Baden-Clay murder trial
- Baden-Clay crowds a sign of healthy system: lawyer
- Crowds flock to public gallery for Baden-Clay trial
- Baden-Clay jury warned on download as it retires
From the moment Gerard Baden-Clay killed his wife Allison on April 19, 2012 – accidentally, Queensland’s highest court has now ruled – his focus was on just one thing: self-preservation.
His wife had vanished after going for a walk, he told the television cameras in the days after her disappearance, as he tearfully pleaded for her return.
In truth, he knew exactly where she was.
Under the Kholo Creek bridge, 13 kilometres from their home in Brisbane’s affluent west, where, under the cover of darkness on April 19, he drove her lifeless body and dumped it on the creek bed.
The presence of Allison Baden-Clay’s blood in the family Holden Captiva provided almost irrefutable proof that is what he did, while the scratches she left on his face as she fought him that night told investigators it was he who had killed her.
The foliage from their garden found in her hair told them he had done it at their Brookfield home.
The growing forensic evidence in the case overwhelmingly pointed to his guilt.
But Baden-Clay’s focus never wavered. It was self-preservation above all else.
Rather than confess he accidentally killed Allison after kayakers discovered her body on the creek bank, 10 days after she disappeared, he stood beside their three daughters at her funeral and played the grieving husband.
He protested his innocence when, six weeks later, detectives charged him with her murder and continued his protestations through his subsequent committal hearing and trial.
When Baden-Clay stood before a jury at his murder trial in 2014, he swore, under oath, he did not kill his wife.
Despite the physical evidence pointing to his guilt, the cocky prestige real estate agent who prided himself on his lineage to Scouts founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell had no doubt at the end of it all, he would be a free man.
So, it was a violently shaking Baden-Clay who sat in the Supreme Court dock after his trial jury returned their guilty verdict in 2014 and listened as Justice John Byrne sentenced him to life in jail.
His plan had failed. With a non-parole period of 15 years set, he was facing at least the next 13 years behind bars.
It was a time to try a change of tactic.
Just more than a year later, in the Queensland Court of Appeal, his lawyers publicly conceded for the first time that perhaps their client did kill his wife. Accidentally.
Defence counsel Michael Copley, QC, argued there was sufficient evidence available to conclude Allison died unlawfully but not to thrust it into the category of murder, which indicates some degree of intent.
“There was sufficient evidence available … that he had caused the death and done so unlawfully,” Mr Copley said.
“What evidence was there that elevated the case from unlawful killing to intentional killing?”
Queensland’s Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Byrne, QC argued the extreme lengths Baden-Clay took to cover up his crime and the continual denials he was involved in his wife’s death elevated it out of the realm of manslaughter and into that of murder.
In the end, however, appeal judges Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Justice Hugh Fraser and Justice Robert Gotterson had no choice but to agree with the defence argument.
While there was sufficient evidence to point to the now 44-year-old killing his wife of 15 years, the evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had intended to do so.
They found the murder conviction was an “unreasonable verdict”.
DPP appeals Baden-Clay downgrade
Published: 01 February 2016
Queensland DPP lodges submission appealing Gerard Baden-Clay’s downgraded conviction
The Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will today file a submission appealing the downgrade of Gerard Baden-Clay’s conviction from murder to manslaughter.
Baden-Clay was initially sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Alison in 2012, but the charge was since downgraded.
Today, the DPP will provide an outline of arguments as to why the High Court should reinstate Baden-Clay’s original murder conviction.
The Courier Mail also released an article today which reveals the opinion of a retired Supreme Court judge, who claims Queensland Court of Appeal “got it wrong”.
“The simple fact is the Court of Appeal got it wrong,” the former Supreme Court judge told the Courier Mail.
The judge’s identity has been concealed to avoid controversy.
More to come.
QUEENSLAND’S Director of Public Prosecutions will appeal Gerard Baden-Clay’s manslaughter verdict.
Baden-Clay, who was last year sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Allison, had his murder conviction downgraded to manslaughter in a shock appeal ruling earlier this month, sparking community anger.
DPP Michael Byrne QC will make an application to the High Court seeking special leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decision.
“I have been advised that the DPP intends to file the application when the High Court registry opens on Monday 4 January,” Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said in a statement on Wednesday. (scroll down for her full statement)
This will give the DPP 28 days to lodge an outline of argument with the High Court.
The defence will then be given 21 days to outline its argument before the High Court schedules a date to hear the applications.
Mr Byrne had advised Allison’s family of the decision to appeal on Wednesday morning after finalising his decision on Tuesday, Ms D’Ath said.
In its shock ruling, the Court of Appeal argued the jury that convicted Baden-Clay of murder last year couldn’t have known beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to kill Allison.
The decision outraged the community, with more than 100,000 people signing an online petition requesting the Queensland Attorney-General to file an appeal.
Thousands of people have also gathered in Brisbane’s CBD over the past fortnight to protest against the manslaughter verdict
Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said today: “I have been advised that the Director of Public Prosecutions has advised the Dickie family this morning that he will be making an application to the High Court seeking special leave to appeal the recent Court of Appeal decision that saw Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction downgraded to manslaughter. This has been the result of the DPP finalising his decision yesterday.
Thousands have attended a rally to protest the downgrading of Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction.
“I have been advised that the DPP intends to file the application when the High Court registry opens on Monday 4 January 2016. The process then provides the DPP with 28 days to lodge an outline of argument with the High Court. The defence will then have a further 21 days to do the same.
“Subject to these processes being finalised, the High Court will then schedule a date to hear the applications.
“Given this legal process is underway, I will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter.
Gerard Baden-Clay and the high bar for prosecution
How is Gerard Baden-Clay able to argue that he might have killed his wife accidently, when, at trial, he denied having anything to do with her death? Arlie Loughnan explains the appeal court’s decision.
The Queensland Court of Appeal has upheld Gerard Baden-Clay’s appeal against conviction for the murder of his wife, Allison Baden-Clay. The court overturned the jury’s verdict that Baden-Clay was guilty of murder, and substituted a conviction of manslaughter for Allison’s death.
From the time of Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance from her home, and the discovery of her body in April 2012, this case has attracted significant media attention. The crime and the trial coincided with increasing public awareness about family violence in general, and the deaths of women at the hands of their male partners in particular.
All the elements of the Baden-Clay case – the death of a much-loved woman with young children, and a middle-class family struck by infidelity, marriage problems, depression and debt – propelled the case to the front page in newspapers around the country.
Gerard Baden-Clay was tried for murder in 2014. As it was not possible to determine what caused Mrs Baden-Clay’s death, the trial hinged on circumstances surrounding her disappearance and death – the evidence of her blood in her car, the scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay’s face, and his account of his actions at around the time of the crime. A jury convicted Baden-Clay of Allison Baden-Clay’s murder. He was sentenced to life in prison and required to serve a minimum of 15 years’ jail time.
Baden-Clay appealed the decision. Arguing that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable, and questioning the trial judge’s summing up of the evidence, Baden-Clay sought to have his conviction overturned. Baden-Clay claimed that the jury could not have been satisfied to the criminal standard of proof – beyond reasonable doubt – that he had the necessary intent for murder.
In Queensland, murder requires a lethal act, and an intent to kill or commit grievous bodily harm. The issue on appeal was whether the evidence introduced at trial could support the jury’s conclusion that Allison Baden-Clay’s death was murder, not manslaughter – an unlawful killing that falls short of murder.
Allowing Baden-Clay’s appeal, the Queensland Court of Appeal concluded that the prosecution case had not ruled out the possibility that Gerard Baden-Clay killed his wife without intending serious harm, and that he disposed of her body at Kholo Creek, and lied about the causes of the marks on his face to cover up his actions. This meant that the jury’s conclusion that the killing was murder could not be sustained.
Although the finding that Baden-Clay was responsible for his wife’s death has not been questioned, his successful appeal has raised questions about our criminal justice system. It seems hard to understand how Baden-Clay is able to argue that he might have killed his wife accidently, when, at trial, he denied having anything to do with her death, and knowing nothing about how her body ended up at the creek.
It’s important to recall that, under our laws, the accused does not have to prove his innocence – it’s up to the prosecution to prove guilt. The presumption of innocence is a cardinal feature of our criminal justice system. It means that the accused person can test the case against him, and that his ‘defence’ can be that the prosecution have not made out the charge against him. This sets a high bar for the prosecution, but it is a protection against wrongful convictions.
Our criminal court system has to strike a balance between two fundamental goals. On the one side is the principle of finality – whereby a trial court’s adjudication of a matter concludes the legal issues for the accused and the victims. On the other side, the court system must also provide for review of any errors made by courts in trial or sentence.
This is where appeal courts come in – reviewing decisions where there may have been a mistake that affected the outcome, and safeguarding the high esteem in which our justice system is held.
The action of an appeal court overturning a jury decision is not that common, and does not cast doubt on the integrity and the value of jury decisions in criminal trials in general. Juries are central to the operation of criminal trials and the involvement of lay people in criminal justice is regarded as a positive feature of our system. Juries participating in criminal trials, and courts of appeal reviewing decision-making, are each key aspects of the legitimacy of our criminal laws and processes.
Arlie Loughnan is Associate Professor in Law at University of Sydney.
Major update 8th December 2015.
The day the Justice System proved it is BROKEN. please share your thoughts in the comments section!
NOW we know when a woman’s murder is not a murder.
It’s when a man who swore throughout his five-week trial that he had nothing to do with it and gets convicted of murder changes makes an appeal to argue his wife’s death was ‘unintentional’. And wins.
It seems incredible that while Gerard Baden-Clay insisted he had no hand in his wife’s 2012 death during a trial involving hundreds of witness statements, he can say on appeal that he did cause it — by accident — and be believed.
You can’t have it both ways — be completely uninvolved but also have killed someone — but now you can, apparently. What a joke.
Where is the justice in this decision for the dead mother of three young girls? Where are the consequences for a man who may now be free in five years.
The shock felt by those close to the late Mrs Baden-Clay as they learned her husband would get away with manslaughter is echoing across social media as Australians react angrily.
Many are justifiably struggling to believe that Queensland appeal judges found there was not reasonable evidence Baden-Clay intended to kill his wife because it wasn’t proven he meant to do it.
One Twitter user summed up the sentiments of many when he wrote: “That’s one small step for low-life, one giant leap backwards in the fight against domestic violence #endviolenceagainstwomen”.
How disgusting that just a few years is all a woman’s life is worth if the injuries on her body are not bad enough to implicate intent to kill or there’s not enough blood in the house to imply a struggle, or no recorded history of domestic violence.
Newsflash Queensland justice system: Many woman never report abuse, and can you blame them when they see outcomes such as this.
As Australia grapples with an epidemic of violence against women that has claimed an average two women’s lives a week this year, this verdict is an insult to every woman killed by a partner or ex.
It’s a mockery of the pain of relatives of dead women and a message to women living in fear of death at the hands of their partner that the justice system has holes the size of Uluru.
As Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty and former Victorian police chief Ken Lay have kept family violence high in the public consciousness in 2015, prompting grumbles about too much talk of it dominating media.
But with findings like this potentially opening the cell doors after an obscenely short stretch for someone who killed their partner can there ever be enough?
Gerard Baden-Clay may soon be free to resume normal life with the children he caused to be motherless. Allison is still dead.
The fight for real justice for victims of violence against women in Australia must now go up a gear. This finding shames the lot of us.
Gerard Baden-Clay: Murder conviction downgraded to manslaughter over death of wife Allison
Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for killing his wife Allison has been downgraded to manslaughter.
Court of Appeal Justice Hugh Fraser set aside the murder finding today.
During Baden-Clay’s appeal four months ago, his lawyers argued he panicked and unintentionally killed the mother-of-three during an argument at their home in Brookfield, in Brisbane’s west.
In delivering their findings, the Court of Appeal judges found that while Baden-Clay lied about the cause of the marks on his face and tried to hide his wife’s body, there was a reasonable hypothesis he was innocent of murder.
They found the jury could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the element of intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm had been proved.
Baden-Clay, 45, reported his wife missing in April 2012 and her body was found 10 days later beside a creek.
He was convicted last year and jailed for life, with a non-parole period of 15 years.
Baden-Clay’s lawyer Peter Shields said there was immense public interest in the case, and urged the public to read the findings before they criticise the decision.
“They were very considered reasons of a very experienced court,” he said.
“I do think the public understand that it is open justice.
“They can make their own view, based on the facts.”
Allison’s family said they were disappointed by the decision and remained supportive of the original findings of the court.
“[The family] await the legal process to play out in the hope that justice for Allison will be served,” a statement released by the Dickie family said.
“As always, the efforts of the family remain centred around the wellbeing of Allison’s daughters, who now face a further period of uncertainty.”
Appeal begins for Gerard Baden-Clay
12.25pm: The appeal hearing has finished and the three judges have reserved their decision. They will give a written judgement, expected within three months.
12.23pm: Mr Copley, for Baden-Clay, said Allison’s blood in her car could have been from “some innocent incident” on another day.
12.21pm: Justice Catherine Holmes put to Mr Byrne the scenario that there had been an argument between Baden-Clay and his wife and that she had fallen, hit her head and died and that he had panicked.
“What’s wrong with that as a reasonable hypothesis,” Justice Holmes said.
Mr Byrne said the trial judge left murder open to the jury because there was such a long period of denials by Baden-Clay including his lengthy court testimony. Mr Byrne has concluded his arguments and defence barrister Michael Copley is addressing the court again.
12.05pm: Michael Byrne QC, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions said the evidence suggested it was likely Allison was put in the third row of seating of her Holden Captiva and transported to Kholo Creek Bridge after a fatal attack.
“It’s a short series of dots to connect the proposition he drove her there but it is still not one that needed to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.”
He added that if the jury inferred the blood in her car was from after the fatal attack, it indicated there had been an injury to hide that may have been undetectable due to decomposition.
11.55am: Mr Byrne said the lack of conclusive opinion from experts on the finer scratches did not affect the jury’s ability to reach their verdict.
Moving on to the other defence arguments, Mr Byrne went through some of the key evidence against Baden-Clay.
He said the former real estate agent must have known of the possibility his wife and mistress would meet at a conference they were both to attend on the day he reported her missing.
“There are scratches to his face that were not there on the 19th (the day before she was reported missing).
“There is the leaf litter which is in our submission significant.”
The fact there were six different types of leaf all of which could be found in or adjacent to the couple’s property was a telling feature, he said.
When all the factors were put together, it was not necessary for the Crown to show Baden-Clay moved his wife’s body to the bridge for a murder verdict to be open.
11.44am: Gerard’s defence barrister has concluded his arguments and Michael Byrne QC, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, has begun addressing the court about the Crown case.
Mr Byrne, addressing the defence grounds for the appeal, said there had been evidence the broader marks on Baden-Clay’s face were older than the finer injuries.
It was open for the jury to accept the broader marks were from fingernails and the finer marks from a razor at a later time, and to infer Baden-Clay had attempted to disguise the scratch marks.
11.32am: Allison Baden-Clay’s death could have been from an unintentional killing arising out of an argument, making a murder conviction unreasonable, her husband Gerard’s defence barrister has told the court.
The argument could have been related to his affair with former staffer Toni McHugh and may have escalated to violence, resulting in the scratches on Baden-Clay’s face.
He was then left with a “dead wife”, and the situation of people knowing about the affair and his promises to Ms McHugh that he would leave his wife by July 1.
“And he’s panicked,” Mr Copley said.
“A jury could not rationally conclude he murdered his wife based on the fact he told a lie about how the injuries were inflicted.
“The possibility is open that everything he did in the days after the killing was attributable to panic.”
11.22am: Continuing his argument that the verdict was unreasonable, defence barrister Michael Copley said the couple’s daughters had not heard any screaming or fighting on the night and no blood was found in the house.
“There were scratches to his face but the contention is and was those scratches don’t reveal anything at all about the intention that he had when he was engaged in some sort of (altercation) with his wife.”
The scratches revealed only that Allison was “close enough” to inflict them and that there was some sort of altercation.
The “fact the doctor can’t determine the cause of death” was strongly in favour of a conclusion the death was other than intentional.
Prosecutors had argued the scratches were inflicted by Allison in self-defence “fighting for her life”.
But there were other possible explanations including that they were inflicted in anger or in the course of a struggle, Mr Copley said.
There was nothing to show if Alison had scratched her husband at the start or an argument or during the middle, with all possibilities open.
11.13am: The defence says the prosecution had asserted there was an accumulation of pressures on Baden-Clay, including from his long-running affair with his former staffer Toni McHugh.
But the evidence did not support that Baden-Clay was going to leave his wife, Mr Copley said.
“He told his wife in 2010 he no longer loved her. But…he didn’t act on the absence of love.
“He stayed in the marriage.”
The affair with Ms McHugh was discovered in 2011 and Baden-Clay still stayed at the home.
“The notion he was moving towards a departure from his wife is not sustainable.”
Prosecutors had also cited the business pressures on Baden-Clay and the fact he had borrowed money from friends and not paid them back.
“Sure there were financial pressures but my contention … is that hadn’t increased dramatically. That hadn’t changed substantially.”
11am: Baden-Clay’s defence barrister has told the court the murder conviction was unreasonable.
“What evidence was there that elevated the case from an unlawful killing to one of an unintentional killing?” Mr Copley said.
He said a premeditated killing had not been alleged, with prosecutors stating “there was uncharacteristic conduct engaged in by my client”.
There was no evidence of prior violence in the relationship and no evidence either party were abusers of illicit drugs or alcohol, he said.
10.50am: The next element of the appeal was that the jury should have been directed they needed to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Baden-Clay put his wife’s body at the creek where she was found, before they could rely on that conduct as capable of proving he killed his wife.
Justice Holmes asked Mr Copley: “How do you get there?”
“Why couldn’t you come to the conclusion he was the killer without needing to know how it was the body arrived at the creek?” Justice Holmes said.
“Why couldn’t he have called someone … to aid him to take the body away?”
10.45am: Before moving on to the other grounds of the appeal, Mr Copley concluded that experts had not agreed definitively that the smaller marks on Baden-Clay’s face were caused at a different time and by a different implement.
The jury had been invited to infer guilt from evidence which had not been established, he said.
“The evil of that is for all we know the leading of that circumstance could have … tipped the balance in favour of a verdict of guilt in the minds of some or all of the members of the jury. We just don’t know.”
10.30am: In terms of the timing of when the facial injuries occurred, an expert gave evidence at the trial that he could not separate the various injuries from photos, Mr Copley said,
“If the experts couldn’t say whether those injuries … had been inflicted at a different time … how could the jury have been capable of resolving (the matter)?”
The prosecution had to show the injuries on Baden-Clay’s face were inflicted at different times and by a different implement, otherwise there wasn’t a disguising element, he said.
Justice Catherine Holmes suggested both sides agreed at trial that the smaller red marks on Baden-Clay’s face were razor marks, as Gerard had said he cut himself shaving.
10:20am: Defence barrister Michael Copley QC opened the appeal by discussing injuries on Baden-Clay’s face.
He said prosecutors left it to the jury to conclude he tried to disguise scratches on his face by making further smaller injuries with a razor, and that this was evidence he had murdered his wife.
He says the evidence didn’t establish that the smaller marks on Baden-Clay’s face were made at a different time than larger scratches.
Earlier: At least 150 people have gathered in the public gallery of the Banco court, a half an hour before Gerard Baden-Clay’s appeal.
Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, Allison Baden-Clay’s parents, are in the front row with s large family contingent wearing yellow ribbons.
Gerard Baden-Clay: Court of Appeal reserves decision over murder conviction
The Court of Appeal in Brisbane has reserved its decision on a challenge against Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction.
Lawyers appealing against Baden-Clay’s life sentence, with a 15-year non-parole period, for the murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay in 2012 today said it was possible he unintentionally killed her.
The appeal decision will be handed down at a later date.
Ms Baden-Clay’s parents, Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, were among the 200 people present in court as legal counsel for the former real estate agent appeal on four grounds, namely that:
- The verdict of murder was unreasonable;
- A miscarriage of justice occurred because the jury was not directed on evidence relating to the presence of Allison’s blood in the car;
- The trial judge erred in law in not directing the jury over evidence relating to the placement of Allison’s body at Kholo Creek;
- The trial judge also erred in leaving to the jury that Baden-Clay attempted to disguise marks on his face by making razor cuts.
Barrister Michael Copley QC, who alongside high-profile solicitor Peter Shields, was representing Baden-Clay, argued the fourth appeal ground first.
There’re no injuries on the body consistent with an intentional killing.Michael Copley QC, representing Gerard Baden-Clay
Police had noticed scratches on the right-hand side of Baden-Clay’s face when they visited the family’s rented Brookfield home in response to his triple-0 call in April 2012.
Baden-Clay insisted he had cut himself shaving, but experts told the court during the six-week trial, they were more “typical of fingernail scratches” not “a razor blade injury”.
Mr Copley questioned the crown’s claim that scratches on Baden-Clay’s face were signs of Allison fighting for her life.
He said the scratches revealed that Allison had been close enough to scratch her husband and that their relationship was not in good shape.
But he said the marks did not reveal why she scratched him.
Mr Copley said there were no injuries on Allison’s body consistent with an intentional killing, which he said favoured an unintentional killing.
“A jury could not rationally conclude that he murdered his wife based upon the fact he told a lie about how the injuries were inflicted,” he said.
“There’re no injuries on the body consistent with an intentional killing.”
Earlier in the appeal hearing, Mr Copley argued that experts could not say whether two sets of marks on Baden-Clay’s face occurred at different times or were made by different implements, yet the jury was asked to do so.
“The jury was invited to infer a path of guilt to murder on the basis of conduct the evidence did not establish the appellant engaged in,” Mr Copley said.
Prosecutor Michael Byrne, who was acting for the Crown, said an expert did testify at trial that marks to Baden-Clay’s face were done at different times and open to the jury to consider.
He said medical witnesses were entitled to use their common sense and experience, and jurors were entitled to decide for themselves.
Mr Byrne said a lack of conclusive evidence from the experts was not prohibitive for the jury to act on.
‘No evidence that there had ever been violence between the parties’
In arguing the first point of the appeal, that the verdict of murder was unreasonable, Mr Copley said: “There was no evidence in this case that there had ever been violence between the parties.”
Mr Copley said part of the Crown’s argument at trial was that pressure from Baden-Clay’s mistress contributed to Allison’s death.
He said evidence in regard to Baden-Clay’s intentions concerning his wife and mistress were at best equivocal.
He said the notion that Baden-Clay was moving towards a departure from his wife was not sustainable from evidence at trial.
Mr Copley then moved on to financial pressures.
“Sure there were financial pressures … but they hadn’t increased substantially, they hadn’t changed dramatically,” he said.
Allison Baden-Clay was last seen on April 19, 2012.
Her husband reported her missing the next day, sparking a major police and SES search.
Ten days later her body was found on the banks of the Kholo Creek at Anstead.
Suspicion centred on Baden-Clay but it was not until nearly seven weeks later he was arrested and charged.
He has always maintained his innocence.
Baden-Clay was not at today’s hearing.
He remains at Wolston Correctional Centre where he has been since last year’s sentencing.
- Baden-Clay launches appeal against murder conviction
- Allison Baden-Clay’s family detail their pain and devastation
- Allison Baden-Clay murder: family members detail pain and devastation in statements to court
Timeline: Baden-Clay murder trialBy Josh Bavas and staff
Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay has been found guilty of murdering his wife Allison in April 2012.
Her body was found on a creek bank 10 days after her husband reported her missing from their home in nearby Brookfield.
Baden-Clay was charged with murdering his wife and interfering with a corpse, pleading not guilty to both charges.
And so began a month-long trial involving hundreds of witness statements and garnering massive public interest.
Take a look back at how Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance and the resulting murder trial unfolded.
April 20, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay calls police about 7:30am to report his wife missing.
Police seek public help to find 43-year-old Allison Baden-Clay, reported missing since the previous night.
Authorities say she was last seen at her house on Brookfield Road wearing grey tracksuit pants and a dark top.
April 22, 2012
Inspector Mark Laing confirms Gerard Baden-Clay crashed his car into a bus terminal outside Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.
April 23, 2012
A major incident room is set up at Indooroopilly police station for investigation into Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance.
Her parents make a public appeal for help to find their daughter.
Allison’s mother Priscilla Dickie makes an emotional plea to the media.
“Please, please help us to find our dear Allison,” she said.
Police ask local residents to search their properties for even the smallest piece of information.
Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance is being treated as a missing person case; not a criminal investigation.
He says Gerard Baden-Clay is not a person of interest.
Allison Baden-Clay’s father Geoff Dickie praises efforts of police and SES in trying to locate his daughter over the previous weekend.
“We are overwhelmed by the support in trying to locate Allison,” he said.
“Please help us because there are three beautiful little girls – of Allison’s – wanting to see their mother as soon as possible.”
April 24, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay speaks to the media outside his house.
“I’m trying to look after my children at the moment, we’ve got three young girls. We really trust that the police are doing everything they can to find my wife,” he said.
April 26, 2012
A prayer vigil is held for Allison.
Reverend Beverley Bell from the Anglican Parish of Kenmore says it is a difficult time for the community.
“Just not knowing what’s happened and there’s that sense of helplessness; what can we do?” he said.
Detectives seize bags of material from the Baden-Clay house and Gerard Baden-Clay’s office.
April 27, 2012
Brisbane police step up efforts to find Allison Baden-Clay by setting up a mannequin outside her family home at Brookfield.
The mannequin is wearing clothing similar to what the 43-year-old was in when she was last seen by her husband.
Emergency crews widen their search area.
April 28, 2012
Allison Baden-Clay has been missing for more than a week.
Police say they still have few leads despite the major investigation.
Gerard Baden-Clay releases a brief statement to media thanking the public for their support, saying his priority is the welfare of his wife and their three daughters.
April 30, 2012
A canoeist discovers a woman’s body on a creek bank under Kholo Bridge Crossing at Anstead in Brisbane’s west, 11 days after Allison Baden-Clay disappeared.
Police remove the body and confirm they are now treating Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance as a homicide investigation.
Investigators wait for formal identification.
Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says police are taking seriously the possibility that the body belongs to Allison Baden-Clay and her family is notified.
“They’re devastated. You can’t explain it any other way,” he said.
Police appeal for information from anyone who may have seen anything in the area the night she disappeared, including either of the family’s cars.
May 1, 2012
Police confirm the body found is that of Allison Baden-Clay.
Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says her death is officially being treated as a murder investigation.
“At this stage we are looking at an unlawful homicide investigation – we have been looking at that for some time now; we believe it has reached that level some time ago,” he said.
Gerard Baden-Clay says he is devastated by the loss of his wife.
In a statement released by his lawyer, Baden-Clay says his primary concern now is the care of his three daughters.
He says he just wants to provide his children with some stability and normality given the tragic news and despite “the unrelenting media barrage”.
A few kilometres away at Kenmore, Baden-Clay’s parents emerge from their home and lower their Australian flag to half mast.
Neighbours do the same before they all hug each other in grief.
Meanwhile, a SIM card is discovered in bushland near the search area.
May 2, 2012
Police say they are confident they will find the killer of Allison Baden-Clay.
Investigators say a mobile phone SIM card found at the scene has no link to the case.
Police say a post-mortem examination on the body will determine the next phase of the investigation.
Gerard Baden-Clay asks the media for privacy and to let police do their investigations.
May 10, 2012
Police are stationed at a roundabout near the Baden-Clays’ Brookfield home.
Police set up a roadblock on Brookfield Road and speak to drivers, hoping to glean information which may help with their investigation.
Detectives want to hear from anyone driving in the area the night before Allison Baden-Clay was reported missing.
May 11, 2012
A funeral service is held at St Paul’s Anglican Church at Ipswich, west of Brisbane.
Hundreds of mourners come to pay their respects, including Allison’s immediate family and husband Gerard Baden-Clay.
Her sister Vanessa Fowler says there are still many questions left unanswered about the circumstances surrounding the 43-year-old’s death.
“We, your family, pledge to you that we will have these questions answered. We will bring you justice because you deserve nothing less,” she said.
“Allison, your loss has been felt throughout the entire country by people who do not know you.”
Mourners are asked to donate to an appeal to support the Baden-Clays’ three young daughters.
The cause of her death remains unknown.
May 18, 2012
Police again say they are confident they will make an arrest over her murder, four weeks after she was reported missing by her husband.
Police say the killing was not random and the killer was known to Allison but they are yet to make an arrest.
It is believed police are still awaiting autopsy and toxicology results to confirm her cause of death.
May 25, 2012
Police say they are continuing to examine a wide range of evidence.
May 29, 2012
Detectives investigating receive the toxicology results but will not release them publicly.
June 13, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay talks to police at the Indooroopilly police station for several hours.
His lawyers say he is expected to be charged with her murder later tonight. They say he is devastated and will vigorously defend the charge.
Baden-Clay tells police Allison disappeared after going for a late night walk from their home.
He is remanded in custody, formally interviewed and charged with murder and interfering with a corpse.
June 14, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay appears in Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with murder, about two months after first reporting his wife missing.
Prosecution grants a forensic order to allow police to obtain a DNA sample from him.
His lawyers say the charges will be vigorously defended, and lodge a bail application in the Supreme Court.
Residents around Brookfield tell the media of their shock.
June 21, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay’s bail application begins in the Supreme Court.
June 22, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay loses his bail application in the Supreme Court with Justice David Boddice saying the accused posed a significant flight risk.
Prosecutor Danny Boyle earlier argued that Baden-Clay had a financial motive for killing his wife and also cited entries in Allison’s journal suggest the couple may have discussed an affair he had been having with a co-worker.
Mr Baden-Clay’s barrister, Peter Davis SC, says the Crown’s case is circumstantial and weak.
June 24, 2012
A fundraiser is held for Baden-Clay’s three daughters.
Mike Kaye from the Brookfield Uniting Cricket Club says the fundraiser is important to the family.
“It’s an opportunity for Allison’s parents Geoff and Priscilla and brothers and sisters to thank the community for their support and also for all those who were out there searching,” he said.
July 9, 2012
The case returns to Brisbane Magistrates Court for a hearing.
Magistrate Chris Callaghan says he is “flabbergasted” upon hearing it will take five months for police to fully examine the financial affairs of Gerard Baden-Clay.
The court hears there will be 330 statements tendered to the defence but the prosecution says it will not have a forensic accountant’s report until November.
The prosecution has been ordered to provide most of the brief of evidence to Baden-Clay’s lawyers within six weeks.
September 3, 2012
The matter returns to court where Baden-Clay’s lawyers express frustration that prosecutors still have not provided them with all of the witness statements.
Prosecutor Danny Boyle tells the court 446 witness statements have already been provided to defence team but five statements, described as crucial, remain outstanding.
The prosecution is ordered to provide outstanding documents by the end of the week.
September 5, 2012
A Supreme Court Judge, Justice Glenn Martin, gives Allison’s father Geoffrey James Dickie temporary control of her estate, including her life insurance policy.
If Baden-Clay is acquitted of his wife’s murder he will resume his role as executor of her will.
If he is convicted, Allison’s parents will be able to go back to court for a permanent order granting them control of their daughter’s estate.
December 14, 2012
Gerard Baden-Clay’s defence lawyer lodges a bail application in Supreme Court for the second time.
His lawyer argues the Crown case has been weakened by the results of a post-mortem examination.
They say it shows Allison Baden-Clay had traces of an anti-depressant drug in her blood – leaving open the possibility that she took her own life.
But Justice Peter Applegarth dismisses the application, ruling there was no material change of circumstances and the strength of Crown case was unaffected by the results.
February 6, 2013
The Federal Court orders nearly $800,000 from two life insurance policies for Allison Baden-Clay will be held in trust by the court.
Justice John Dowsett agrees the court should hold the money until after Gerard Baden-Clay faces trial.
March 11-20, 2013
Gerard Baden-Clay’s committal hearing begins.
The Crown alleges Baden-Clay killed his wife because he wanted her insurance payouts to clear his debts and to be with his mistress.
The court hears his wife had suffered from depression and had used medication to cope and that her marriage was troubled.
Witnesses tell the court about hearing a woman yell the night Allison disappeared.
A forensic expert says he believes injuries to Gerard Baden-Clay, which were photographed by police after he reported his wife missing, were caused by fingernail scratches.
Allison’s friend Kerry Anne Walker is the first of more than 40 witnesses to testify.
Queensland MP Dr Bruce Flegg tells the court he heard a woman scream on the night before Allison was reported missing.
Speaking outside the court, Dr Flegg explains his decision not to report it to police that night, saying: “There was nothing to suggest it would be a criminal or police related matter.”
Dr Flegg says he has known Gerard Baden-Clay “for a long time”.
A senior Queensland Health forensic expert says some of Baden-Clay’s facial injuries may have been scratch marks but says it is possible some were caused by shaving.
Two former real estate partners testify Baden-Clay was in debt and was warned to leave his wife or mistress or he would lose their business association.
Queensland Police Service forensic accountant Kelly Beckett tells court Gerard Baden-Clay’s net financial position was about $70,000 and he owed more than $300,000 to family and friends.
Baden-Clay’s former mistress Toni McHugh tells the court he told her to lay low in the days after his wife’s disappearance and that he could not afford a divorce.
His lawyer says he is determined to clear his name.
Outside court, Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton defends her brother after speaking to the media for the first time.
“Gerard is an innocent man and I’m here because I continue to support him,” she said.
Outside court, Baden-Clay’s lawyer Darren Mahony says he believes the cross-examination of 40 witnesses went in his client’s favour.
“We’re of the view that the evidence against Mr Baden-Clay has been significantly weakened by cross-examination during the court process,” he said.
December 19, 2013
Supreme Court Justice James Douglas argues marriage counsellor Ms Carmel Ritchie from Relationships Australia should give evidence at a pre-trial hearing about anything said during counselling sessions.
Ms Ritchie tries to prevent evidence from the sessions being used in court, arguing it is protected by confidentiality provisions of the Family Law Act.
February 3-4, 2014
Gerard Baden-Clay’s re-trial hearing begins in Supreme Court.
The court hears from pathologist Dr Nathan Milne who conducted the autopsy on Allison Baden-Clay.
Counsellor Carmel Ritchie also gives evidence, saying Allison told her she had taken an anti-malarial tablet during her honeymoon that had caused psychotic episodes, depression and panic attacks.
Ms Ritchie tells the court Allison spoke of: her husband’s affair with an employee; how she had confronted him when she found out; and he was now honest and taking responsibility.
Ms Ritchie also speaks of a separate counselling session with Gerard Baden-Clay where they discussed the affair.
June 2, 2014
The pre-trial hearing continues.
The court hears potential jurors will be polled prior to their selection and will be asked:
- If they or their immediate family lived in Anstead, Bellbowrie, Brookfield or Chapel Hill in April 2012;
- If they have ever contributed funds relating to the disappearance or death of Allison Baden-Clay;
- Whether they have ever expressed a view as to the guilt or innocence of Gerard Baden-Clay.
June 9, 2014
A jury of seven men and five women, plus three reserves, is selected.
June 10, 2014
The murder trial begins.
Gerard Baden-Clay officially pleads not guilty in the Supreme Court to murdering his wife more than two years ago.
Justice John Byrne tells jury members to ignore all media coverage of the case during the next four weeks.
July 9, 2014
After a month-long trial, the prosecution and the defence finish wrapping up their final arguments.
Justice John Byrne begins summing up the case for the jurors.
July 15, 2014
Baden-Clay is found guilty of murder.