A criminal law expert believes Gerard Baden-Clay is sure to appeal his conviction for murdering his wife Allison.
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,” Prof Douglas told AAP.
“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.
Prof 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.”
Prof 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.”