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Solution For Threatened Flood Of Criminal Appeals

Court of Appeal judges have in their hands a simple way of ensuring they are not buried in appeals following the Privy Council's correct finding that procedures were shonky, ACT Justice Spokesman MP Stephen Franks said today.

"At the same time the Court could deliver proper justice for the relatives of murder victims who are distraught at the prospect of fresh appeals.

"All the Court of Appeal needs to do is ensure that at the first re-hearings, sentences which are plainly too low will be substantially increased.

"That seems to me to apply to the 13-year non-parole period given to Philip Smith. Thirteen years was far too little for killing the father of a boy he had abused, while on bail on the abuse charge. Comparison with Lundy and others given 17 years say the court has ample reason to increase the sentence on appeal.

"If and when lawyer Tony Ellis brings the appeal on behalf of Smith, I hope the Court of Appeal grants him legal aid and hears the appeal orally as they should have done in the beginning. They can then achieve real justice, which in his case would be at least 25 years in prison," Mr Franks said.

Ends

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