By Emma Younger
Notorious murderer and rapist Adrian Bayley has won an appeal against a rape conviction, with his 43-year minimum jail term reduced to 40 years.
Bayley, 44, was serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of Melbourne woman Jill Meagher in 2012 when he was convicted of three subsequent rapes.
The Victorian Court of Appeal has upheld his appeal against one of those convictions, the rape of a sex worker in St Kilda in 2000.
The court heard the sex worker had made a statement to police after she identified Bayley as her attacker when she was looking at a missing persons page on Facebook for Ms Meagher in 2012.
The Court of Appeal ruled the victim’s identification evidence should not have been allowed at the jury trial as she had recognised Bayley from a single photograph taken 12 years after she was raped.
The court ruled it is also likely she already knew Bayley had been charged with the rape and murder of Ms Meagher.
The appeal judges found even less weight should have been given to the victim then identifying Bayley on a photo board made up by police after they had informed her he had been charged with her rape.
But even if the identification evidence had been allowed at the trial, the court found a properly instructed jury would still not have been able to convict Bayley as the evidence was so weak.
His appeals against a second rape conviction and the sentence for a third were dismissed.
‘Little optimism’ for Bayley’s chance of rehabilitation, court says
In re-sentencing Bayley, the Court of Appeal judges acknowledged his offending had been utterly abhorrent and “left little optimism concerning his prospects for rehabilitation”.
Barrister Saul Holt QC represented Bayley in the appeals pro-bono, after Victorian Legal Aid rejected two applications for a taxpayer-funded lawyer.