Rosie Batty 'gutted' by Gerard Baden-Clay manslaughter ruling.


Anti-domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty said she was stunned by the Queensland Court of Appeal ruling that downgraded Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction to manslaughter.

Queensland’s Chief Justice Catherine Holmes and two other Court of Appeal judges set aside last year’s trial verdict on Tuesday and changed it to manslaughter.

They found no solid evidence the former real estate agent, 45, intended to kill his wife, Allison, and said it was possible he killed her unintentionally during a violent clash.

Baden-Clay is now due to be re-sentenced in the new year.

Ms Batty, who became Australian of the Year in recognition for her national campaign against domestic violence since the death of her son, said she could not understand the court’s decision.

“It absolutely sends the same message that I’m saying all of the time, that we undermine, disregard a victim in a violent relationship,” she said.

“You know, the other high-profile case [of Oscar Pistorious] in South Africa, the same thing.

“Why is it so hard to believe when there is history of violence that that murder is not intentional?”

Ms Batty addressed a forum on the Sunshine Coast today and said the Baden-Clay decision had left her feeling “totally gutted”.

“I just can’t believe — and I don’t know whether I should say so or not — I just cannot believe a history of violence that’s very clear can be appealed and made to be manslaughter,” she said.

Queensland Government still considering legal response.

Queensland’s acting Attorney-General Cameron Dick said he was looking at the possibility of challenging the Court of Appeal ruling but that he was mindful of what he could say publicly about the case.


“I don’t want to say anything that might prejudice an appeal in this case, so we will be very careful in how we proceed from here,” he said.

“What we need to do is obtain the advice first of the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the prospects of success on an appeal, consider that, and then determine where we go from there.

“The state has 28 days within which to lodge an appeal.

“We want to give this full and detailed consideration. I think everyone would expect that the state would do that. That’s what we will do.”

While manslaughter also carries a maximum life sentence, legal experts said Baden-Clay was now facing a much shorter jail term and could be eligible for parole by 2020 if the median sentence was applied.

“For the maximum penalty to be imposed, it’s usually reserved for the very worst sorts of offences within that category,” QUT law school lecturer Dr Nigel Stobbs said.

“In relation to the Baden-Clay killing, we don’t even have a precise cause of death and a lot of the circumstances are just circumstantial and vague.”

Professor Heather Douglas from the University of Queensland’s law school said the median manslaughter sentence was eight years, but jail terms of four years were not unusual.

“There have been cases of non-custodial sentences for manslaughter,” she said.

“It’s very difficult to predict.”

This post originally appeared on ABC News.