Queensland tougher on partner killers than NSW
Domestic violence murderers in Queensland are getting life sentences while perpetrators of similar crimes in NSW are sometimes facing as little as 13 years.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has revealed she backs a potential reform of domestic violence murder sentences and Police Commissioner Mick Fuller says the Force "are often frustrated at the sentences".
A News Corp Australia investigation yesterday in our Life for a Life domestic violence campaign showed how out of more than 150 cases in NSW since 1991 there had never been a case where someone received a life sentence solely for killing their female partner.
In one case last week, NSW Supreme Court Justice David Davies had said according to the law he couldn't give a domestic violence killer a life sentence because he had murdered his partner, not a stranger.
Justice Davies had also said the man would be unlikely to reoffend because it was "fanciful" he would find a wife after his release.
Known only as AKB, the 45-year-old man had burnt his wife to death in front of their two young children.
Instead of life, the killer was given a 36-year sentence with the possibility of parole in 2043, with Justice Davies saying it was a "bad" crime, but not in the "worst category of murder".
Last night Ms Berejiklian revealed she backed Attorney-General Mark Speakman in seeking advice on a potential reform.
"The case before the Supreme Court was absolutely appalling and I extend my deepest sympathies to the children of the victim and her relatives and loved ones," she said.
"I welcome and support the Attorney-General's decision to seek advice about potential reform in this area.
As previously outlined, the Attorney-General has also asked the Director of Public Prosecutions to consider whether an appeal against the sentenced should be commenced."
In Queensland yesterday, Arona Peniamina, 38, was sentenced to life behind bars after being found guilty of the 2016 murder of wife Sandra.
The 29-year-old died in the driveway of her home after being repeatedly stabbed and hit in the head with a fence bollard. His non-parole period is 20 years.
Brock Wall, 38, was also given two life sentences in August this year after he killed his 11-weeks pregnant partner Fabiana Palhares with an axe at her Gold Coast home in 2015.
But in NSW even those who have murdered their pregnant partners have not received life sentences.
Joshua Scott Homann stabbed his partner, Kirralee Paepaerei, to death in their Mount Druitt home in 2015, stabbing her 49 times.
The mother-of-four was 21 weeks pregnant and had picked out a name for her unborn baby.
Homann was sentenced to 30 years' jail in May this year, with a non-parole period of 22 years and six months.
Others who have killed their partner have received as little as 13 years non-parole.
Luke Robert Birch beat his partner Carol Penrith to death after accusing her of hiding his key card in a drunken fit of rage in 2014.
Despite the fact Ms Penrith's dead body was found with 10 broken ribs - one of which had pierced her heart - the judge said Birch had not shown "gratuitous cruelty".
Birch was sentenced to 13 years non-parole in 2016 after the judge said he was "full of remorse" and had "sound prospects of rehabilitation".
Unlike NSW, Queensland has a mandatory life sentence for all murders. However, the non-parole period for murder can be as little as 20 years.
Yesterday Commissioner Fuller said police often shared the pain of victims over inadequate sentences.
"Police, like victims, are often frustrated at the sentences because you have a real connection to the victims in these matters. We are really invested in these matters," he said.
Speaking at the Inaugural Australasian Police Domestic Violence Forum, Commissioner Fuller said for police there was still "much more work to be done" in the field of domestic violence and it needed to be criminalised once and for all.
He said police were now targeting domestic violence thugs in a way that hadn't been done 30 years ago, when it was still seen as a "private matter".
"We're following them, we're knocking on their doors, we're treating them like armed robbers," he said.
Minister for Prevention of Domestic Violence Pru Goward also backed potential sentencing reform, saying she "absolutely" supported the steps already taken by the Attorney-General.
"We expect that our courts reflect community standards when imposing sentences on domestic violence offenders. The facts of the case before the Supreme Court last week are shocking and abhorrent," Ms Goward said.
Shadow Attorney-General Paul Lynch said the concerns around lenient sentencing patterns for domestic violence homicides were "quite disturbing".
"The Attorney-General should be getting advice about this as an absolute priority," Mr Lynch said.
Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service 1800 737 732