Tuesday 20 March 2018

Jill Meagher's killer launches early release bid citing Human Rights breach

Adrian Bayley has been convicted of murdering Jill Meagher
Adrian Bayley has been convicted of murdering Jill Meagher

David Kearns

The man who raped and murdered Irish woman Jill Meagher on her way home from a night out in Melbourne has launched an appeal to reduce his sentence.

Convicted murderer Adrian Bayley has begun a court action after Victoria Legal Aid refused to fund an appeal to reduce his 43-year minimum jail term.

Bayley (43) was handed a life sentence for the rape and murder of Ms Meagher as the Louth woman walked home from a night out in Australia in September 2012.

He was found guilty in May of three more violent rapes and was sentenced to 18 years in jail for those crimes.

The 44-year-old is ineligible for release until 2058.

Two of the victims were prostitutes, and were attacked months before he killed Ms Meagher.

Irish woman Jill Meagher Credit: Ciara Wilkinson
Irish woman Jill Meagher Credit: Ciara Wilkinson

The third woman was a Dutch back-packer.

The serial rapist has appealed against two of the rape convictions but Legal Aid has refused to fund them.

A spokesperson for Victoria Legal Aid said its decision was upheld by an independent reviewer.

"The independent reviewer makes decisions about funding separately from Victoria Legal Aid and is a robust check and balance on our decision making," they said in a statement.

"The independent reviewer must take into account factors specified in the Legal Aid Act when deciding whether to grant funding in a case.

"In this matter the independent reviewer upheld VLA's decision not to grant funding."

Jill and Tom Meagher on wedding day
Jill and Tom Meagher on wedding day

Bayley has now challenged that decision in the Victorian Supreme Court.

In papers lodged to the court, he argues the refusal of aid was unreasonable as it was likely the Court of Appeal would allow him to challenge the ruling.

His legal team is also arguing that the decision breached his human rights.

Lawyers claim the ruling is contrary to the Charter of Human Rights because it denied “the right of any person convicted of an offence to have the conviction and any sentence imposed reviewed by a higher court”.

The premier of the Australian state of Victoria Daniel Andrews has been vocal in his support of the decision to refuse Bayley legal aid.

“I think Legal Aid has made exactly the right call, exactly the right call,” told ABC News.

“I support them in defending the judgement that they’ve made to deny Adrian Bayley any public resources at all.”

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