The Court of Criminal Appeal on Monday rejected Peter Rex Dansie’s argument that the original verdict, delivered by a judge alone, could not be supported on the evidence at his trial.
In a majority decision, Justices Mark Livesey and Greg Parker both dismissed Dansie’s appeal, ruling it was open to the trial judge to find the murder charge proved beyond reasonable doubt.
However, in a dissenting view, Justice Kevin Nicholson would have quashed Dansie’s conviction on the basis that it “would be dangerous in all the circumstances to allow the verdict of guilty of murder to stand”.
Dansie was jailed earlier this year for murdering his 67-year-old wife Helen who drowned after her wheelchair fell into a pond in the Adelaide parklands on Easter Sunday, 2017.
In arguing the appeal, defence lawyer Greg Mead said the trial judge did not give adequate reasons to show his client’s guilt had been proven beyond reasonable doubt and had not properly considered the prospect that it might have been an accident.
However, the prosecution argued that the trial judge had used a range of elements to reach his verdict including circumstantial evidence and the alleged motives of the accused.
Dansie was jailed for life, with Justice David Lovell imposing a 25-year non-parole period.
In his sentencing remarks, Justice Lovell said the 71-year-old was driven by selfish motives.
“Yours was an evil and despicable act,” the judge said.
“Helen, your loving and devoted wife for over 40 years, had simply become a burden to you.
“This was a chilling, planned murder of a person whose mistake was to trust you.”
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