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Baden-Clay verdict downgraded to manslaughter

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Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for the death of his wife Allison has been downgraded to manslaughter in a shock appeal decision.

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Queensland’s Court of Appeal found there was a “reasonable possibility” the 45-year-old could have unintentionally killed his wife during a violent confrontation.

The former real estate agent is expected to be re-sentenced next year.

Allison Baden-Clay’s family and supporters were silent as they filed out of the Brisbane courtroom after Tuesday decision.

“The family of Allison are disappointed by today’s Court of Appeal decision, and remain supportive of the original findings of the court,” a statement on their behalf said.

“They await the legal process to play out in the hope that justice for Allison will be served.”

Baden-Clay was not in court.

He has been serving a life sentence since he was convicted last year of murdering his 43-year-old wife at their Brisbane home in April 2012.

Allison, a mother of three, was found on a creek bank 10 days after she vanished.

Key evidence at Baden-Clay’s trial included apparent fingernail scratches on his face, and details of his multiple affairs and the couple’s financial difficulties.

In an August appeal Baden-Clay’s lawyers argued Allison could have hit her head in a fall during a violent argument with her husband.

He then could have covered up her death in a panic and to avoid the repercussions.

Court of Appeal Justice Catherine Holmes, Robert Gotterson and Hugh Fraser agreed that the scenario could have played out.

“There remained in this case a reasonable hypothesis consistent with innocence of murder,” their written judgment said.

“While there was also another reasonable possibility available on the evidence, the jury could not properly have been satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the element of intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm had been proved.”

– AAP

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