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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (27 November) . . Page.. 4916 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

International Law Congress in Sydney. He had begun by reading from the main text of my letter ...

And she was very happy with the way Justice Miles handled the case.

She then went on to talk about Arrowsmith's appeal. He appealed against the conviction, asserting that Justice Miles had wrongfully prevented the jury from considering a verdict of manslaughter. The Court of Appeal, whilst dismissing the appeal, reduced Arrowsmith's sentence to 61/2 years, saying that Justice Miles had failed to give sufficient weight to his exemplary character, his extreme remorse and a number of other factors.

The mother stated:

The reasons for the success of the appeal were completely unacceptable to us. We all knew that he had never shown any sign of remorse, but the appeal judges had to rely on the transcript of the trial, and they decided that he had "expressed his remorse in the most devastating way ..."

She stated that she wrote to the three appeal judges, and to many people. She was ill with her anger. She asked: why was the legal system so biased towards the offender? Why was so much concern shown for a murderer? She did speak to an appeal judge and she said he was sympathetic. But she said:

He explained that the law already allowed judges to give harsher sentences, that the problem was that judges needed re-educating. I let him know about the concerns in the community, about the message to the community- that it's okay to kill a woman, only six-and-a-half years in jail will be the result.

I hope to see changes in the sentencing laws in the ACT. The system should be fair to both victim and accused. Perhaps then, the victims would have some confidence in the justice system. I don't believe any victim feels that way today.

Yesterday, Rae Harvey wrote a letter to the editor of the Canberra Times. She wrote:

About 125 Australian women are murdered each year in Australia ... It seems ironic that, in the ACT Assembly yesterday, the Minister for Women, Katy Gallagher, pinned a white ribbon on Jon Stanhope and called on the community to help end violence against women. Today, the same members in the Assembly decided not to support the call for tougher sentences for violent crime in the ACT.

Ms Gallagher urged us not to be silent about violence towards women. Nor should we be silent about the need for reform of the justice system, so that these women receive justice in our courts.

Does Mr Stanhope expect to get most of his votes from the criminal element in our society?

Yours faithfully

Rae Harvey

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