Adrian Ernest Bayley, who raped and murdered Jill Meagher in Melbourne in September 2012 while on parole for previous sexual assault offences, has won an appeal to reduce his overall minimal jail term.
On July 13, the Victorian court of appeal judges Marilyn Warren, Mark Weinberg and Phillip Priest acquitted him of a rape conviction for the assault of an 18-year-old sex-worker in 2000 and reduced his sentence.
During the trial last year, his victim from 2000 testified before the court. “You never forget someone who does that to you,’’ she said. "If someone is about to kill you and you have so much fear in you, you never forget the guy.’’
However, today the court ruled that this identification evidence should have been excluded from Bayley’s trial because it had “virtually no probative value,” and “without the identification evidence, there was no evidence upon which a jury could find Bayley guilty,” the judges said.
The acquittal of this one sentence reduces his overall non-parole period by three years, meaning he will be eligible for parole in 2055 at the age of 83.
Bayley pleaded guilty to Meagher's rape and murder in April 2013. For that crime he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a 35-year non-parole period.
The court dismissed a second appeal against another attack in 2012, which saw a Dutch backpacker brutally raped just two months before ABC staffer Meagher’s death.
The judge for Bailey's trial, Justice Geoffrey Nettle, said the murder of Jill Meagher—who was grabbed off a suburban street by Bayley after a night out with friends— was among the worst committed in Victoria.
"The nature and gravity of your offending and your antecedents are such that nothing short of life imprisonment will suffice," he said.