The man found guilty of murdering British backpacker, Grace Millane, is appealing his conviction and sentence.
Source: 1 NEWS
Ms Millane was strangled to death in the man’s Auckland apartment in December 2018 after a Tinder date.
The 28-year-old man was sentenced to life in prison, with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years.
This morning he appeared by audio visual link in the Court of Appeal in Auckland.
His name remains suppressed.
Part of his lawyer, Rachel Reed’s argument was that the jury wasn’t given sufficient insight into the man’s state of mind at the time Ms Millane fell into unconsciousness.
She argues there were two factual errors at sentencing. Firstly, the finding that Ms Millane was likely restrained and secondly, the significance of bruising on her body. Ms Reed says the lack of bruising shows Grace Millane did not put up a struggle and the type of bruising on her arms and neck were consistent with consensual or rough sex.
Ms Reed argued the man still had honest belief the act was consensual and did not have time to form reckless intent between the time she lost consciousness and time of death.
She went on to say the issue of consciousness was not directly addressed by the expert witnesses in the trial.
Ms Reed also told the Court of Appeal that the trial jury was told that accidental death by strangulation during rough sex was “extremely rare”.
While Ms Reed acknowledged it is indeed rare, she argued the trial judge, in his summing up to the jury, ought to have reiterated that accidental death can’t be ruled out.
Ms Reed said the jury was not adequately informed how best to use probability evidence around this matter.
However, she added the appeal in no way seeks to condone the actions of the convicted killer after Ms Millane’s death. She says those actions were inexcusable.
During the November trial last year the man was captured on CCTV, after her death, buying a suitcase and a shovel, hiring a car and disposing of Ms Millane’s possessions.
His phone records also showed how he took sexually explicit photos of Ms Millane’s body.
Ms Reed told the Court of Appeal that there is no evidence to suggest the sexually explicit photos the Crown says were taken of Ms Millane after her death, were taken earlier while she was alive. She calls these photos excusable and abhorrent.
The Crown will make its submissions later today.