ACT News


No extra jail time for murder plot trio

Canberra prosecutors have lost a bid to increase the jail sentences of three young men who plotted to kill a Canberra teenager.

The ACT Court of Appeal on Friday dismissed the attempt, saying the Crown had not proven the trial judge had erred in sentencing.

And, even if there had been an error, the judges said they would still have thrown out the matter anyway.

An ACT Supreme Court jury found Alexander Raymond Iacuone, 23, Alexander Duffy, 24, and another man, who cannot be named as he was under 18 at the time, guilty of conspiracy to murder in 2013.

In 2008, the trio conspired to use a baseball bat to murder the victim.

They lured the 17-year-old victim from his Tuggeranong home, chased him into bushland, before choking and beating him with a baseball bat.


But the teen managed to escape and raise the alarm.

Iacuone and the juvenile were arrested in a car near the victim's home.

Duffy had previously tried to help the victim and then left the area.

Iacuone was sentenced to five years' jail, to be served in full-time custody for 18 months, followed by 12 months' weekend detention, and then suspended for the remaining two years and six months upon entering a three-and-a-half-year good behaviour order.

The juvenile, who is now in his 20's, was sentenced to four years' jail, with one year in full time custody, nine months in periodic detention, and the rest suspended on condition of a three-year good behaviour order.

Duffy was sentenced to two years and nine months' jail, to be served by way of 18 months periodic detention, with the rest of the sentence to be suspended.

At an appeal hearing in August, Director of Public Prosecutions Jon White, SC, argued that the sentence length did not reflect the seriousness of the crime.

But lawyers for the trio argued the punishment had been within range.

The three appeal judges - Chief Justice Helen Murrell, Justice Richard Refshauge, and Justice Iain Ross – reserved their decision and handed it down on Friday.

"The Crown has advanced nothing that would compel the conclusion that the sentencing judge erred in principle in the exercise of his sentencing discretion," the judgment said.

"Had an error been disclosed, we would have exercised our residual discretion and declined to intervene on the basis that this matter is not a suitable vehicle to further the primary purpose of a Crown appeal, being to lay down principles for the governance and guidance of sentencing courts."

The judges said the five year delay between arrest and trial and the subsequent delay caused by the appeal would have warranted the exercise of the court's residual discretion.

"During that period, the offenders have demonstrated rehabilitation.

"Second, [the juvenile] has now served his period of full-time detention.

"Any decision to intervene in relation to only one or two of the sentences would have disturbed the parity between the sentences."