Killer Crump loses High Court challenge
Parole bid ... Kevin Crump.
Convicted killer Kevin Crump has lost a High Court challenge to laws that will prevent him from being released from prison until he is physically incapacitated or close to death.
Crump was sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1973 murder of Ian Lamb and for planning the murder of Virginia Morse.
The sentencing judge described Crump and his co-accused, Allan Baker, as "obscene animals" and said they should spend the rest of their lives in jail.
Killed ... Virginia Morse.
In 1990, the law was changed to allow prisoners under life sentence to apply to the NSW Supreme Court for the determination of a minimum term, after which they could be released on parole.
In 1997, Supreme Court judge Peter McInerney sentenced Crump to 30 years' jail, making him eligible to apply for parole in 2003. But a further change in 2001 meant a prisoner under a recommendation never to be released could be granted parole only if they were so physically weak, or in imminent danger of dying, that they posed no risk to the community.
Crump argued that the 2001 change constituted a "legislative revision" of Justice McInerney's ruling, in a manner inconsistent with the constitution.
Prison for life ... Kevin Crump.
The setting aside or varying of rulings of supreme courts was a function reserved exclusively for the High Court, Crump's counsel argued in court.
But the High Court unanimously rejected Crump's arguments, finding that sentencing judges faced the practical reality of legislative and administrative change in parole systems from time to time. Justice McInerney's 1997 ruling had not created any right or entitlement for Crump to be released on parole, the judges found.