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Keli Lane's murder conviction upheld

RAW VISION: Keli Lane's solicitor speaks outside court after her conviction for the murder of two-day-old daughter Tegan was upheld by the Court of Criminal Appeal.

PT2M0S 620 349

Tegan Lane is dead and she died at the hands of her mother, Keli Lane.

So says the state's most senior judge, Tom Bathurst, and two other judges who heard Lane's appeal against her conviction for the 1996 murder of two-day-old Tegan.

Three years to the day since a jury found Lane guilty of murdering the newborn, the Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed all eight grounds of appeal, including her contention that the jurors should have been able to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Keli Lane outside at the Supreme Court during her trial in 2010.

Keli Lane outside at the Supreme Court during her trial in 2010. Photo: Peter Rae

"We are satisfied that the evidence established beyond reasonable doubt that it was an act of the appellant that caused Tegan's death," Chief Justice Bathurst, Justice Carolyn Simpson and Justice Christine Adamson said on Friday, three years to the day since a jury found her guilty by a majority verdict.

Lane was sitting alone in a room in Silverwater Women's Correctional Centre when the decision was announced. Neither Lane's parents, retired NSW police inspector, Robert Lane, and his wife, Sandra, or Lane's partner, Patrick Cogan, were in court. It was left to her lawyer, Ben Archbold, to deliver the news by phone.

"She's distraught," Mr Archbold said outside court.

"She had trouble actually breathing, she was hyperventilating.

"She continues to maintain that there's a miscarriage of justice and she didn't kill Tegan."

Lane will continue to serve her minimum 13½-year jail sentence but Mr Archbold said the case – one of the most bizarre and puzzling cases in NSW criminal history – might not be finished yet.

"We'll see what avenues she has left. There's an avenue of appeal to the High Court, it's on a matter of law," he said.

During a four-month trial that began in August 2010, the Crown argued the then 21-year-old intentionally killed the baby some time between leaving hospital and arriving at her parents' home on September 14, 1996. She had kept the pregnancy and birth a secret from her family, boyfriend and friends.

The three-judge appeal panel said as Tegan's body has never been found, no cause of death could be established. While her string of lies about what happened to Tegan don't establish murder, together they are "one powerful item of evidence in a circumstantial case".

At trial, Lane maintained she had given the baby to her natural father, an Andrew Morris or Norris. But in a 100-page judgment, the judges said the evidence derived from an extensive police investigation convincingly excluded this possibility.

"Only one inference remains reasonably open. That is that Tegan is dead."