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SENTENCE REDUCED

SEVEN YEARS' GAOL

KILLING OF MRS. AYES

Colin Robert Hercock, aged 21, who was charged with the murder of Mrs. Isabel Annie Ayes, at Napier, and 'sentenced by the Chief Justice (Sir Michael Myers) to twelve years' hard labour on the verdict of manslaughter returned by the jury, had his sentence reduced to seven years' hard labour by the Court of Appeal yesterday afternoon. The appeal was heard on Wednesday. Mr. C. H. Weston, K.C., with him Mr. C. G. E. Harker (Waipawa), appeared for the prisoner, and Mr. C. H. Taylor for the Crown. The Court consisted of Mr. Justice Ostler, Mr. Justice Smith, and Mr. Justice Fair. "The main point made by counsel for the prisoner is that the verdict of manslaughter necessarily negatives any intention to kill or even to wound," said the judgment, "and that it means that the jury must have accepted the statement of the prisoner that he in-, tended only to frighten the woman; | consequently the verdict must be accepted as involving nothing more serious than criminal negligence. "In our opinion that argument is not sound. We think it is true that the verdict carries the necessary implication that there was no intention to kill the woman, or even to injure her to such an extent that the injury would be likely to cause death, for in such a case he would have been guilty of murder. But the verdict is nevertheless consistent with an intention towound in such a way as not to be likely to cause death. "The sacredness of human life, even the life of criminals or persons engaged in criminal acts, is so essential a principle of our law that it is the duty of the Court to uphold that principle by meting out adequate punishment to every person convicted of such a crime as this. "The Court, in considering the sentence, must keep in mind its deterrent effect, and therefore such a crime must be-punished by a substantial term of imprisonment. It would be a dangerous innovation to treat such a crime as ithis lightly merely because the person killed was a criminal or a person of bad character. "UNNECESSARILY SEyERE." "But with this consideration in mind, I seeing that the jury's verdict must necessarily have negatived an intention to kill or to wound in such a way as Ito be likely to cause death, and taking into consideration the youth of the prisoner, his previous good character, and the state of his mind when he committed the crime, we have come to the conclusion that the sentence imposed (was unnecessarily severe, and that the interests of justice will be served and the deterrent effect be sufficient if the sentence is reduced from twelve years !to seven years with hard labour.".

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19390428.2.150

Bibliographic details

SENTENCE REDUCED, Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 98, 28 April 1939

Word Count
465

SENTENCE REDUCED Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 98, 28 April 1939

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