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Judgment handed down in Ryan, Lindholm and Trabert v The Queen

20 October 2016

The Court of Appeal [Justice Weinberg, Justice Whelan and Justice Priest] today refused three applications for leave to appeal and dismissed two appeals against sentence imposed for the offence of murder.

The applicants were co-offenders in a murder that the Crown contended was analogous to a contract killing. John Ryan and Torsten Trabert abducted and killed Wayne Amey at Robyn Lindholm’s instigation. Amey was killed the night before he was due in court in relation to a property dispute between Lindholm and himself.

Lindholm pleaded guilty to murder at the conclusion of pre-trial argument. Trabert and Ryan pleaded not guilty, each maintaining the other was responsible for killing Amey. The jury found each of them guilty of murder. Lindholm was sentenced to
25 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 21 years. Trabert was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 23 years. Ryan was sentenced to 31 years imprisonment with a non-parole period of 26 years.

Each of the offenders sought leave to appeal their respective sentences on the ground of manifest excess. The Court refused leave. Amongst other things, the Court said:

This was a truly terrible crime. Lindholm sought to bring about Amey’s murder for two years. She tried to persuade others to kill him for her, and eventually she persuaded Trabert to do it. She did so in response to a property dispute, and because Amey took legal proceedings to resolve it. Trabert and Ryan callously, ruthlessly and violently carried out her wishes.

Trabert and Ryan also sought leave to appeal on the ground that their respective sentences failed to give effect to the principles of parity, having regard to the lower sentence imposed on Lindholm. The Court granted Trabert and Ryan leave to appeal on the basis that these proposed grounds were arguable but dismissed their appeals because it was open to the sentencing judge to differentiate in the way in which he did given the fact that Lindholm had pleaded guilty and because any disparity between sentences was insufficiently marked or manifest to warrant appellant intervention.

Read the full judgment on Austlii(External link)

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